UK to slip down global economic league table, analysts predict

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The UK risks falling from fifth to seventh in the rankings of the world’s largest economies next year, analysts have claimed.

Both India and France could overtake Britain in the global table, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The accountancy firm projects real GDP growth of 1.6% for the UK in 2019, compared to 1.7% for France and 7.6% for India.

Fast growth in India will push it into fifth place, while a stronger exchange rate in France will see it ahead of the UK in sixth, the firm predicts.

Mike Jakeman, senior economist at PwC, said: “India is the fastest-growing large economy in the world, with an enormous population, favourable demographics and high catch-up potential due to low initial GDP per head.

“It is all but certain to continue to rise in the global GDP league table in the coming decades.

“The UK and France have regularly alternated in having the larger economy, but subdued growth in the UK in 2018 and again in 2019 is likely to tip the balance in France’s favour.

“The relative strength of the euro against the pound is an important factor here.”

The global economy as a whole is expected to slow in 2019, with the pick-up in growth of most major economies seen between the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2018 now over.

A production line
India and France could soon overtake the UK in the global table (Dan Law/PA)

Barret Kupelian, senior economist at PwC, said: “Last year, the big economic news was centred around advanced economies creating around 4.5 million jobs.

“We expect this trend to gradually moderate in 2019 with some economies like the US, Canada and Germany hitting structural floors in their unemployment rates, and wage growth starting to gradually pick up.

“Assuming an orderly Brexit, we expect the UK to also see unemployment flattening off, though a disorderly Brexit could lead to a marked rise of unemployment.”

Labour MP Ian Murray, a supporter of the People’s Vote campaign for a second EU referendum, said:  “Brexit is already causing huge and lasting damage to our economy, making us all poorer, and that will get worse if we leave the EU.

“People were promised a brighter future in 2016 if they voted to leave, but the reality looks very different – a weaker economy, a poorer country and a damaged NHS.

“People have a right to compare the Brexit on offer to the one that was promised before the referendum. And if it doesn’t match up, everyone has the right to change their minds.”

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