And equally predictably, some economists have already pointed out it’s a preliminary report, so maybe the economy isn’t as weak as the stats show. Negative figures have been revised away in the past.
While both points may well be true, they really amount to a squabble over whether your football team is going to go 4-0 down or 5-0 down. As Markit Economics pointed out, Friday’s figures mean that UK GDP remains some 3.2 percent lower than the peak of Q1 2008.
While a potential triple-dip recession would have profound political implications, in economic terms it doesn’t really make a huge amount of difference. Britain’s economy has been drifting around the margins of mediocrity for the last few years, and will probably do so for years to come.
Stephen Lewis, chief economist at Monument Securities, offered this wider view of Britain’s economy in Wednesday’s Reuters poll: