London Olympics Ticket Sales Boost Third-Quarter Economic Growth in U.K.

 

LONDON - The U.K. in the third quarter emerged from a recession as the Summer Olympics in the British capital helped boost quarterly growth in gross domestic product beyond expectations.

British media stocks didn't see a big gain though in early Thursday trading as observers emphasized that underlying economic trends remained weak. As of 10:45am London time, for example, the stock of commercial broadcaster ITV was up 0.4 percent.

The GDP gain of 1 percent reported by the Office for National Statistics beat forecasts of 0.6 percent growth and marked the country's biggest GDP growth in five years.

The growth spurt ended three consecutive quarters of economic declines in the U.K., which constituted the second dip in a double-dip recession. It may help lead Britain's full-year 2012 economic performance to a gain after a 0.4 percent decline in the second quarter. That figure was dragged down by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June, which meant an extra bank holiday.

The Olympics, which had been a boon for TV ratings at the BBC in the U.K. and NBCUniversal in the U.S., boosted third-quarter GDP in Britain via ticket sales, which the statistics office estimated contributed about a fifth of the quarterly increase, or 0.2 percentage points.

Excluding one-time growth drivers, the British economy remained weak and exposed to ongoing problems in the euro zone though, experts appearing on business TV news shows argued.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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