Letter: Impaired hindsight

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Sir: The gall of economic forecasters continues to appal me. Gavyn Davies, one of Norman Lamont's seven wise men, announced on Monday (26 April) that 'Clearly, we know that the economy is now recovering quite rapidly' - why could he not have forecast it before it was announced? - 'and this should be confirmed (sic]) by a rise in non-oil domestic product of about 0.8 per cent published later today.'

It is a pity he did not keep quiet for a few more hours because it was actually 0.6 per cent. That is a 25 per cent error in his same-day forecasting.

As Hamish McRae says today (28 April), one of the extraordinary features of economists is that it is very hard for them to say even with hindsight why we have recessions in the first place.

Yours faithfully,


London, SE1

28 April