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Samuel Tombs has more than a decade of experience covering the U.K. economy for investors. At Pantheon, Samuel’s research is rigorous, free of dogma and jargon, and unafraid to challenge consensus views. His work focuses on what matters to professional investors: The links between the real economy, monetary policy and asset prices.
Samuel has an unrivalled track record of getting the big calls right. He was ranked the most accurate forecaster of the U.K. economy in Q4 2021 by Bloomberg, which compiles predictions every week from all City economists. He also had the highest average score in 2021 as a whole. In addition, Samuel was ranked the most accurate U.K. forecaster in 2020 by Refinitiv. He also topped the annual ranking of forecasters for the U.K. economy compiled by the Sunday Times in 2014 and 2018, and came joint-top in 2019. His in-depth knowledge of market-moving data and his forensic forecasting approach explain why he consistently beats the consensus.
Samuel holds an MSc in Economics from Birkbeck College, University of London and an undergraduate degree in History and Economics from the University of Oxford. Prior to joining Pantheon in 2015, he was Senior U.K. Economist at Capital Economics. In 2011, Samuel won the Society of Business Economists’ prestigious Rybczynski Prize for an article on quantitative easing in the UK. He is based in London but frequently visits our other offices.
Recent key calls include:
2021 - Forecast the MPC would not reduce Bank Rate from 0.10% in the first half of 2021, despite markets seeing this as highly likely in the early months of the year. Then correctly predicted that the MPC would not hike Bank Rate to 0.25% in November, despite investors attaching a 94% probability to this outcome on the day of the Committee's meeting.
2020 – Forewarned that the U.K. government was loosening Covid-19 restrictions too much and that further lockdowns would be needed:
– 25th Jun.: “the risk of a second wave is uncomfortably high and appears to be underpriced by equity markets.”
– 4th Aug.: “The continued gradual rise in new confirmed cases of Covid-19 lends more weight to the idea that the economy already has reopened as much as possible while containing the virus."
– 3rd Nov.: "A third lockdown would be inevitable if October's lax rules return in December”.
2019 – Forecast correctly that the MPC would not cut Bank Rate from 0.75% in 2019 or in January 2020, even though by investors at times attached a 70% probability to this outcome. Consistently argued that the U.K. government would not opt for a no-deal Brexit.
2018 – Predicted rightly that GDP growth would slow and inflation would undershoot the MPC’s expectations, prompting the Committee to shock investors by waiting until August to raise Bank Rate, rather than pressing ahead in May.
2017 – Argued that the MPC was wrong to expect CPI inflation to stay below 3% following sterling’s depreciation. He also highlighted that economic indicators pointed to the Conservatives losing their outright majority in the snap general election, against the consensus.
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