Challenges Are Stark for Global Economy; Analysts Warn UK Is Still 'On the Brink'

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Byline: Rob Phillips

THE challenges faced by the global economy were underlined yesterday by mixed growth figures from both sides of the Atlantic.

The UK economy grew at an upwardly revised rate of 0.6% between July and September, but the estimate for gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second quarter was slashed to 0% from 0.1%, the Office for National Statistics reported.

Meanwhile, the US economy grew more slowly in the third quarter than previously estimated but economists said the world's largest economy is set to record a strong finish to the year.

Back in Britain, analysts warned the UK was still teetering on the brink of recession, despite the improved third quarter figures, which were revised up from a previous estimate of 0.5%, as indicators point towards a slowdown as the new year approaches.

The overall picture at home was broadly unchanged by the revised figures as the country still faces considerable headwinds in the new year, notably from the eurozone, the UK's biggest trade partner, which is buckling under the pressure of a crippling debt crisis.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at financial services information company Markit, said: "The underlying trend is very clearly one of an economy that is struggling in the face of what seems to be an ever-growing list of headwinds."

Manufacturing, services and trade surveys have been mixed so far in the final quarter, prompting fears that the UK is heading for a double-dip recession. …