Frankly, there wasn’t much to cheer in the long tail of the Global Financial Crisis for any government anywhere (although Australia never tipped into recession), so it was perhaps unsurprising that the UK government made much of the fact that its growth was faster than that of the Eurozone and indeed, best of all the G7 nations – this is rather disingenuous anyway since the size of the G7 economies are quite different in Dollar terms.
Since the national folly of Brexit has moved from pipe dream to waking nightmare, proponents have been quick to point out that the more apocalyptic predictions for the UK economy have not materialised; this is countered by the remain camp pointing out that the UK is still a fully paid-up member of the EU and is yet to feel the harsh winds of isolation, but that doesn’t mean that the storm is not gathering.
With preliminary data for Q2 now available, UK economic growth has slumped to the weakest of any G7 nation, coming in at 0.3%. Whilst this is a faster pace than the meagre 0.2% growth seen in Q1, it is less than half of US and German pace of expansion, whereas Japan’s economy expanded by fully 1% in Q2. Growth in Italy, held out by Brexiters as an economic albatross around the neck of the Eurozone, managed growth of 0.4%, mirroring its Q1 performance. Fresh from a presidential election which rebuffed the fortunes of the anti-EU forces in the nation, France posted robust growth of 0.5% up from a Q1 level of 0.4%. Canadian growth for Q2 came in at a strong 0.9%.
It remains to be seen just how much the “Brexit” effect will continue/start to influence UK output as the nation edges ever closer to the cliff, but it is clear that government can no longer pretend that their economic stewardship is the best in the developed world.