Bouncing back?

The OECD published its latest interim assessment of the world economy on April 7. This showed a world gradually bouncing back from recession, with growing GDP (albeit at variable speeds in different countries), rising industrial production, increasing business confidence, a stabilising of financial markets, an easing of credit conditions and yet continuing low inflation.

The UK is forecast to have an annualised rate of growth of GDP in quarter 2 of 3.1%. This is the second highest of the G7 countries, behind only Canada. This would seem like good news – an economic spring for the UK.

Despite continuing growth in the OECD countries, in most of them recovery is fragile. The OECD thus recommends caution in removing the stimulus measures adopted in most countries and hence caution in embarking on measures to cut public-sector deficits. As the report states:

Despite some encouraging signs on activity, the fragility of the recovery, a frail labour market and possible headwinds coming from financial markets underscore the need for caution in the removal of policy support. Central banks have already begun to rein in the exceptional liquidity stimulus injected during the recession. Further action in this area will need to be guided by financial conditions. The normalisation of policy interest rates should be carried out at a pace that will be contingent on the strength of the recovery in individual countries and the outlook for inflation beyond the near-term projection horizon. As for fiscal policy, the sharp increase in government indebtedness in the OECD area during the downturn calls for ambitious, clearly communicated medium-term consolidation programmes in many countries. Consolidation should start in 2011, or earlier where needed, and progress gradually so as not to undermine the incipient recovery.

The following webcast from the OECD presents the report.

Interim Assessment OECD, Pier Carlo Padoan, OECD Chief Economist (7/4/10)

Portal to report and webcast OECD
What is the economic outlook for OECD countries? An interim assessment OECD, Pier Carlo Padoan (7/4/10)

Economy set to speed up and beat UK’s rivals, says OECD Independent, Sean O’Grady (8/4/10)
Economy poised for rapid expansion Financial Times, Norma Cohen and Daniel Pimlot (8/4/10)
OECD sees slower growth in US, Europe, Japan Sydney Morning Herald (8/4/10)
UK business confidence ‘hits four-year high’ BBC News (12/4/10)
British companies confident of recovery but need investment, BDO warns Telegraph, Angela Monaghan (12/4/10)


  1. What are the main findings in the report?
  2. What are the policy implications of the findings?
  3. What are the implications of developments in financial markets? What are the possible ‘headwinds’?
  4. What factors could threaten the recovery of the UK economy?