Britain will emerge as the “sick man” of the world’s richest countries this year, snatching the unwanted title of being the only G7 economy to contract in 2023, according to forecasts by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The world’s economic watchdog has slashed its expectations for UK GDP again, now pencilling in a 0.6 per cent contraction in 2023, down from 0.3 per cent growth predicted in October.

The downgrade means Britain is stumbling behind its G7 peers. The IMF reckons the American, French and German economies will grow 1.4 per cent, 0.7 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively in 2023.

Raging inflation, still running above 10 per cent and more than five times the Bank of England’s two per cent target, has eroded household spending power rapidly, squeezing demand and dragging down the economy.

The Bank’s nine successive interest rate hikes to tame price rises has heaped more misery on consumers and businesses, further hobbling the economy.

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