Embattled economy comes into focus

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This week's GDP figures are unlikely to relieve pressure on George Osborne to ease his austerity measures // This week's GDP figures are unlikely to relieve pressure on George Osborne to ease his austerity measures
This week's GDP figures are unlikely to relieve pressure on George Osborne to ease his austerity measures
Britain's embattled economy will be in sharp focus next week with the latest estimate of second quarter output and official borrowing figures due out.
The double-dip recession may not be as deep as originally feared, as analysts have forecast an upward revision to gross domestic product (GDP) figures on Friday.
The second estimate of GDP - a broad measure for the total economy - is expected to show a 0.5% decline between April and June, against the first estimate of a 0.7% drop.
The slight improvement is set to be driven by better-than-estimated performances from the construction and industrial production sector, while a lift to services output may also be on the cards.
However, City experts warned the underlying picture of a struggling economy, mired in the longest double-dip recession since the 1950s, will remain.
As a result, any such improvement is unlikely to relieve pressure on Chancellor George Osborne to ease his strict austerity measures, which some have said are choking off the recovery.
Victoria Clarke, economist at Investec, said: "Such an outturn would make for less scary headlines, whilst still indicative of a UK economy stuck in the mud."
The 0.7% decline in the first quarter was driven by a 5.2% drop in construction output, a 1.3% quarterly fall in industrial output and a 0.1% drop in service sector output. But recent sector data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed a smaller decline of 3.9% over the quarter for construction and a smaller 0.9% for industrial production.
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