Economic growth will gather pace in the second half of this year, making it unlikely the Bank of England will give the economy another cash injection, a leading business lobby said on Monday.
In its latest economic forecast, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) lowered its forecast for British growth this year to 0.9 percent from the 1.2 percent it predicted in November, though this was in response to an economic contraction recorded in the last three months of 2011.
Quarter-on-quarter GDP growth will accelerate from 0.2 percent in the first two quarters of this year to 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent in the last two, the CBI estimated.
With the economy on a slightly firmer footing but with inflation well under control, we do not anticipate further quantitative easing beyond that which was announced by the Bank of England (on Thursday), said Ian McCafferty, CBI's chief economic adviser, at a presentation of the CBI's forecasts.
The central bank said last week it would pump another 50 billion pounds into the economy under its quantitative easing (QE) programme, to bolster a renascent recovery and deflect any fallout from the debt crisis in the euro zone, Britain's biggest trading partner.
Consumer price inflation has fallen from a three-year peak of 5.2 percent in September to 4.2 percent in December, and policymakers have voiced confidence that it will dip below 2 percent later this year.
The CBI predicted that inflation would fall to 2.2 percent in the final three months of this year and stay close to 2 percent throughout 2013.
LIMITED FISCAL TOOLS
Contrasting with the CBI's view, a Reuters poll, conducted after the BoE announced more QE last Thursday, forecast the bank would opt for another round of QE in May.
Economists are divided over whether buying government bonds with newly created money does much to support growth and jobs.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General, told reporters QE had its trade-offs, but pointed to the central bank's own assessment that QE's effect on inflation in the past had been more than offset by the boost it gave to growth.
The CBI has never claimed that QE is a silver bullet, never been out there arguing it was the way to stimulate the economy, he said.
But it's one of a relatively limited number of tools that managers of fiscal policy and monetary policy have collectively, he added.
The British government's hands are tied by its pledge to erase the country's huge budget deficit, and therefore the onus remains on the BoE to support growth.
The CBI said that unemployment would continue rising this year, peaking at 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter from the current rate of 8.4 percent, which is already the highest since the mid-1990s.
Joblessness and muted wage growth would keep a lid on domestic consumption, with economic growth driven mainly by exports and business investment, the CBI said.
(Editing by Susan Fenton)