UK economy shrank in three months to February - NIESR

LONDON Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:53pm GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - British economic output contracted between December and February, a leading thinktank said on Tuesday, adding weight to the view that the economy is on the verge of recession.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research said output declined by 0.1 percent in the three months to February after a revised fall of 0.2 percent in the three months to January.

NIESR previously estimated that output had been flat in the three months to January.

"The numbers overall have been relatively poor and it is looking an increasingly close-run call as to whether the economy contracts in the first quarter," NIESR economist Simon Kirby told Reuters.

He said the institute had not formally changed forecasts it made last month for growth of 0.7 percent in 2013, but the risks were now to the downside.

"There is a real risk that the economy will continue to flatline throughout 2013," he said.

Fears that Britain has fallen into its third recession since 2008 were fanned by data earlier on Tuesday showing manufacturing and industrial output both fell sharply in January. (Reporting by Christina Fincher; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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