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IMF cuts Britain's 2021 growth outlook after COVID surge

The International Monetary Fund cut Britain's growth outlook for 2021.

Article originally published by Reuters. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

The International Monetary Fund cut Britain's growth outlook for 2021 on Tuesday due to a resurgence in coronavirus cases, and forecast it would take until next year before the economy regains its pre-pandemic strength.

For the world economy as a whole, the IMF was slightly more optimistic than in its last set of forecasts in October, upgrading the outlook for global growth in 2021 by 0.3 percentage points to 5.5%.

But it cut Britain's growth outlook by 1.4 percentage points to 4.5%, a sharper downgrade than its 1.0 percentage point reduction for the euro zone.

The IMF estimates Britain was the worst-hit of the world's seven largest advanced economies last year, suffering a 10.0% decline in output, although Spain - which is outside the top seven - experienced an 11.1% fall.

Recovery will take time, both in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.

"The U.S. and Japan (are) projected to regain end-2019 activity levels in the second half of 2021, while in the euro area and the United Kingdom activity is expected to remain below end-2019 levels into 2022," the IMF said.

The Bank of England forecast in November that Britain's economy would regain its pre-pandemic size in the first quarter of 2022, while economists polled by Reuters on average think it will take at least two more years.

IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath told a news conference in Washington that Britain's growth downgrade reflected a second wave of COVID-19 cases in late 2020 and a third wave in early 2021, driven by a new variant of the virus.

Britain's government imposed an open-ended lockdown on Jan. 5 which has closed schools and most non-essential businesses that were open to the public, likely tipping the economy back into contraction in early 2021.

Brexit disruption in the first quarter of 2021 was also likely to reduce output by around 1%, Gopinath added.

"We have a revision up going forward for 2022, when we should see growth coming back. It is kind of a lagged recovery that we have," she told reporters. (Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal in WASHINGTON, Editing by William Maclean)


Copyright (2021) Thomson Reuters. This article was written by David Milliken from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

Article originally published by Reuters. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

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