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IMF warns that UK faces 'sobering' economic outlook

The IMF logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington

By David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund says Britain faces a "sobering" economic outlook for 2023, according to a brief statement published by the British parliament's Treasury Select Committee on Thursday.

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva welcomed in November the fiscal plans set out by finance minister Jeremy Hunt, after the international body previously expressed concern about the approach of his predecessor, Kwasi Kwarteng.

The remarks released on Thursday were similar to those Georgieva had made in November.

"The announced fiscal plan navigates well the difficult tradeoff between fighting inflation and protecting household incomes in a recession primarily caused by the exogenous energy price shock," the IMF said in a statement released by the House of Commons' treasury committee.

"The outlook for the UK economy is sobering: for 2023, output is expected to contract and inflation to remain elevated," the IMF added.

However, treasury committee chair Harriett Baldwin said she was unhappy that senior IMF officials had so far declined her committee's invitation to testify before her.

"I'm concerned that the IMF is in an untenable position, offering commentary to journalists but not being prepared to follow up with appearances before elected politicians," the Conservative lawmaker said.

(Reporting by David Milliken; editing by William James)