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United Kingdom growth weakest in G20 as world economy strengthens, OECD says

13 March 2018

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released its interim economic outlook for global growth for 2018 and 2019.

The OECD added that the tax and public spending reductions in the US during the last three months and Germany's fiscal stimulus were key factors for upgrading global growth predictions in 2018 and 2019.

An improved outlook for world economic growth will be placed at severe risk if a trade war results from USA metal tariffs, a respected global forum has warned. The think tank said U.S. tax cuts and spending increases, combined with fiscal stimulus in Germany, were the main reasons for the improved outlook.

The UK economy will grow slower this year than any other major advanced country in 2018. The body forecasts growth will slump to 1.2 per cent over the course of this year and 1.1 per cent in 2019, as the United Kingdom leaves the EU. "Escalation of trade tensions would hurt the recovery".

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The German rise will be slightly higher than that of the euro area as a whole, with a forecast increase of up to 2.3% in 2018 and 2.1% in 2019 (two tenths more in both cases).

Eurozone growth was also predicted to slow, dropping from 2.5 percent in 2017 to 2.3 percent in 2018 and 2.1 percent in 2019, the OECD said.

United States economic growth is tipped for a rise from 2017's 2.3% to 2.9% this year and 2.8% in 2019, on the back of tax cuts and spending increases under President Donald Trump.

The warning comes as many countries including the European Union and Japan try to get exemptions from the USA on the metals tariffs amid threats of retaliatory measures against the world's largest economy.

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The world economy is vulnerable to rising interest rates and protectionism, the OECD said.

"Safeguarding the rules-based worldwide trading system is essential to prevent the longer-term harm to growth prospects that could arise from a retreat from open markets", it said.

With Britain due to leave the European Union next year, its economic growth was seen easing to 1.1 per cent in 2019, unchanged from the OECD's November estimate.

And while eurozone growth is expected to ease off from 2.5% a year ago to 2.3% in 2018 and 2.1% in 2019, major continental economies like Germany and France are forecast to out-perform the UK. Countries should rely on collective solutions like the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity to address specific issues.

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United Kingdom growth weakest in G20 as world economy strengthens, OECD says