Slowly downwards: the Bank of England’s projections of the UK economy

Every quarter, the Bank of England publishes a fan chart of how, based on the credit markets, they expect the economy to evolve.

Here’s today’s:

GDP growth projections from the Bank of England

GDP growth projections from the Bank of England

Our friend Simon Rogers of the Guardian’s Data Blog sent us an email this morning with the Bank’s projections for the last few quarters, with an eye to working together on trying to make sense of the data. Unfortunately, the data’s only published as graphs – not as tables – but we weren’t going to let that stop us; we’ve traced the data back out.

When you do that, what you get back is fascinating. We’ve extracted three series from each graph; the most optimistic projection, the most pessimistic, and the recorded performance of the economy from Office of National Statistics data; those GDP projections are now available on Timetric.

They’re fascinating. The MPC plots out what it thinks the 90%-likelihood outcomes for the economy are: in other words, that they think there’s a 90% chance that the economy will perform somewhere between their most pessimistic projection and their most optimistic one.

If you compare the most pessimistic projection from February 2008 with the most optimistic one they just published…

… then it’s clear that the turn in the economy’s not only worse than the Bank of England imagined, it’s worse than they could have even conceived of.

The projections quarter-on-quarter tell a melancholy tale, too;

Every quarter, the predicted bottom gets lower and the recovery gets slower, and people get more anxious — I know I have writing this! — and spend less, slowing everything down even more.

It’s easy to blame the politicians and the economists, but now we’re here, who’d want their jobs?

Have a look at what our friends at the Guardian have written, too!

About Andrew Walkingshaw

Andrew is a cofounder of Timetric.
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