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Loan claim: GPD drops 0.5 per cent

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that GDP contracted by 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Following this announcement, Sterling slumped against a host of currencies and the revelation has been branded "a real disaster".

The ONS also reported that the economy only grew by 1.7 per cent year-on-year, which is much lower than the 2.6 per cent that was forecasted.

Mark Bolsom, head of the UK Trading Desk at Travelex Global Business Payments, said: "It's a real disaster, given that January's VAT hike will drain even more money out of the system.

"Economic contraction is a really bad way to go into a period of heavy fiscal tightening and is not what the government would have wanted at all."

He added that an interest rate hike will now "surely" be off the agenda and that chancellor George Osborne will have to defend his economic plans over the coming days.

John Fieldman

Having worked in the city for 19 years, John's main focus is interest rates and corporate finance.

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