The UK's economic output fell by 0.5% during the third quarter of 2008 in the first quarter of negative growth since 1992.
The figure was worse than analysts’ early predictions of a 0.2% fall in GDP and London shares spiralled further on the news, with the FTSE100 down over 6% shortly after the announcement by the Office of National Statistics.
The figure represents the worst quarterly economic results since 1990 and indicates the severity of the recession Britain is now facing.
Manufacturing was the biggest contributor to the slowdown, with output falling by 1% in the third quarter, while business and financial services proved more robust than the general economy, with productivity down 0.4%.
Government increased its output by 0.4% during the quarter, up from 0.2% in the three months to June.
Over the past year, the economy has grown by just 0.3%, and similar losses in the final months of 2008 could push yearly growth into negative territory.
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