The UK’s economy has shrunk in the second quarter this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.
Gross domestic product (GDP) unexpectedly fell by 0.2 per cent, following a 0.5 per cent advance in the previous three months.
It’s the first time the British economy has shrank in the second quarter since 2012.
The economy had experienced a ‘pre-Brexit boost’ in early 2019, with many companies stockpiling for the UK to leave the European Union on March 29.
But as the deadline was moved back, firms began to run down their built up inventories and stock levels fell by £4.4 billion, knocking the GDP percentage.
Car and motor factories also brought forward their summer maintenance shutdowns to April in a bid to avoid disruptions around the original Brexit date.
In the next three months, manufacturing shrank by 2.3 per cent – the most it has done since 2009.
ONS statistician Rob Kent Smith said: ‘Manufacturing output fell back after a strong start to the year, with production brought forward ahead of the UK’s original departure date from the EU.’
Business investment contracted 0.5 per cent in the second quarter of the year, when economists’ had expected a fall of a 0.3% fall.
Household spending, which had been doing better than business investment, rose 0.5 per cent on the quarter, compared to 0.6 per cent in the first quarter.
The outlook for 2019 remains uncertain, with new Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed to leaving the EU on October 31, with or without a deal.
Last week, the Bank of England predicted growth for the year as a whole will drop to 1.3 per cent.
Britain’s economy has slowed since June 2016 referendum, with annual growth rates dropping from more than 2 per cent before the vote, to expand by 1.4 per cent last year.