Britain's economy is healthier than upcoming official data is likely to suggest, but the Bank of England may face a challenge convincing the public that this is true, BoE policymaker Adam Posen said on Thursday.
The Bank said on Wednesday that first-quarter gross domestic product data due next week from the Office for National Statistics could well show the economy entering recession, due to strangely weak construction figures that will feed into it.
Posen endorsed this view, but said the underlying outlook was brighter.
There's a truth that is different from the numerical reality, he told reporters on the sidelines of a banking conference in Edinburgh.
The concern ... is people will see these numbers and react to them in negative confidence terms that we don't think are justified.
Posen surprised many economists by dropping his call for further quantitative easing this month, having been at the forefront of calls for more economic stimulus since late 2010.
Markets have now ruled out further QE next month when the current round of asset purchases ends, due to the Bank's concern that inflation is proving slow to fall.
Posen said that he had been genuinely on the fence in February and March when he voted for 350 billion pounds of QE, more than the 325 billion that all but one of his MPC colleagues had voted for.
The total amount of QE that the BoE conducted was more important than the pace of purchases, he added.
(Reporting by David Milliken)