London (AFP) – The British economy appears to be on the verge of sliding back into recession, according to official figures released on Friday, which showed a 2.6% contraction in November compared to the previous month, when most of the country was in its second coronavirus quarantine.
The Office for National Statistics said that as a result of the decline, the economy has contracted by 8.5% from its pre-pandemic peak. A fresh contraction is expected in the fourth quarter.
Tougher quarantine was put in place in most parts of the United Kingdom at the start of 2021 due to a sharp rise in new cases attributed to a new strain of the virus in London and the southeast of England. Therefore, a new contraction in the first quarter appears inevitable. That means two consecutive quarters of contraction, which is the technical definition of a recession.
“It is clear that things will get more difficult before they get better,” said Treasury Chief Rishi Sunak. “Today’s figures highlight the scale of the challenges we face.”
The fall in November was not as serious as some economists had expected, indicating that companies had found a way to sell their products through online services despite their closed doors.
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