Recent evidence from the Institute of Economic and Social Research shows that the UK economy grew in April and May and that 2009 Quarter 2 figures will also show a rise in output. Although annual growth in GDP will still be negative, as the previous three quarters were all negative, recent growth suggests that the recession might have ‘bottomed out’ and that recovery is beginning.
Of course, it’s early days to tell whether these are real ‘green shoots’ or whether the economy will slide back into negative growth once more, but confidence is returning. One sign of this is the recent appreciation of sterling (see). The following articles look the rise of the pound, why it is occurring and whether the green shoots will flourish or wither.
Pound hits 2009 high against euro BBC News (11/6/09)
Sterling: what’s the outlook now? Telegraph (11/6/09)
Sterling hits year’s high versus euro ThisIsMoney (11/6/09)
Sterling leaves euro in its wake on hopes of UK recovery The Herald (11/6/09)
Jeremy Warner: Recession may be over but not the pain Independent (11/6/09)
Taking stock of the different economic signals Times Online (11/6/09)
- Why has the pound been appreciating?
- What are the implications of an appreciation of the pound for the UK economy?
- Why is the dollar likely to fall as the prospects for the world economy brighten?
- What evidence is there that the UK economy is now beginning to recover? What will determine whether or not the recovery will be sustained?
Forecasting the future state of economies is difficult at the best of times. Forecasters frequently get it wrong. To see this, just look at forecasts for the current point in time made two or three years ago – or even six months ago, given the current dire circumstances. They were often way-off mark.
But why are forecasts often so inaccurate? The problem is that in the short run the state of the economy depends on the level of aggregate demand; and that, in turn, depends crucially on confidence – both of consumers and business. But confidence is a ‘will-o’-the-wisp’ thing. Confidence can evaporate with bad news, making the situation much worse. Likewise, good news can lead to rapidly growing optimism, which in turn stimulates consumption, investment and growth. Humans are fickle creatures – and the media do not help here, playing on fears or hyping-up good news.
The following articles look at forecasts made in April 2009, when economies around the world were deep in recession. Was this recession the start of something much worse? Or were economies soon to bounce back, taking up the slack created by the recession? Forecasters were being sorely tested. It will be interesting to see in a year’s time just how accurate, or inaccurate, they were.
Are there any signs of recovery? BBC News (16/4/09)
Merkel debates economic woes amid grim forecasts Guardian (22/4/09)
IMF is being unduly alarmist: Jeremy Warner Independent (24/4/09)
What the experts say: the shrinking economy Guardian (24/4/09)
Economic surveys signal that worst could be behind Europe EarthTimes (24/4/09)
Darling’s economic forecast “unrealistic” Moneywise (23/4/09)
Crisis deepens in Europe, Japan AsiaOne News (24/4/09)
IMF warns that worldwide slump will be deeper than thought Times Online (23/4/09)
World Economic Outlook: April 2009 IMF (24/4/09). See also webcast.
- Why do forecasters differ so markedly from each other?
- Other than an unexpected rise or fall in confidence, what else could make forecasts turn out to be wrong?
- To what extent is economic forecasting similar to and different from weather forecasting?