Economic recovery faster than forecast

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is today expected to publish economic figures showing GDP up 0.3% in the opening three months of 2010 – better than first forecast.

Hopes are building that the revision of gross domestic product (GDP) will show an upgrade on the initial lacklustre growth estimate of 0.2% for the first quarter.

The Office for National Statistics is to publish its second estimate of GDP growth for the first quarter of the year, and is widely expected to raise its initial assessment.

There was disappointment last month at the first figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which highlighted the fragility of Britain’s recovery.

But recent manufacturing figures have raised expectations for an upward revision after a surprise 2.3% jump in output from the sector during March.

The leap marked the highest monthly growth for nearly eight years and helped overall industrial production rise 1.2% over the first quarter, stronger than the 0.7% gain assumed in initial estimates of GDP growth.

This is all expected to see first quarter GDP revised up to 0.3%. While still down on the 0.4% growth in the final quarter of 2009, it would offer some hope on stuttering economic revival.

The ONS figures will also detail spending in the economy, which is likely to show the impact of a tough first quarter for retail sales.

Freezing weather and the reversal of the temporary VAT reduction in January may have led to a decline in overall consumer spending, according to analysts.

The news will come as a boost to the Treasury, just a day after the Chancellor announced £6bn of public spending cuts – including a freeze on all “non-critical” advertising campaigns.

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