Chancellor Jeremy Hunt says Britain's economy is "back", and that his strategy for growth has been welcomed at the International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington.

His predecessor, Kwasi Kwarteng, left the previous IMF meeting in October early, amid a barrage of criticism.

Mr Hunt said the international lending body saw he was "putting the British economy back on the right track".

Despite the chancellor's positive outlook, the latest figures show the UK economy failed to grow in February.

On Wednesday, the IMF said it expected the UK economy to shrink by 0.3% in 2023, which would make it one of the worst performing of the world's major economies.

When challenged by the BBC over whether the UK's current performance undermined his positive message, Mr Hunt said: "It's other finance ministers who are telling me Britain is back".

Economic data this week

Meanwhile, inflation is expected to have fallen back into single digits in March after a surprise jump to 10.4% the month before. The consensus among City economists is that the headline consumer prices index measure fell to 9.8% as it continues its descent from a peak above 11% last autumn.

Wednesday’s Inflation Report is likely to be the most influential set of figures feeding into the Bank of England’s decision over whether or not to raise interest rates further than their present level of 4.25% in May.

Tomorrow, the latest monthly data on UK jobs is expected to show the unemployment rate rose to 3.8% from 3.7%, while headline earnings growth is set to cool to 6.3% from 6.5% previously.

FTSE 100

The UK's top share index, the FTSE 100, was up 26-points and 7,898 shortly after opening this morning, following Friday's 28-point gain.

Brent crude futures were 0.06% lower at $86.26 a barrel.

Companies reporting today

  • Ashmore Group - Q3 AUM statement
  • Page Group - Q1 trading statement
  • Sirius Real Estate - Q4 trading statement

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