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Tuesday 21 January 2020

UK Growth To Outstrip EU? Maybe Not

Allison Pearson, the usually wacko pundit now at the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, yesterday declared that she was a thicko, then added “Exactly, as we thickos predicted IMF: UK economy to grow faster than eurozone after Brexit”. Could this be true? If so, it would be the Brexiteers’ very own Holy Grail, a result that not even diehard Tories could have hoped for before last month’s General Election.
Maybe there was a nugget of truth in the claim: after all, it wasn’t just Mail Online that was pitching the idea. This morning’s edition of the Murdoch Times claimed “British economy will grow faster than Eurozone rivals, says IMF”. The Telegraph, for some reason, relegates the happy news to a smaller front page item, but nevertheless still claims “UK will outperform Eurozone, says IMF”. Others are proclaiming this new reality.

Like, for instance, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, claimingThe IMF has predicted that the the UK economy will outpace the Eurozone in its new forecasts released yesterday. The forecasts, stretching two years in[to] the future, show the UK’s growth will accelerate in both 2020 and 2021 … Only the US and Canada are set to grow faster out of the world’s major advanced economies”.

That would be a remarkable outcome. The problem is that it’s not what the IMF predicted, and the headline in Ms Phillips’ Tweet - “IMF: UK economic growth dependant on orderly Brexit” - gives a strong hint why that might be. Even the upbeat Mail Online report onlySuggests UK economy could grow 1.4 per cent in 2020 and 1.5 per cent in 2021” and warns “But IMF warns UK growth is dependent on 'gradual transition' away from EU”.

Moreover, the Guardian has stressedThe [IMF] has warned that the world economy is increasingly vulnerable to the impact of the climate emergency as the Washington-based organisation downgraded its forecasts for 2020 and 2021” before adding “The UK is expected to grow only modestly and in line with the IMF’s previous forecast at 1.3% last year, 1.4% this year and 1.5% next year. This is based on an orderly exit from the EU later this year and a smooth transition to a new trading relationship from 2021”.
Orderly exit”. “Smooth transition”. What might that mean? The Independent’s report spells it out. “‘The growth forecast assumes an orderly exit from the European Union at the end of January followed by a gradual transition to a new economic relationship,’ [the IMF] World Economic Outlook said, adding that its forecasts depended on the UK and EU ‘averting’ a no-deal exit”. Averting a no-deal exit. That’s what it means.

Moreover, if you actually read the IMF’s report, this is what it says about the UK: “In the United Kingdom, growth is expected to stabilize at 1.4 percent in 2020 and firm up to 1.5 percent in 2021 - unchanged from the October WEO”. Anyone would think from the press optimism that there had been an upward revision of previous forecasts. Nope.

The IMF also says of the Eurozone “Projected improvements in external demand support the anticipated firming of growth”. And no caveats about orderly exits or smooth transitions.The optimism comes with a whole row of very large asterisks.

The IMF says No No Deal. No Hard Brexit. Or Else. What you will not read in the papers.
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Gonzoland said...

As per usual, the low grade portion of the media ignore any conditions outlined in official statements. Does the vision of hacks become blurred when they see the words 'provided that' 'conditional on' 'so long as' etc?

Anonymous said...

The Murdoch Slimes, Rothermere Heil Online and the torygraph?......Does anybody of common sense believe anything coming out of that trio of far right liars?

Not that there's anything to commend the IMF, that bankers gangster cabal and capitalist economic protection racket.

Anonymous said...

In this case the omission is probably deliberate. The truth is not the message they wish to see delivered.

grim northerner said...

They have an aversion to modal adverbials.

nparker said...

If they see 'we won't get run over so long as there are no accidents', do they proclaim "ah ha! I can step in front of cars and I'll just go through them like a ghost!"

Anonymous 14:31
"that bankers gangster cabal and capitalist economic protection racket"

Come again?

Paul Beardsell said...

But you miss the important bit. The reason the UK is going to outperform the EU is because the EU is going to do less well than previously forecast. That the EU becomes economically moribund is the point.