London, United Kingdom
For the second straight quarter this year, the UK economy declined, according to official data released. This raised questions on the government's austerity policies to lift the economy out of recession.
The country's gross domestic product (GDP) reportedly contracted 0.7 per cent in the second quarter after recording a 0.3 per cent drop in the first quarter, in a statement by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in London. Economists anticipated a 0.2 per cent decline.
The ONS said that the record rainfall contributed to the disappointing second-quarter data. The work lost due to the extra holiday during the Queen's Jubilee celebrations in June was also cited as a major drag to growth during the quarter.
Prior to the second quarter, the GDP also fell by 0.3 percent in the first three months of 2012 and dropped 0.4 per cent during the last three months of 2011. Overall, the UK economy has been on contraction for nine straight months.
The ONS report also shows that the construction sector -- the single biggest contributor to national output -- suffered a decline of 5.2 per cent. The economy also took a blow from weakness in production and service sectors.
The UK is the first of the economies belonging to the G-7 to announce its GDP figures for the period covering April to June. Meanwhile, economists predict that the U.S. will achieve a 1.4 per cent annual rate growth for the same period, which is down from 1.9 per cent in the first quarter. The U.S. Department of Commerce will release the GDP numbers on July 27.
This month, the International Monetary Fund has urged the British government to push for further monetary stimulus and suggested that they ease on fiscal tightening measures if there is still no economic growth achieved by early 2013.
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