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LONDON: Britain’s economic recovery is picking up speed in the second quarter as it gradually exits coronavirus lockdowns, bright data showed Friday.

Covid had sparked a major collapse in Britain’s economy last year — the worst in the G7 — but recovery hopes are now rising thanks to mass vaccinations that have enabled a phased reopening.

At the same time, stock markets have wobbled in recent weeks over concerns that the reopening of economies around the world could spark a global inflationary spike.

British retail sales surged by 9.2 percent in April as non-essential stores reopened, official data showed Friday.

Demand for clothing rocketed by almost 70 percent as consumers splashed their cash on new outfits.

Easing travel restrictions prompted a similar spike in demand for motor fuel.

Britain’s private sector activity meanwhile enjoyed record growth in May thanks to strength in manufacturing and services.

IHS Markit’s Britain composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey, a key gauge of business activity, jumped to 62.0.

That marked the highest level since the index began in January 1998.

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