Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

UK's growth forecast raised by IMF

George Osborne welcomed the IMF forecast
George Osborne welcomed the IMF forecast

The UK is on course to outpace the world's major advanced economies this year after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its GDP forecast for a fourth time in a row to 3.2%.

The projection, which is disclosed in the IMF's World Economic Outlook, is better than the organisation's other forecasts that the United States will grow by 1.7% this year, Germany by 1.9% and Canada by 2.2%.

As well as the 0.4% upgrade to its April forecast for this year, the IMF has added 0.2% to its prediction for 2015, when the UK should grow by 2.7%.

Since last year's forecast by the IMF that the UK would grow by just 1.5% in 2014, the recovery has been driven by consumer spending and a tentative rebound in the manufacturing sector.

Tomorrow, figures from the Office of National Statistics are expected to show the UK economy has recovered to pre-recession levels, with growth of 0.8% due in the second quarter of the year.

Despite the improvement, sluggish wage growth and the prospect of higher interest rates present risks that threaten to hamper the progress.

Chancellor George Osborne said: "Today the IMF has upgraded their 2014 forecast for the UK by more than any other major economy.

"The Government's long term economic plan is working. But the job is not yet done and so we will go on making the assessment of what needs to be done to secure a brighter economic future."

The IMF rounded down growth for the global economy from 3.7% in April to 3.4% today.

IMF director Olivier Blanchard said: "The recovery continues, but it remains a weak recovery."

Mr Blanchard added: "Advanced economies are still confronted with high levels of public and private debt, which act as brakes on the recovery. These brakes are coming off, but at different rates across countries."

The economic body's forecasts that the UK will grow at 2.7% next year compares with 2015 growth estimates of 3% in the US and 2.4% in Canada.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: " IMF predicts UK to be fastest growing economy in the G7 - more growth means more jobs and more security for families."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Pay packets are still falling behind rising prices, so most people are not yet sharing in the recovery.

"If the good news on growth is going to last, real wages must start improving too.

"Businesses can only grow if customers have more money in their pockets, which means that Britain needs a pay rise."

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