Six key threats to economic growth in 2015

The outlook for the events industry, and the UK economy as a whole, may not be as rosy as key forecasts suggest, according to Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, speaking at the MPI Insights event at Ironmongers Hall
Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, speaking at the MPI Insights event at Ironmongers Hall

Speaking at the MPI Insights event at London's Ironmongers Hall yesterday, Williamson said that all the key economic forecasts are positive, with the Bank of England predicting 2.9% growth to the economy in 2015.

"Wages are finally higher than inflation, unemployment is at its lowest level since 2008, businesses are investing and wages are expected to rise, which should help drive consumer spending, so the outlook is fairly optimistic," he said. 

However, he pointed out that rates of growth in many of the key industry sectors slowed towards the end of 2014, and there are a number of threats that could result in economic forecasts and in turn marketing and event budgets being downgraded.

The six key threats he outlined are:

• Eurozone crisis – continues to create uncertainty

• Geopolitical risk – particularly the situation in Russia

• UK general election looming – this always creates uncertainty in the economy

• Weak wage growth – the economic recovery has yet to generate wage growth, which could mean that consumers fail to help bolster economic growth

• US rates rise – the US has been leading the global upturn, and if US dollar rates rise this could have an impact on the financing of BRIC countries, which may lead to another economic crisis

• Wage upturn drives rates rise – if wages do start to finally pick up, this could drive a rise in interest rates

On the upside, however, he said these threats may not materialise, plus the full impact of falling global oil prices has yet to be realised on other markets.

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