The ONS reported the first quarter preliminary GDP reading and confirmed the expansion for now at 0.5% on the quarter and 1.8% on the year, unrevised from the advanced estimate. The first quarter expansion follows the 0.5% contraction in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Private consumption slumped by 0.6% in the quarter following 0.3% drop and was below the expected 0.1% rise. Government spending was much stronger than expected rising 1.0% after 0.4% the previous quarter and above the expected 0.2%.

Exports rallied 3.7% following 1.7% and beat the 2.1% expected, while imports slumped 2.3% following 3.2% rise the previous quarter and was also lower than the expected drop of 0.7%.

Gross Fixed Capital Formation was very weak dropping by 4.4% following 1.8% drop the previous quarter. Construction output dropped by 4.7% following 2.3% drop in the fourth quarter

Total services rose 0.9% in the quarter following 0.6% drop in the fourth quarter, where the biggest contribution was from business services and finance that increased 1.0% following a decline of 0.8%.

Total production output rose by 0.4% easing from 0.8% increase the previous quarter. The biggest contribution to growth was manufacturing that expanded 1.1% in line with the previous quarter.

The total business investment dropped 7.1% after being unchanged the previous quarter, and dropped 3.2% on the year following 12.2% rise.