UK economy grew by just 0.1% in July as Delta spread

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LONDON -Britain's economy barely grew in July, rising by just 0.1% from June, the weakest expansion since January when the country went back into strict COVID-19 lockdown rules, official data showed on Friday.

Economists polled by had mostly expected month-on-month growth of 0.6% in gross domestic product.

Britain saw a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in July as the Delta variant of the coronavirus took hold, leading to hundreds of thousands of workers being ordered to stay at home under self-isolation rules which have been relaxed.

The Office for National Statistics said some businesses had complained of staff being unable to come to work because they were required to self-isolate and a fall in construction output was linked to post-lockdown problems in global supply chains.

Britain's dominant services sector was flat in July from June with output in consumer-facing services fell for the first time since January, driven mostly by a drop in the retail sector.

Industrial output grew by 1.2% boosted by the return to production of an oil field but manufacturing was flat.

Construction output fell by a monthly 1.6%.

Previously released data had suggested the post-lockdown rebound in the economy lost momentum in July with retail sales and consumer borrowing both falling and businesses reporting a slowdown in growth, according to surveys of purchasing managers.

(Reporting by William Schomberg and Andy Bruce; Editing by Paul Sandle)

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