Coronavirus probably caused UK GDP to fall in first quarter – BoE’s Haldane

FILE PHOTO: The Chief Economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, listens from the audience at an event at the Bank of England in the City of London, London, Britain April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – The impact of the coronavirus at the end of March was probably large enough to cause Britain’s economy to shrink in the first quarter of 2020 as a whole, Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane said in a podcast released on Tuesday.

Haldane said he expected a sharp economic contraction in the second quarter and also echoed comments from fellow policymakers Ben Broadbent and Silvana Tenreyro that recovery may prove slow whenever coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

“There will certainly be some recovery, there will certainly be a bounce. Will it bounce back immediately…? That is an open question,” he said in the podcast discussion with the Institute for Government think tank.

“Even after those policies are relaxed, there is certainly a chance that people might be reluctant themselves to want to spend too vigorously, or to go out and socialise too much,” he added.

Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Andy Bruce

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