LONDON - Britain's economy contracted by less than feared in June, when a an extra bank holiday for Queen Elizabeth's platinum jubilee had been expected to exert a big drag, although output for the second quarter as a whole still contracted.

The Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product fell by 0.6% in June, the biggest contraction since January 2021 but still far less severe than the 1.3% drop predicted by the consensus of economists polled by Reuters.

The ONS said services output fell by 0.5% in June 2022, which was the main driver of the fall in GDP.

The additions of bank holidays in June subtracted two working days from the month.

For the second quarter as a whole, the economy contracted by 0.1%, compared with forecasts for a 0.3% drop.

Despite the better than expected tone of the data, it still pointed to growing weakness among consumer-facing sectors of the economy, like retail and restaurants, that are most exposed to a worsening cost of living crisis.

While the economy in June was estimated to be 0.9% above its pre-COVID pandemic level in February 2020, the ONS said consumer-facing services output was 4.9% below.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, William James, Farouq Suleiman and Kate Holton)