Economic recoveries: Britons, Poles apart

WHILE the euro zone has been slowly emerging from recession, two European countries outside the club have, so far this year, enjoyed speedy economic recoveries. The economies of Britain and Poland have both rebounded from growth dips last year, exceeding most analysts’ expectations for 2013 (see chart). As recently as last December consensus forecasts suggested that Britain would only grow 1.1% this year. That looks far too pessimistic; the British economy grew almost that much in the first six months of the year alone. Experian Economics, a consultancy, has even suggested growth could be as high as 2.1% in 2013. Poland’s rebound has also taken many international forecasters by surprise. On October 21st, the Central Statistics Office for Poland confirmed that annual growth had reached 0.8% by the end of June, in contrast to worries of persistent zero growth last year. Growth rates appear to be accelerating as well. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s forecast for Polish GDP growth, of 0.9% for 2013, now seems likely to be exceeded. Growth may reach 2.2% in 2014.Floating exchange rates have helped Britain and Poland outperform their neighbours. Britain’s terrible years between 2007 and 2009 could have been much worse if the pound had not dropped in value by 25%. British GDP fell much less than in Ireland, a country inside the euro zone with …

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