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UK economy posts sharpest monthly decline on record as coronavirus lockdowns begin to take toll

U.K. GDP (gross domestic product) contracted by 5.8% month-on-month in March, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday, as lockdown measures began to hammer economic activity in the country.

It represents the biggest monthly fall since the series began in 1997, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, the March reading was still above analyst expectations of a 7.2% decline.

It tipped U.K. GDP into a contraction of 2% for the first three months of the year, quarter-on-quarter, according to the ONS figures, although this was better than the 2.5% expected by analysts.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced nationwide lockdown measures from March 23 in a bid to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 227,000 people in the country. Johnson this week unveiled a plan for the phased easing of measures over the coming months.

The Bank of England (BOE) last week said it expects GDP to fall by 14% over 2020 as a whole, driven by a 25% decline in the second quarter.

UK economy posts sharpest monthly decline on record as coronavirus lockdowns begin to take toll, CNBC, May 13

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