17:52 GMT21 June 2021
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    LONDON (Sputnik) – The UK's gross domestic product slumped by 1.5 percent from January to March 2021, a quarter when most of the country was under its third COVID-19 lockdown, the Office for National Statistics reported on Wednesday.

    According to ONS, despite an increase in government consumption and improvement in the trade balance observed during that period, the reintroduction of coronavirus restrictions led to a decline in final household expenditures and business investment.

    The UK entered its third lockdown in January after a spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths threatened to overwhelmed the public health system, but lockdown measures began to be lifted on 8 March, as part of the government's roadmap to normality.

    "The strong recovery seen in March, led by retail and the return of schools, was not enough to prevent the UK economy contracting over the first quarter as a whole, with the lockdown affecting much of the services sector", ONS Director of Economic Statistics Darren Morgan said.

    The expert noted, however, that the construction sector had grown strongly over the quarter and was now above its pre-pandemic levels.

    The ONS report also showed that imports from Europe remained "sluggish" and have been outstripped by non-EU imports for the first time on record as a result of the UK leaving the European Union for good at the end of December.

    Tags:
    pandemic, imports, Trade, consumption, Economy, lockdown, COVID-19, UK
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