UK Economy Job Done? No Way: Osborne

The U.K. economy might be a bright spot among developed economies amid fears of a renewed global economic slowdown but there is still a long way to go to get it operating at full speed, according to U.K. Chancellor George Osborne.

“For the past few years the U.K. has now consistently been the fastest-growing of the major, advanced economies of the world…but I don’t come here feeling it’s a case of ‘job done.’ I always come to these meetings thinking, ‘God, there’s so much more we need to do’,” Osborne told CNBC on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank annual summit in Peru at the weekend.

Expanding U.K. exports, building more infrastructure and improving productivity were among the items on his to-do list, although the country’s positive economic momentum and low unemployment rate, of 5.5 percent, has eased the pressure on Osborne and the Conservative-led government under Prime Minister David Cameron.

Last week, the IMF raised its growth forecasts for the U.K. while slashing expectations for the global economy as a whole on the back of concern over emerging markets and China. It predicted U.K. growth of 2.5 percent in 2015, and 2.2 percent in 2016, revising its July forecast upwards. In fact, it highlighted the economy as a rare bright spot amid a gloomy global outlook.

“In the United Kingdom, continued steady growth is expected in 2015 and 2016,” the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook report, “supported by lower oil prices and continued recovery in wage growth.”

The IMF has not always looked so favorably on the U.K., however. In particular, Osborne’s spending cut drive at the helm of the U.K.’s economy has drawn criticism from the IMF in the past although with its robust recovery, the government’s strategy appears to have been vindicated.


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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary. His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
Craig Erlam