At the end of April, the Office of National Statistics issued its calculation of UK growth in the first quarter of 2011. At that point on this Blog (27 April) I offered my prediction for the second (April - June) quarter: growth no better than 0.5% but no worse than minus 0.5%, in other words, flatlining. Today, the ONS has published the result for the quarter: growth of 0.2%
So I got it right. Go to my 27 April Blog to read the reasoning.
Now I have to try to repeat the success. What will happen in the third quarter, July to September?
Again, I think we will see flatlining: growth or contraction hovering around the zero mark. We are going into the holiday period when people stop working (again) and leave the country (again). True, tourists come in the other direction to boost the service sector and, true, against the €uro the pound is weak making the UK an attractive destination for Europeans. But not for Americans, because the dollar is weak and likely to get weaker even if the US debt crisis is temporarily resolved.
Money is moving into Switzerland rather than into the UK. UK manufacturing doesn't look very healthy, with Bombardier looking fatally ill.
And so on. You could say that my previous prediction was an easy one: I gave myself a one percent range. So this time, I'll make it tighter: the third quarter will show growth no greater than 0.3% and no worse than minus 0.3%. If I had to plump for a single figure rather than a range I would plump for minus 0.1%.
Results posted here end of October.
RESULTS, 1 November 2011: WRONG. The official figures released today show growth at 0.5%, better than the second quarter