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UK shares inch lower as subdued GDP data weighs

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* FTSE 100 down 0.4%, FTSE 250 off 0.5%

March 12 (Reuters) - British shares fell on Friday, as data showed that the economy shrank by 2.9% in January, while drugmaker AstraZeneca fell after scaling back its vaccine supply forecast to the European Union.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index slid 0.4%, with mining stocks, including Rio Tinto, Anglo American and BHP Group falling between 0.2% and 0.5%, hit by a drop in metal prices over demand concerns.

Oil heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell were also among the laggards.

Britain’s economy shrank by a less severe than expected 2.9% in January from December as the country went back into a coronavirus lockdown and is likely to shrink by 4% in the first quarter of 2021, official data showed.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index fell 0.5%, dragged by industrials and consumer discretionary stocks.

Shopping centre operator Hammerson Plc jumped 8.1%, despite posting a 1.7 billion pound ($2.37 billion) loss for 2020, with the value of its portfolio slumping by nearly 2 billion pounds as the COVID-19 pandemic battered the retail sector.

AstraZeneca Plc fell 0.6%, after cutting its supply forecast of COVID-19 vaccines to the European Union in the first quarter to about 30 million doses, a third of its contractual obligations and a 25% drop from pledges made last month.

Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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