Britain is on track for a triple dip recession, one of the nation's leading forecasters has signalled, as new figures on the UK's manufacturing industry dealt a blow to recovery hopes and sent sterling crashing to a fresh two-and-a-half year low.
The economy shrank by 0.1% in the three months to February, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) estimated, which followed a 0.3% decline in the final quarter of last year, the Telegraph reports.
If the economy continues to contract for the three months to the end of March, the UK will officially be in its third recession since the financial crisis of 2008.
NIESR's monthly GDP estimate was a slight improvement on the three months to January, which showed the economy declined by 0.2%, but it said the data suggested that "the economy continued to flat-line in the first two months of this year".
The bleak outlook followed official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that activity in the production industries, including manufacturing, shrank far more sharply than expected in January.
Separate ONS numbers showing a slight improvement in the balance of trade for the month provided little solace from the 1.2% decline in industrial production between December and January. It was the weakest reading since September. Economists had expected expansion of 0.1%.
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