The British pound weakened against other major currencies in the early European session on Thursday, after data showed that the U.K. economy slipped into a recession in the fourth quarter.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that the U.K. gross domestic product declined 0.3 percent sequentially, following an unrevised 0.1 percent fall in the third quarter. Economists had forecast another 0.1 percent fall for the fourth quarter.

Compared to the last year, real GDP declined 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, confounding expectations for an increase of 0.1 percent.

In 2023, GDP growth eased sharply to 0.1 percent from 4.3 percent in 2022. This was the weakest growth since the financial crisis in 2009, excluding the year 2020.

In December, GDP dropped 0.1 percent, in contrast to the 0.2 percent expansion in November.

In the European trading now, the pound fell to a 9-day low of 0.8558 against the euro, a 3-day low of 188.28 against the yen and a 2-day low of 1.1086 against the Swiss franc, from early highs of 0.8536, 189.21 and 1.1132, respectively. If the pound extends its downtrend, it is likely to find support around 0.86 against the euro, 186.00 against the yen and 1.09 against the franc.

Against the U.S. dollar, the pound edged down to 1.2542 from an early high of 1.2574. On the downside, 1.24 is seen as the next support level for the pound.

Looking ahead, Eurozone foreign trade figures for December is due to be released at 5:00 am ET.

In the New York session, Canada housing starts for January and manufacturing sales data for December, U.S. retail sales data for January, weekly jobless claims data, import and export prices, industrial production for January, business inventories for December, U.S. NAHB housing market index for February are slated for release.

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