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UK will be fastest growing G7 economy this year – IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has upgraded its UK GDP forecast and now predicts the country will see stronger growth than any other G7 economy this year.

The IMF’s 2014 UK GDP forecast was yesterday raised from January’s 2.4% estimate to 2.9%.

That beats even the 2.8% growth forecast for the US, the country widely seen to be experiencing the most sustainable recovery so far.

The upgrade marks the first time since April 2008 that UK growth is forecast to be higher than in the US and Germany; the 2015 forecast has also been upgraded from 2.2% to 2.5%.

The positive outlook is underpinned by manufacturing figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also released yesterday.

Those figures showed a 0.9% increase in industrial production between January and February, significantly above the 0.3% increase expected by economists.

Only 12 months ago, the IMF claimed chancellor George Osborne (pictured) was “playing with fire” with his deficit reduction programme, and the growth forecast at the time was just 1.5%, nearly half of the latest prediction.

This week’s report has now praised Osborne’s fiscal plan. However, it also warned the current recovery was “unbalanced”, voicing concerns over the leading role played by expanded mortgage lending and easier credit conditions.

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