UK economy recovers to pandemic levels; pound highest since 2016; US retail sales slide – business live

Good morning.

The UK economy has recovered to its pre-pandemic level, after a surge of growth in November.

UK GDP grew by 0.9% in November, data from the Office for National Statistics shows, as the economy picked up after slowing to just 0.2% in October.

It means UK GDP is 0.7% above its level in February 2020, just before the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic hit - a milestone in the recovery from the pandemic.