As the arguments rage between those wanting Britain to carry on on its course to leave the EU, and others urging caution, the International Monetary Fund has revised its growth forecasts for many world economies, among them the UK, USA, and the Eurozone. The first two have seen a downgrade; for Britain, this is the first such move since last years’s referendum vote. The figures make for interesting reading.
The BBC has reported that “The UK and US economies will expand more slowly in 2017 than previously predicted, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) … It said ‘weaker-than-expected activity’ in the first three months of the year meant the UK would grow by 1.7%, compared with an earlier 2% forecast … The IMF also revised down its US growth forecast from 2.3% to 2.1%”. Politico has also weighed in.
The Fawkes version of Europe now includes Japan
The news included ominous trends, such as Britain falling behind the Eurozone in the growth league. So it was necessary for the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog to do what they do best: spin for Brexit, and in the process demonstrate that they don’t know what they are talking about.
“‘Sick Man Of Europe’ Outperforming Eurozone Rivals” told the Fawkes folks, with a chart which included the Eurozone country of, er, Japan. “The UK is predicted to grow 1.7% in 2017”, they told, the EuroGuido Twitter feed confirming “IMF is predicting the Brexit apocalypse means UK will outperform France, Japan & Italy in 2017. GDP will grow 0.1% slower than Germany”. IN 2017. Note that little word - and a big mistake.
Jonathan Portes, who likes to get things right, pointed out “This is wrong, of course. For performance *in* 2017, you need to look at Q4 on Q4 figures (penultimate column)”. That column is included in this post. So did The Great Guido accept the error of his ways? You jest: “Yawn ... Table 1. IMF Overview of the World Economic Outlook Projections Year-on-Year” came the response. So Portes tried again.
The full IMF chart - including Q4 on Q4 figures
“I understand you're arithmetically challenged, but pay attention. As I said, you're looking at the wrong column”. The Q4 on Q4 numbers were easily visible - except to the Fawkes rabble, who had cropped them out! Once again, would the Fawkes folks reconsider? But this would be unthinkable. So it was that whoever was in charge of the EuroGuido Twitter feed resorted to forthright abuse. Portes was left to deliver the Coup de Grace.
In the style of The Great Guido’s favourite Stateside politician, he observed “Seems @GuidoFawkes doesn't much like it when someone points out he got his sums wrong. Sad!” For growth *in* 2017, the Q4 on Q4 figures are the ones to watch - that is why they enjoy such prominence in the IMF report. But for The Great Guido, economics and econometrics are subjects destined to be forever out of his grasp.
The Fawkes rabble can’t even read numbers correctly. Another fine mess, once again.