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[Published: Wednesday July 28 2021]

Covid recovery: IMF predicts UK economy to grow fastest of all G7 nations

WASHINGTON, 28 July. - (ANA) - The UK economy is set to recover much faster than expected from the Covid crisis as a resurgence in consumer spending and the success of the vaccine rollout boosted official forecasts.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook report, the UK economy will expand seven per cent this year, a sharp increase from the 5.3 per cent predicted in the Fund’s previous report in April.

The seven per cent expansion is the joint highest rate of all advanced economies, tied with the US. However, the American economy suffered a 3.5 per cent contraction last year, meaning if the US reaches the IMF’s forecast, its economy will have recovered from the Covid hit.

Of all the group of G7 seven nations, the UK suffered the harshest hit from the Covid crisis, with economic output plummeting 9.8 per cent in 2020.

The IMF also expects growth next year to be slower than first thought, down 0.3 per cent to 4.8 per cent – still the second fastest among G7 nations.

The reopening of the services sector of the economy – which the UK relies heavily on – after the successful relatively earlier rollout of Covid vaccines compared to its peers has triggered a resurgence in economic activity in the UK, prompting the IMF to raise its forecasts.

Responding to the report, chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “There are positive signs that our economy is rebounding faster than initially expected, with the IMF forecasting the UK to have the joint highest growth rate in 2021 among the G7 economies.”

“That said, we still face challenges ahead as a result of the impact of the pandemic, which is why we remain focused on protecting and creating as many jobs as possible through our Plan for Jobs.”

The enormous stimulus programmes launched by advanced economies to protect households’ income, jobs and prevent business bankruptcies is likely to push their combined debt-to-GDP ratio to 122.5 per cent by the end of this year.

The IMF expects Japan to have the slowest rate of output expansion of all advanced economies in 2021, rising 2.8 per cent, reflecting relatively longer lockdown periods in the country.

Europe’s largest economy, Germany, is forecast to have the second worst rate of growth at 3.6 per cent. Italy is third with a 4.9 per cent expansion.

China is expected to gain a greater share of the global economy.   - (ANA) -

AB/ANA/28 July 2021 - - -

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