NI economic conference warned on growth by PwC economic adviser
Major changes happening in global economy, says Andrew Sentance
Minister of Finance Simon Hamilton: “encouraging signs”.
The pre-crash world of easy money, cheap imports and excessive confidence in policymakers has disappeared to be replaced by a “new normal”, one of the UK’s leading business economists has warned in Belfast.
Andrew Sentance, senior economic adviser with PwC, said in light of the “new normal” – where no economy in the western world has performed particularly well – certain countries should “adjust their expectations down”.
Mr Sentance, one of the keynote speakers at the annual Northern Ireland Economic Conference, said disappointing western growth was likely to continue while financial volatility persists.
While upbeat about the UK economy which he said was “not doing too badly relative to other economies”, he also highlighted that a “prolonged structural readjustment” was underway in the global economy.
Latest figures from the UK Office for National Statistics showed the UK had grown faster than previously thought – by 0.7 per cent in the three months to June.
PwC has predicted that overall UK growth should be in the region of 1.3 per cent this year although Northern Ireland will, it believes, do well to grow at 0.5 per cent. Mr Sentance told business leaders at Titanic Belfast that they are likely to see a very different set of growth drivers come into play when a clearer and more sustained growth dynamic emerges.
He said the new challenge for business leaders, policymakers and investors was to come up with “strategies” to manage and survive through current disappointing growth “while building potential opportunities for the future”.
He believes Northern Ireland needs to focus on its core strengths and use these as a lever for growth.
According to the North’s Minister for Finance and Personnel, Simon Hamilton, there are “encouraging signs” that Northern Ireland is emerging from the prolonged recession.