Will the UK economy do better than Germany, Italy and Japan in 2019?That’s what Sajid Javid told Channel 4 News today.
Responding to Office for National Statistics figures showing the UK economy shrank in the second quarter of 2019, the Chancellor said “the [International Monetary Fund] forecasts that we will grow faster than Italy, than Germany, than Japan” and at the same rate as France.
The IMF predicted in July 2019 that the UK would grow by 1.3 per cent across the whole year — matching France and beating Japan, Germany and Italy.
But those IMF forecasts were made before today’s revelation that UK GDP did worse than expected between April and June.
So the IMF report is not necessarily the trump card Mr Javid presents it to be.
Indeed, in the same quarter, Italy, Japan and France all did better than the UK. (There are no stats for Germany Q2 yet).
The UK could still claw it back and surpass Germany, Japan and Italy by the end of 2019.
But as the IMF pointed out in the same report Mr Javid cited today, the prospect of the UK outperforming those major economies rests on the assumption of an “orderly Brexit followed by a gradual transition”.
It remains to be seen whether that will materialise.