Britain’s economy shrank by a record 20.4 percent between April and June when the coronavirus lockdown was tightest, the largest contraction reported by any major economy so far, with a wave of job losses set to hit later in 2020, Reuters said.
Official figures published on Wednesday also showed the world’s sixth-biggest economy entered a recession as it shrank for a second quarter in a row.
There were signs of a recovery in the month of June when output grew by 8.7 percent from May, the Office for National Statistics said, just above economists’ average expectation in a Reuters poll for an 8 percent rise.
Some analysts, however, said this likely reflected a catch-up in activity suppressed during lockdown.
Britain has suffered Europe’s highest death toll, with more than 50,000 deaths linked to the disease between 1st March – 30th June, according to the ONS.
“The recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has led to the biggest fall in quarterly GDP on record,” Jonathan Athow of the Office for National Statistics said.
“The economy began to bounce back in June… Despite this, GDP in June still remains a sixth below its level in February, before the virus struck.”
Last week the Bank of England forecast it would take until the final quarter of 2021 for the economy to regain its previous size, and warned unemployment was likely to rise sharply.
The second-quarter slump in GDP was almost exactly in line with economists’ average forecast in a Reuters poll, and exceeded the 12.1 percent drop in the euro zone and the 9.5 percent quarter-on-quarter fall in the United States