Recession fears recede as GDP figures expected to show growth

Official data due today on the UK’s economic growth is expected to show the country avoided a double-dip recession.

The first estimate of first-quarter growth for 2010 is tipped to measure 0.4%, matching the last quarter at the end of 2009, according to the Guardian.

A Reuters poll shows predictions range from 0.2% to 0.5% growth.

But Colin Ellis, economist at Daiwa Capital Markets Europe, said the recovery was still fragile. “Including petrol, retail sales actually fell 1.7% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter, suggesting that consumption could actually drag growth down in the first quarter. Monthly trade data are also consistent with little, if any, support from net exports,” he said.

Earlier this year, a rise in the number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) heightened fears of a double-dip recession – or even a ‘triple tumble’.

On Wednesday, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed unemployment had hit a 16-year high in the UK, reaching the 2.5 million mark. The number of people claiming JSA in March was 1.54 million, down 0.1% on the previous month.

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