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Invesco's Greenwood warns advisers to plan for weak growth

Invesco's Greenwood warns advisers to plan for weak growth

The chief economist at Invesco Perpetual said he expected the UK economy to grow at a slower pace than the US or Europe in 2018, as Brexit uncertainty continues to plague the economy.

John Greenwood said he expected UK GDP growth of 1.4 per cent in 2018, compared with 2.1 per cent for the Eurozone and 2.5 per cent for the US.

The most recent set of GDP data revealed the UK grew at 0.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, the same level as the Eurozone.  

He said the UK economy performed somewhat better than expected in the months immediately after the UK voted to leave the European Union because the weakness of sterling made exports more competitive, with the gains from exports more than compensating for the loss of purchasing power by consumers due to higher inflation.

But Mr Greenwood said lingering uncertainty over what form Brexit would take meant businesses had reduced investment levels, impacting on export growth, while consumers had also reacted by reining in spending despite sterling being relatively stronger, reducing the level of economic growth.

Mr Greenwood said: "As tedious as it is, Brexit still dominates UK politics and economic sentiment.

"In combination, the weakness in real wages, delays to corporate investment plans due to continued uncertainty over the terms governing Brexit, plus slow money and lending growth mean that UK growth will likely continue to underperform both the US and the eurozone in the near term."

Jacob De Tusch Lec, who runs the £4.3bn Artemis Global Income fund, had become more cautious about the outlook for the global economy this year and said that while GDP growth was strong, many economic indicators hinted towards a slowdown.

In an update to investors he wrote: "Some monetary indicators (as for instance the flattening of the US yield curve) are indicating that higher rates and the unwinding of quantitative easing will ultimately result in growth cooling.

"And while it might be a case of ‘this time is different’, remember that economic growth in the US was fantastic in the quarters leading up to the 2000 sell-off in equity markets.

"If anything, attempting to peer through the windscreen at the road ahead offers even less clarity than usual. All of the issues that will define the future of the global economy and corporate earnings remain finely balanced.

"Will the Fed continue to [put rates up]? Can China pull itself out of its recent slowdown? Will an outright trade war erupt? Economic data is strong in the US but asset prices aren’t strong everywhere, especially in emerging markets (collapsing exchange rates and bear markets in a number of large developing economies). We are seeing a divergence between the US and the rest of the world."

The yield curve flattening and ultimately inverting, has foretold every major recession since World War II.

In a healthy economy the yield curve slopes upwards, from left to right, as investors accept a lower yield if they are being repaid relatively soon.