March 2016 Scottish Economy Nowcasts

Today (29th February 2016) we release our latest series of nowcasts of the Scottish economy; these are our revised estimate of growth in 2015 Q4 and 2016 Q1 [1].

Headlines:

  • 2016 Q1 GDP growth in Scotland, at an annualised rate, is nowcast to be 1.51%, the quarterly change is nowcast to be 0.37%
  • 2015 Q4 GDP growth in Scotland, at an annualised rate, is nowcast to be 1.37%, the quarterly change is nowcast to be 0.35%

These nowcasts essentially represent no change from our earlier nowcasts for these two quarters, and confirm the point estimates previously derived. As we noted in our last post, our nowcasts for Q2 and Q3 of 2015 were more optimistic than the first official release of GDP from the Scottish Government, and with this confirmation of our last set of nowcasts showing very muted growth in 2015 Q4 and 2016 Q1, we again reassert our concern about the lack of economic growth in Scotland through the end of 2015 and start of 2016.

The concerns highlighted in our end of year review post are still central to the path of Scottish growth (principally the impact of low Oil prices and continued weak export demand). To this list, one must now note the impact of any uncertainty associated with the forthcoming referendum on UK membership of the European Union. While, as was true of the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014, it is difficult to know ex—ante what impact the referendum will have on the path of economic growth, to the extent that businesses delay investment in the UK and/or Scotland it will certainly be one of the factors relevant to any assessment of the economic performance of the Scottish economy. This general economic uncertainty is perhaps most obviously being reflected in UK consumer confidence which is now at its lowest level since the end of 2014.


For details of how the data mentioned above, and other “live” data on Scottish economic activity are used to construct our “nowcasts”, see the Methodology page.

[1] Note as explained in the methodological paper (here), we nowcast gross value added (GVA) rather than gross domestic product (GDP), because this is the regional equivalent of GDP which is produced, but we refer here to GDP for intuitive ease.

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