Economy Figures Set To Show ‘Positive Growth’

Economy Figures Set To Show ‘Positive Growth’

Data is due to show the economy grew by around 0.5% over April, May and June – but analysts say the recovery is still fragile.

Economists are predicting good news when the first estimate of economic growth during April, May and June is revealed next week.

Analysts expect the Office for National Statistics to say that the economy grew by around 0.5% when it reveals its preliminary estimate for Q2 GDP on Thursday.

They point to several important economic indicators which have been positive in recent months.

Consumer confidence was at a 25-month high in June. Business confidence in Q2 was at its highest since 2007.

Retail sales volumes rose by 0.9% between Q1 and Q2. New car sales were 13.4% higher in June compared with the same month last year.

Former government economic adviser Vicky Pryce told Sky News: “I think what’s going on right now is that the consumer is very keen on spending.

“The consumer has reduced his savings ratio very substantially from about 7% a year ago to about 4% now so they are spending their way out of this recession.

“It’s not because they’re earning an awful lot more, because of course average earnings have not really moved very much and there are all sorts of restrictions in terms of public sector wages, so they are suffering a little bit from that. But they are feeling a lot more confident so they’re out there spending.”

Even the International Monetary Fund, which recently encouraged the Government to ease public spending cuts, has revised upwards its forecast for UK economic growth in 2013 from 0.7% to 0.9%.

However, some of the economy’s biggest problems remain with more Government cutbacks still on the horizon, banks still reluctant to lend and consumer prices rising at a faster rate than average wages.

Howard Archer, chief UK & European economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “There are still significant headwinds to growth which suggest that the upside for growth will be limited for some time to come and that the economy will likely remain prone to periodic losses of momentum.

“While we are encouraged by the recent extended and diverse good news on the UK economy, we currently remain cautious in markedly raising our GDP growth forecasts – especially given the many false dawns that there have been in recent times and the fact that events in the eurozone still pose a significant threat.”

There is also mounting evidence of a resurgence in the property market with house prices rising in June and mortgage approvals at a 41 month high in May.

However critics of the Government’s homebuying incentives such as Help To Buy have warned that it risks fuelling a property bubble.

Brunel University professor Moorad Choudhry told Sky News: “I’d like to ask why is the Government subsidising house purchases? That is something we got out of years back when we unwound tax relief on mortgages’ interest.

“If I inject cheap money into the stock market and it rises, that’s not genuine growth. It’s conceptually similar to subsidising anything and it’s a false growth.”

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