Despite bleak early forecasts, the Bank of England has announced that a V-shaped economic recovery is seeming increasingly likely. Chief economist, at the Bank of England, Andy Haldane has announced that the British economy is recovering faster than expected. However, with warnings of higher inflation and the threat of unemployment, this recovery could be jeopardised. Official figures published earlier this week showed that the British economy shrunk by 2.2% at the beginning of this year. This represents the sharpest economic downturn since the 1970s. According to those figures, the UK economy was set for the deepest recession in history. Further, with the dwindling of economic activity by 20% in April, the first month of full lockdown, a deep slump was expected. However, earlier this week, during a webinar, Haldane noted: “There is a debate about which letter of the alphabet will best describe the path of the economy, with some scepticism about the V-shaped scenario path in the Bank’s May monetary policy report. It is early days, but my reading of the evidence is so far, so V.” As the rest of the world emerges from lockdown, financial markets have witnessed one of the strongest quarters on record.
From April to June, Wall Street has displayed a dramatic turnaround, aided by emergency financial support provided by the federal government. Since the start of April, the S&P 500 index has risen by almost 20%, demonstrating the largest quarterly increase since 1998. During that same period, the FTSE 100 has resurged by almost 10%, surpassing the peak of 2010, when the market was recovering from the 2008 financial crisis. The Bank of England’s chief economist added that the economic recovery is largely down to consumer spending, which returned faster and stronger than forecasts had predicted. However, with unemployment skyrocketing, the fate of the recovery remains uncertain.