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UK economy contracted 0.3 pct in fourth quarter

LONDON (AP) -- Britain's economy contracted by 0.3 percent in the last three months of 2012, raising the possibility that it might fall back into recession.

The Office for National Statistics said Friday that there was no growth in the nation's big services industry while output of production industries fell by 1.8 percent, including a 1.5 percent drop in manufacturing.

Britain emerged from a nine-month recession in the third quarter when GDP grew by 0.9 percent.

The GDP figure released Friday is subject to revision. It was the fourth quarter of negative growth out of the past five.

If the economy shrinks again in the first quarter of 2013, it will be officially back in recession, technically defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.