The UK economy contracted by 0.2% in the first quarter of the year, meaning it has slipped back into technical recession, preliminary estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
Any figure below 0% would have put the UK firmly in double-dip territory following growth of -0.3% in the final quarter of 2011.
Consecutive quarters of negative GDP is commonly taken to mean an official recession.
The last time the UK entered recession was in Q2 2008, and did not return to positive growth until over a year later (Q3 2009).
Today's figure constitutes only the first estimate by the ONS, and is based on about 40% of the information it will eventually use to reflect real Q1 activity.
Despite the disappointing numbers, David Miles, from the Bank of England's interest rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee, said in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday that underlying growth may be stronger than reported.
"It's perfectly possible to think that the underlying growth position of the economy is stronger than the headline GDP numbers. In fact, I think that's probably true," he said.
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