Ruth Lea, economic advisor to the Arbuthnot Banking Group and senior fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, says 2011 holds some room for optimism but overall the near future isn't bright.
The economy probably grew by a better-than-expected 1¾% last year and it can be expected to grow by a similar magnitude this year.
Such is the momentum of recovery a double dip seems most unlikely. But there will be many risks and there are many reasons to be cautious.
Consumers' expenditure will probably flag this year. Real incomes are being squeezed by higher taxes and prices inflation running ahead of earnings inflation.
Unemployment will also bear down on consumers' spending. The impending public sector losses are estimated to be a relatively modest 40,000 in 2011/12, according to the Office of Budget Responsibility, but unemployment will surely stay around the 2½ million mark.
A stagnant housing market is also a negative. And, finally, tight credit conditions and an overhang of debt from the pre-crash years still weigh down the consumer.
Public spending, especially in Gordon Brown's early 2000s "glory days" contributed significantly to GDP growth over the past decade. This is now being reversed.
The government is expecting big dividends from investment and net exports. But I have some doubts.
Even though business investment performed well this year and the corporate sector is awash with cash, tight credit conditions for SMEs and a subdued growth outlook will surely hold investment back.
Net exports have disappointed to date, despite the pound's weakness over the past 2 years. Granted exports have grown, but imports have tended to grow faster.
I do still expect growth in 2011. The recovery will surely survive the higher taxes and the spending cuts.
Assuming this to be the case, then the Chancellor will do little by way of macroeconomic steering in this year's budget. His budget will be about "growth" and doubtless introduce measures to improve growth, although they will be modest.
And interest rates? Well, despite the poor outlook for prices inflation, it is vital to note that the higher prices are being driven by globally-determined commodity prices (at least partly).
And there will be more to come as looming shortfalls in supply, reflecting production difficulties and/or rising demand especially from the emerging economies, drive up prices. Oil prices are heading for $100pb. There is little prospect of a near-term respite.
But I expect the Bank's MPC to tread cautiously on monetary tightening unless an inflationary "wage-price spiral" starts to develop - in other words, if there are signs that inflation is becoming internally generated.
I would be very surprised if the Bank increased the Bank Rate much this year - possibly to 1.0% or 1.5% by the end of the year. I do not, however, expect further quantitative easing.
The Eurozone will continue to worry this year. The European Commission said recently that there are "increasing differences across EU countries, particularly between the core and the periphery". These differences are tearing the Eurozone apart, despite the bail-out packages.
It can surely only be a matter of time before Greece, and possibly Ireland, Portugal and Spain, leave the Eurozone, default on their debts, take the short-term pain and go for growth.
But when will this be? The answer is political rather than economic. It will depend on when the respective governments put the future prosperity of their people above their dogged adherence to the euro.
My guess is that the countries will struggle through 2011 with their economic difficulties becoming increasingly, painfully obvious.
There needs to be a permanent mechanism for transferring resources from the relatively competitive member-states to those that are less competitive.
Yet the political will is missing. As long as a commitment to fiscal integration is missing, the future of the Eurozone as currently configured looks bleak.
Turning to the US, there is rising optimism. Even though the US economic data towards the end of last year were no better than mixed, upbeat business survey results suggest improved prospects.
The Fed seems determined to encourage household and business spending with QE2, irrespective of any inflationary implications.
Growth could surprise on the upside, perhaps chalking up 3% in 2011.
Meanwhile a unified global campaign against China's cheap currency policy will continue to elude Washington, though the pragmatic Chinese will probably let the yuan appreciate this year against the dollar as part of their attack on inflation.
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