Growth revision shows 2009 recession shallower than thought

THE 2009 RECESSION may have been shallower than originally thought, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Revised data due to be published in the national accounts Blue Book 2014 shows average growth between 1998 and 2009 is likely to remain at 2.2%. However, the newly-adopted methodology used in preparing this year’s figures has led to changes in individual year’s GDP.

The largest variation came in 2009’s measurement. Last year’s Blue Book stated a 5.2% contraction for the year, but this has now been amended up by 1.1% to -4.1%. By comparison, 2007’s 3.4% growth will be revised down by 1% to 2.4%.

Data will not be available for the years 2010 onwards until closer to the September publication date, the ONS said. The measurement changes have been driven by the introduction of the European System of Accounts 2010, which includes items previously excluded from GDP.

While the UK’s modest recovery seems to be gaining speed, Bank of England governor Mark Carney has been cautious about raising interest rates from the current historic low of 0.5% and has suggested 2.5% will become the “new normal” base rate. However, outgoing BoE deputy governor Sir Charlie Bean predicted interest rates could climb to 5% within the decade.

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