Economic Commentary [September 2018]

Fraser of Allander Institute, Grant Allan, James Black, David Eiser, Kevin Kane, Adam McGeoch, Stuart McIntyre, Anna Murray, Graeme Roy (Editor), Mairi Spowage

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After a sustained period of weak growth and despite ongoing political uncertainty, the Scottish economy has been showing some signs of strengthening. This trend has continued over the summer. As we discussed in our last commentary, in recent months we have seen evidence of a short-term pick-up in the rate of economic growth in Scotland. Growth over the year to June 2018 – whilst still below average – was the fastest since late 2014/ early 2015 and the Scottish economy has outpaced the UK for the last two quarters. While we remain cautiously optimistic, growth is likely to remain below trend for the duration of our forecast horizon. And overall, the immediate outlook for Scotland’s economy remains highly uncertain. On the one hand, wages across the UK have started to pick-up, whilst the global economy remains in strong health which should boost Scottish exports. Tourism numbers continue to go from strength to strength. And the majority of measures of business confidence we track have been on the rise, albeit from very low levels. On the other hand, despite being less than six months from the UK leaving the EU, the lack of clarity on the UK’s future relationship with its largest external market continues to cast a shadow over the outlook. As a result, whilst we are forecasting – in our base case – growth of 1.3% this year and 1.4% in 2019 and 2020, we would stress the heightened degree of uncertainty around such point estimates at the current time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalFraser of Allander Economic Commentary
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2018


  • labour market trends
  • Scotland
  • Scottish economics
  • economic forecasting


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