LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s coronavirus-hammered economy grew more quickly than previously thought in the final three months of 2020, official data showed on Wednesday.
Gross domestic product increased by 1.3% between October and December last year from the previous three-month period, compared with an earlier estimate of 1.0% growth, the Office for National Statistics said.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected the growth rate to remain at 1.0%.
In 2020 as a whole, gross domestic product fell by 9.8%, slightly less sharp than an initial estimate of a 9.9% slump which was the biggest collapse in more than three centuries.
Britain’s economy suffered the biggest drop of all countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development except for Argentina and Spain last year, OECD data has shown.
The ONS also said Britain’s current account deficit widened to 26.3 billion pounds in the fourth quarter, almost double the shortfall in the third quarter, as firms rushed to import goods before the Jan. 1 start to the country’s less open trade relationship with the European Union.
But the deficit – a long-standing concern for investors because it leaves Britain reliant on foreign inflows of cash – came in below forecasts of 33 billion pounds in the Reuters poll.
(Reporting by William Schomberg and Andy Bruce)