The UK economy has narrowly avoided slipping into recession in 2019, according to the latest quarterly GDP figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) claimed the economy grew by 0.3% in Q3 2019, following a 0.2% contraction at the end of Q2 2019.

Two consecutive quarters of negative growth would have meant the country was in a technical recession for the first time since Q2 2009.

As GDP for Q3 grew slightly in the three months to the end of September 2019, a recession cannot be declared until the end of March 2020 at the earliest.

Business groups welcomed the latest figures with caution, with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) saying it "masks an alarming loss of momentum".

Suren Thiru, head of economic at the BCC, said:

"The latest figures do little to suggest any meaningful improvement in the UK's underlying growth trajectory."

The Institute of Directors (IoD) said "narrowly avoiding a recession is nothing to celebrate" after a "stop-start year," which has been disrupted by Brexit deadlines.

Tej Parikh, chief economist at the IoD, added:

"The pickup in Q3 numbers may slightly exaggerate the strength in the economy, with some activity likely to have been brought forward before 31 October.

"With uncertainty likely to persist and a continued slowdown in global markets, the onus is on the new government to stimulate economic activity."