LONDON: British economic output inched higher as expected in April, driven by the retail sector and the filming industry, while manufacturing and construction contracted, official data showed on Wednesday.

Britain’s economy grew by 0.2% month-on-month in April, the Office for National Statistics said, matching the consensus in a Reuters poll of economists.

Financial markets showed little immediate reaction to the figures - in contrast to recent labour market and inflation data which boosted expectations for higher interest rates from the Bank of England.

“High growth needs low inflation, so we must stick relentlessly to our plan to halve the rate this year to protect family budgets,” finance minister Jeremy Hunt said in response to Wednesday’s figures.

The ONS said the economy in April stood 0.3% above its pre-pandemic level of February 2020.

UK annual inflation slides to 13-month low

Services output rose 0.3% on the month, with growth driven by the retail, information and communications, and the filming industry.

But manufacturing output dropped 0.3% and the construction sector contracted unexpectedly by 0.6, the figures showed.

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