Belfast Telegraph

Are dark clouds of recession gathering on our good news?

By David Elliot

There we were, trying to tow the ministerial line with good news galore when the snazzily-titled Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) goes and ruins the party.

Their crime was to mention the 'R' word.

According to the acclaimed think-tank - a phrase used to describe a gathering of clever individuals - the UK economy has fallen back into recession.

They base their theory on the expectation that a contraction of 0.1% occurred in the first three months of this year following a 0.3% contraction in the last quarter of 2011, a scenario which technically means we are in recession.

How the OECD can know this before the third quarter is completely ended is anyone's guess and it would be nice to see the economy put in a late surge today and scupper those predictions.

It's unlikely to happen but then again it might not need to as many economists, plus this anecdotally-informed reporter, reckon the OECD is pinning this particular tail on the wrong end of the donkey.

Most think we have managed to avoid a recession by a whisker and in doing so have also avoided the double dip - not a new ride at Barry's amusements in Portrush but a term for the fall-back that has been worrying money markets for a while now.

We won't know the official gross value added (the economists' new black when it comes to measuring economic output) for a few weeks but it will certainly have investors on edge.

In the meantime, the economic and business news remains mixed, although the sunshine certainly seems to have brought out renewed enthusiasm in the Northern Ireland economy.

The sun is due to dip behind the clouds over the next few days but let's hope that businesses here don't lose their shine.

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