26 January 2010

Brown by a nose (for the moment)

So, we are out of recession by the narrowest of margins.

Jonathan Loynes at Capital Economics says:

The Q4 GDP figures are a major blow to hopes that the UK economy had emerged decisively from recession in Q4"No doubt some commentators will claim that the figures are under-estimating the true strength of the recovery and will be revised up in time.

That is certainly possible. But it won't change the big picture of an economy still operating way below both its pre-recession and trend levels of output.

Andrew Lilico, Chief Economist of Policy Exchange commented:

These are appalling figures.  This is just the preliminary estimate, and the chances of being revised down by 0.1% or more are about evens, so we may well still be in recession.  And that is taking account of an inventory bounce as firms restocked their warehouses and the shift of consumption from January into December as households tried to avoid the VAT rise.  It now seems certain that there will be a double dip back into recession next year, and that may come as soon as the first quarter.  The slip back into recession might be announced in late April, right at the peak of the General Election campaign.

As discussed earlier, all this gives Gordon Brown a huge dilemma, should the Cabinet allow him to lead Labour at the election.

Now back to the day-long Iraq roundtable being held by and for legal novices.

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