The gloom surrounding the UK economy's poorest performance in more than a year was partly eased by an upward revision to the third-quarter figures today.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said GDP rose by 0.5% in the three months to the end of the September, compared with a previous estimate of 0.4%.

A weak period for the industrial sector, where output slipped by 1.3%, was blamed for the overall quarter-on-quarter fall, which the ONS said represented the worst three months for the UK economy since the summer of 2003.

Analysts still expect the economy to show an improvement in the final quarter of 2004 with a return of 0.7% and 3.2% across the calendar year.

The improved news from the third quarter was offset by separate ONS figures showing the UK's current account deficit widened to £8.8 billion, against a figure of £5.8 billion in the second quarter.

The deterioration, which was put down to more investment income going to overseas investors, included a deficit of £6.4 billion with EU countries, compared with a figure of £5.7 billion in the previous three months.