The U.K. economy grew 2.1% in August month on month as the country’s gradual recovery from the coronavirus crisis continued. The growth in August was slower than the 8.7% expansion seen in June and the 6.6% rise in July.
The GDP (gross domestic product) growth in August is lower than expected. The economists polled by Reuters expected a monthly expansion of 4.6%. However, it marked the fourth consecutive month of expansion, following the record plunge of 19.5% in April induced by the coronavirus lockdown.
Despite the growth in August, the U.K economy is still 9.2% smaller than it was in February before the full impact of the pandemic.
Friday’s data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a decline of 9.3% compared to the same period last year, above expectations of a 7.5% contraction.
The country’s emergence from lockdown measures in recent months has paved the way for a recovery in many sectors of the economy, but cases of Covid-19 have been growing exponentially in recent weeks as a second wave appears to be underway.
Analysts said that in the coming months we’re likely to see growth slackening further amid new COVID restrictions and the concern over a no-deal Brexit.
The British government has imposed a 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants across the U.K., with further restrictions expected in the coming weeks.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said important sectors of the economy, such as services and construction, were still considerably smaller than in February.
“The economy continued to recover in August but by less than in recent months,” said Jonathan Athow, the ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics.
“There was strong growth in restaurants and accommodation due to the easing of lockdown rules, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, and people choosing summer ‘staycations’.
However, many other parts of the service sector recorded muted growth.
“Construction also continued its recovery, with a significant boost from housebuilding. There was limited growth in manufacturing, which remains down on its pre-pandemic level, with car and aircraft production still much lower than the start of the year.”
The U.K. has confirmed 564,502 cases of Covid-19 and 42,682 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus resource center.
By; Ifunanya Ikueze