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UK recovery hopes are buoyed by 0.5% increase in GDP

By Clare Weir

The UK's economic recovery hopes have received a boost as official figures revealed that the pace of growth accelerated faster than expected in the third quarter of 2011.

But Northern Ireland experts say that the economy is simply playing catch-up with a "frighteningly bad" second quarter.

GDP increased by 0.5% in the three months to the end of September, representing an improvement on the 0.1% rise in the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics revealed.

Economists had predicted a figure of between 0.3% and 0.4%.

The figures will help ease fears about the strength of the recovery after the economy effectively flatlined over the previous nine months, although the growth is still below its long-term average.

Angela McGowan, chief economist at Northern Bank, said the GDP figures are marginally better than expected but are still on the weak side.

Dr Esmond Birnie chief economist at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Northern Ireland, said the figures are making up for the poor performance in the three months to June. "It's simply the economy playing catch-up after a frighteningly bad second quarter."


From Belfast Telegraph