Export Week 2014: UK to be ‘best performing’ of largest economies, says IMF

But body warns exports ‘still disappointing’

Leading global economics organisation the International Monetary Fund has predicted that Britain’s economy is set to outperform its rivals across 2014, as several economic indicators signal renewed growth.

The Washington-based think tank predicted in its Global Economic Outlook report that the UK’s GDP growth would increase to 2.9% this year, before returning to a more stable rate of 2.5% in 2015.

The figures represent a notable revision of the IMF’s more pessimistic estimates in the past, and chief economist Olivier Blanchard admitted previous forecasts had been “clearly an underestimate of growth”.

A boost in consumer spending, low inflation and steadily falling unemployment were cited as the principal reasons behind the revised prediction for growth.

This IMF’s figures were supported by the UK’s own statistics, which showed that manufacturing output has risen by a record rate of 3.8% in a year.

The UK is set to outstrip all its major rivals with its rate of growth, as emerging economies in Asia, Africa and China begin to slow their pace.

However, IMF chief economist Blanchard delivered a note of warning for the UK and other countries when he said that an increasing income gap could jeopardise the global rate of growth.

Additionally, despite the UK recently becoming a net exporter for only the second time in five years, Blanchard also warned that UK exports were “still disappointing” – echoing shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna’s criticisms of what he termed the “failure” of government initiatives designed to get small businesses trading internationally.

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