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UK economy grew less than expected in August, as recovery from the coronavirus pandemic slows

The U.K. economy grew 2.1% in August on a monthly basis, as the country’s gradual recovery from the coronavirus crisis continued, albeit at a slightly slower pace. August’s estimated growth in GDP (gross domestic product) was lower than expectations, with economists polled by Reuters expecting a monthly expansion of 4.6%. It follows an expansion of 6.4% in July, 9.1% in June and 2.7% in May, following a record 19.5% plunge in April, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Friday’s data from the Office for National Statistics showed that August GDP remained 9.2% lower than in February, before the full impact of the pandemic was felt. GDP grew 8% in the three months to August as lockdown measures began to ease, according to the ONS. The U.K.’s dominant services sector grew by 2.4% in August, following growth of 5.9% in July. It was boosted in large part by almost 70% growth in the food and beverage services industry, which the ONS attributed to easing of restrictions and the government’s “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme.

The country’s emergence from lockdown 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 surge appears to be underway. 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. As of Friday morning, the U.K. has confirmed 564,502 cases and 42,682 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

UK economy grew less than expected in August, as recovery from the coronavirus pandemic slows, CNBC, Oct 9

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