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UK economy shrinks record 9.9% in 2020 on virus ‘shock’

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London, Feb 12 (AFP/APP): Britain’s economy shrank by a record 9.9 percent last year on the fallout from the coronavirus, official data showed Friday, but a rapid vaccines rollout has boosted the outlook.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said the economy had suffered a “serious shock” from the Covid-19 global health crisis, despite the data showing second-half growth. Activity was also hampered by Brexit turmoil ahead of Britain’s final exit from the European Union at the end of last year.

“Over the year 2020 as a whole, GDP contracted by 9.9 percent, marking the largest annual fall in UK GDP on record,” the Office for National Statistics said in a statement. Gross domestic product grew 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter or three months to December, after an upwardly-revised third-quarter expansion of 16.1 percent.

The economy plunged into a historic recession in the first half and shrank a record 19 percent in the second quarter as the pandemic erupted.

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