The UK economy contracted less than expected in January, data from the Office of National Statistics showed on Friday.

Gross domestic product declined 2.9 percent on a monthly basis, reversing an expansion of 1.2 percent in December. However, this was slower than the 4.9 percent contraction economists’ had forecast.

January’s GDP was 9.0 percent below the levels seen in February 2020, compared with 4.0 percent below October 2020, data revealed.

The monthly decline was largely driven by falls in consumer-facing services industries and education. Services output was down 3.5 percent in January.

Industrial production fell 1.5 percent as the manufacturing shrank 2.3 percent, which was the first fall since the initial pandemic-driven fall in output in April 2020.

Economists had forecast industrial output to fall 0.6 percent and manufacturing to decline 0.8 percent.

After a 2.9 percent drop in December, the construction sector grew 0.9 percent in January driven by growth in new work.

Another report from the ONS showed that the visible trade gap narrowed to GBP 9.82 billion in January from GBP 14.3 billion in December.

At the same time, the total trade deficit decreased to GBP 1.63 billion from GBP 6.2 billion a month ago.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com

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