24 Jul 2009

Record contraction for British economy

9:25 pm on 24 July 2009

Britain's recession-battered economy shrank in the second quarter of 2009 at its fastest yearly pace since records began, official data showed on Friday.

Gross domestic product contracted by 5.6% in the three months to the end of June, compared with the same period of last year, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

The economy also shrank 0.8% during the second quarter, compared with the first three months of the year. That marked the fifth quarterly economic contraction in a row as the recession tightened its grip.

"GDP decreased by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2009, compared with a decrease of 2.4 per cent in the first quarter," the ONS said.

The British economy had already contracted in the second, third and fourth quarters of 2008, as the country sank into a fierce recession as a result of the global financial crisis.