Always winter but never Christmas?

by Kathryn Bamber, Astute Wealth Management

Over Christmas, most of us will take time to be with our families and perhaps read or watch some TV.

One of my favourite books when I was growing up was “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” from The Chronicles of Narnia series by CS Lewis. In this story, the land of Narnia was condemned by the witch to eternal winter without Christmas (a very grim prospect indeed) until it was saved by Aslan the lion.

For most of us, the days of recession seem to have been with us for a very long time and for many it has felt almost as if we have been experiencing winter without the joy of Christmas for years.

Yet in recent days, we are seeing more and more signs that recovery is on the way.

The British Chamber of Commerce have upgraded their growth forecast for the UK’s GDP (gross domestic product) to 2.2% for 2014, which may not seem staggering, until it is compared with their original forecast for 2013 of 0.9%.

This is slightly less than the 2.4% which Chancellor predicted in his autumn statement, and rather more than the IMF are predicting at 1.9% but as is usually the way, the truth is likely to be somewhere in the middle, so the figures from the Chamber are likely to be fairly accurate.

However, significantly, the growth forecast for the rest of Europe is just 1% and even Germany, which is widely regarded as the economic powerhouse of the EU, only has growth of 1.4% forecast, so we are a long way ahead of our neighbours.

But before you sit back with a mince pie and a comfortable glow, remember that our European neighbours are the main customers for our exports, so we do need them to have not just the money but the desire to spend it on what we have to sell. However in the middle of our economic winter, we can finally feel that the snows are melting at last and that Christmas is on its way, and with that we wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a happy new year.

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