By FWi staff

RECOVERY of farmings fortunes will be a long, slow process, says Royal Bank of Scotland agricultural services chief Jimmy McLean.

Borrowing from banks continues to rise, with Scottish farmers owing more than 1 billion.

I estimate that we will see a 4%-6% increase in borrowing this year, Mr McLean told a briefing in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

Stephen Boyle, head of business economics with the Royal Bank, said that overall UK growth was expected to be about 2.5% a year for the next couple of years, with most occurring in the service sector.

The bank expected one further increase in interest rates before a peak of 6.25% was reached sometime over the summer.

He predicted a gradual weakening of Sterling, with a 1 buying Euro1.40 by mid-2002 compared with Euro1.57 today. n