U.K.’s Osborne Takes His ‘Dangerous Cocktail’ Warning to Davos

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  • Osborne says 2016 worst market start to year in his lifetime
  • Chancellor says low oil prices helping British consumers

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U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne warned that the global economy faces a “dangerous cocktail of risks” as China’s growth slows and oil prices drop, underlining the need for countries to work together and push through economic reforms.

“My message today is one of confidence: we can meet these risks and overcome them if we stick to our plan,” Osborne said in the extracts of a speech prepared for delivery at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Friday.

George Osborne, U.K.'s Chancellor of the Exchequer, departs for the Houses of Parliament to deliver the Autumn Statement from the H.M. Treasury building in London U.K., on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. U.K. 10-year bond yields approached their lowest level this month before Osborne's Spending Review, with investors weighing the implications for gilt issuance from a possible increase in the government's cash needs. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** George Osborne

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

While oil at under $30 a barrel helps British consumers by making energy cheaper, Osborne said it has also created volatility. Combined with a weak start to the corporate earnings season and higher interest rates in the U.S., this is creating a “hazardous mix” of factors underpinning the global economy, he said.

“2016 has been the worst start to a year for the financial markets in my lifetime,” said Osborne, 44.

The International Monetary Fund this week cut its world growth outlook, predicting 3.4 percent expansion this year, down from a projected 3.6 percent in October. Oil prices at 12-year lows and slowing growth in China have spurred a wave of volatility through global financial markets in 2016.