LONDON Britain's economy shrank 0.3 percent in the final quarter of 2012, signalling output was stagnant over the whole of last year, a forecast from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said on Friday.
After another batch of poor industrial output and construction numbers on Friday, analysts have again been debating the prospect that the UK economy retreated in the fourth quarter, although most expect a modest recovery early this year.
The institute said that after removing distortions due to the Olympic Games and other factors in the third quarter, the economy's performance could best be described as flat.
The agency said its previous forecasts have been accurate to within 0.1-0.2 percentage points in comparison with the official data. Preliminary UK gross domestic product numbers are due out on January 25.
(Reporting by Patrick Graham; editing by Olesya Dmitracova)