UK Economy Continues Recovery In July

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The UK economy expanded for the third straight month in July as lockdown measures continued to ease though it has still only recovered just over half of the lost output caused by the coronavirus.

Gross domestic product expanded 6.6 percent in July from June, when it gained 8.7 percent, data published by the Office for National Statistics showed Friday. GDP was forecast to climb 6.7 percent.

"While it has continued steadily on the path towards recovery, the UK economy still has to make up nearly half of the GDP lost since the start of the pandemic," ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said.

GDP was 11.7 percent lower than the pre-pandemic levels seen in February 2020.

In three months to July, GDP fell 7.6 percent from the previous three months.

As most sectors in the economy are open again there is little scope for further large rises in monthly GDP, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

On top of that, talk of tax rises at the next Budget, a further deterioration in the Brexit negotiations and a worrying rise in the number of virus cases and tighter social distancing restrictions will all conspire to slow the recovery even further, the economist added.

Data showed that the growth in services output eased to 6.1 percent in July from 7.7 percent in June.

Likewise, industrial output rose 5.2 percent, slower than the 9.3 percent increase seen in the previous month. Manufacturing output advanced 6.3 percent.

At the same time, construction output advanced 17.6 percent, but slower than the 23.6 percent increase in June. Farm output grew only 1.1 percent.

Year-on-year, the decline in industrial production slowed to 7.8 percent in July from 12.5 percent. Manufacturing was down 9.4 percent versus a 14.6 percent drop in June.

Another report from the ONS showed that the visible trade deficit widened in July as exports decreased amid rising imports. The shortfall increased to GBP 8.63 billion in July from GBP 6.55 billion in June.

Exports fell 0.9 percent on month, while imports grew 5.8 percent in July.

The surplus on services decreased to GBP 9.7 billion from GBP 10.45 billion in the previous month. Consequently, the total trade surplus fell to GBP 1.07 billion from GBP 3.9 billion a month ago.

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