UK Was in Recession at End of 2023, ONS Confirms

New figures confirm long-held fears that the UK was in fact in recession at the end of last year, ahead of an election later in 2024

Alliance News 28 March, 2024 | 9:26AM
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UK Economy Generic Main

The UK slipped into a technical recession in the fourth quarter of 2023, numbers from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed this morning.

UK gross domestic product slumped 0.3% in the three months to December from a quarter earlier, unchanged from initial ONS numbers provided in February.

The UK economy had declined 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the third-quarter of 2023. It means the UK did enter a technical recession at the end of last year, which is generally defined as two successive quarterly falls in gross domestic product.

In output terms for the fourth quarter, the ONS said there were falls in all three main sectors: services was down 0.1%, production was down 1.1%, and construction output was down 0.9%.

In expenditure terms, meanwhile, the volume of net trade fell alongside household consumption and gross capital formation, according to the ONS. That was, however, partially offset by an increase in government consumption.

On an annual basis, GDP fell 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2023, driven by a fall in gross operating surplus for corporations, the statistics body said. This compares to an annual rise of 4.9% in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Across 2023, GDP is estimated to have risen by an unrevised 0.1%, compared to growth of 4.3% in 2022.

"Excluding the year 2020, which was affected by the coronavirus pandemic, this is the weakest annual change in real GDP since the financial crisis in 2009," the ONS said.

By Greg Rosenvinge, Alliance News senior reporter

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