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FTSE LIVE: UK economy collapses with 20.4% GDP slump – ONS says biggest fall ever seen

The FTSE initially lost ground on market open, but quickly see-sawed. It is now down around 0.4 percent.

Germany’s DAX ticked up 0.5 percent. The Europe-wide Stoxx 600 index fell 0.6 percent.

US stock futures struck a more positive note, rebounding from losses yesterday. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq look set to open more than 1 percent higher later on.

7.32am update: Economists react to GDP

Jeremy Thomson Cook, Chief Economist at Equals said: “It’s not a surprise that record declines in economic activity occurred when most UK businesses had people working from home or on furlough. The 20 percent fall is a shocking figure nonetheless, but gives us a good idea of how deep the trough is that the UK economy needs to make its way out of in the coming quarters”

“UK GDP has fallen down the lift shaft and will now have to take the stairs – a much slower and more labour intensive process – back up to recover.”

“With a Brexit showdown in the coming fortnight, we can but hope that today’s numbers focus a few minds in to providing an extension to the current transition period so as to relieve businesses from fighting two of their largest ever battles concurrently.”

Andrea Olivari, Co-Founder at digital lender Selina Finance said: “These figures reflect this week’s stark warning from the OECD about the contraction of the UK economy. However, with the lockdown easing and both the hospitality and retail sectors re-opening and, keeping in mind, of course, all the Government measures to support business and workers, there’s tentative hope we could see a U-shaped recovery.”

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