Barclays CEO Sees Strongest U.K. Growth Since at Least 1948

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Barclays Plc expects the strongest U.K. economic growth in over seven decades this year, according to Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley.

The 6.5% expansion will be fueled by “tremendous” pent-up demand from consumers and small businesses as vaccinations boost confidence following the pandemic, he told a conference call for media Friday. Spending data in the first two weeks of April were “very encouraging” and he anticipates the recovery will continue through 2022.

“We’re projecting now economic growth in the U.K. north of 6%,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “It should be the strongest year of economic growth in the U.K. since 1948. The wave we are riding, which other banks are riding as well, is real.”

Barclays CEO Sees Strongest U.K. Growth Since at Least 1948

The recovery, however, comes off a depressed base after the U.K. experienced its deepest slump in three centuries last year. With output likely contracting again last quarter as the country went back into lockdown to stem the spread of Covid-19, GDP is unlikely to return to its pre-pandemic levels until next year.

Recent data show momentum picking up strongly, and Barclays is not alone in its positive outlook. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg this month is for a 5.4% rebound. Lloyds Banking Group Plc on Friday also upgraded its outlook for the U.K., where well over 60% of the adult population has received a first dose of a vaccine. It now expects growth of 5% this year.

Modern records began in 1948, but if Barclays is correct the economy could be set for its fastest growth since 1941, when the war effort saw GDP surge by almost 9%. That’s according to long-run estimates published by the Bank of England.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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