European Union cuts United Kingdom growth forecast as eurozone motors ahead


The 19-member eurozone is expected to grow at its fastest pace in a decade this year, with gross domestic product growth beating forecasts and projected to reach 2.2%, well outpacing the United Kingdom, according to a European Commission report released on Thursday. It is however expected to grow to 1.8% in 2019, with higher prices in the services projected to be behind this.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also optimistic and has increased its growth forecast from 2.9 percent to 3.1 percent, while the World Bank has maintained an estimate of 2.9 percent.

By contrast to the slowing United Kingdom economy, the rest of Europe will continue to grow robustly, carrying on the strong levels of economic expansion seen over the past year or so.

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Come 2018, there is expected to be a slow-down to 4.9% in real GDP growth, with private consumption expected to become the principle factor behind the growth, based on an increasing population and higher disposable income.

For the whole European Union, the growth forecast was lifted to 2.3% for this year from 1.9%, while in 2018 the bloc is predicted to grow 2.1%.

The EU sharply raised its eurozone growth forecast for 2017 on Thursday, confident that the economic recovery was gathering pace despite the uncertainties of Brexit.

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"The restructuring of the distressed food-processing and retail group Agrokor - Croatia's largest private sector employer - appears to have had a smaller-than-anticipated effect on output in the first half of the year", the European Commission said in its Autumn 2017 Economic Forecast. The International Monetary Fund is expecting United Kingdom growth of 1.7% this year, while the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is forecasting growth of 1.6%.

With current surveys already suggesting that heightened uncertainty is weighing on business investment in the United Kingdom, the EC report forecast investment growth will weaken in 2018, as many firms are likely to continue deferring investments in the face of uncertainty.

However, the report noted that while the country is experiencing a very low unemployment rate and increasing skill shortages, wage growth has been limited, due to strong increases in labour supply, on the back of inflows of foreign workers.

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