BRITAIN's economy grew by 0.5 per cent last quarter - less than previously thought.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed gross domestic product in the third quarter of 2001 was revised down from last month's 0.6 per cent estimate. It compares with a 0.4 per cent growth in the second quarter and 0.6 per cent in the first.

The revision reflects weaker manufacturing figures in September, while growth for the services industries was revised down to 0.6 per cent from 0.8 per cent last month.

Economists said the real question was to what extent the economy will grow for the rest of the year and said the door was left open for further interest rate cuts.

Geoffrey Dicks, economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: "The market had expected a revision downwards."