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UK posts record current account gap, but urges caution on data

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LONDON — Britain’s current account deficit in the first quarter ballooned to 51.7 billion pounds ($62.8 billion) or 8.3% of gross domestic product, the biggest shortfall by that measure in records going back to 1955, official data showed on Thursday.

The Office for National Statistics said the figures were subject to more uncertainty than usual due to the impact of post-Brexit data collection changes on trade in goods imports and foreign direct investment which are being investigated.

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Economists polled by Reuters had expected a deficit of just under 40 billion pounds.

The ONS also said Britain’s economy grew at the same pace as previously thought in the first three months of 2022, when the public had yet to feel the effects of a rise in inflation which now threatens to cause a recession.

Gross domestic product in the world’s fifth-biggest economy increased by 0.8% in the first quarter compared with the final three months of 2021, the Office for National Statistics said.

A previous, preliminary estimate by the ONS had put economic growth in the January-March period at 0.8%. Economists polled by Reuters did not expect this to be revised in Thursday’s release. ($1 = 0.8228 pounds) (Reporting by William Schomberg and David Milliken)



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