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UK Publications

13 March 2017 Signs of a Slowdown in Q1 Ease Pressure on the MPC to Hike Rates

By Samuel Tombs

The MPC's meeting on Thursday looks set to be a perfunctory affair. Signs that the economy has lost momentum this year, alongside downward surprises from CPI inflation in January and wage growth in December, mean the Committee won't give the idea of hiking rates a moment's thought.

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10 March 2017 Don't Take the Public Borrowing Forecasts at Face Value

By Samuel Tombs

Investors in the gilt market would be wise not to take the new official projections for borrowing and debt issuance at face value. The forecast for the Government's gross financing requirement between 2017/18 and 2021/22 was lowered to £625B in the Budget, from £646B in the Autumn Statement.

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9 March 2017 The Chancellor Sticks to Plans for an Intense Fiscal Tightening

By Samuel Tombs

The Chancellor lived up to his reputation for fiscal conservatism yesterday and is pressing ahead with a tough fiscal tightening. He hopes that this will create scope to loosen policy if the economy struggles after the U.K. leaves the EU in 2019, but we remain concerned his "fiscal headroom" will be much smaller than he currently anticipates.

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8 March 2017 Rising Interest Payments may Slash the Chancellor's Rainy Day Fund

By Samuel Tombs

The Chancellor's Budget today looks set to prioritise retaining scope to loosen policy if the economy struggles in future, rather than reducing the near-term fiscal tightening. In November, the OBR predicted that cyclically-adjusted borrowing would fall to 0.8% of GDP in 2019/20, comfortably below the 2% limit stipulated by the Chancellor's new fiscal rules.

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7 March 2017 The Chancellor Isn't Bluffing, This Will Be a Thrifty Budget

By Samuel Tombs

If the Chancellor is true to his word, Wednesday's Budget will be a pedestrian affair with few major policy changes designed to prevent the economy from slowing this year. In an article in The Sunday Times, Philip Hammond asserted that "we cannot take our foot off the pedal" in the mission to eliminate the budget deficit by the end of the next parliament.

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6 March 2017 Can Gilt Yields Remain Low While the World Reflates?

By Samuel Tombs

If 2017 really is the year of "reflation", somebody forgot to tell the gilt market. Among the G7 group, 10-year yields have fallen only in the U.K. during the last three months, as our first chart shows.

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3 March 2017 Will the Chancellor Change the MPC's Inflation Target?

By Samuel Tombs

The CPIH--the controversial, modified version of the existing CPI that includes a measure of owner occupied housing, or OOH, costs--will become the headline measure of consumer price inflation when February's data are published on March 21.

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2 March 2017 Money and Credit Data Continue to Sound the Alarm

By Samuel Tombs

January's money and credit data provided another warning sign that the economy has started 2017 on a weak footing. For a start, the three-month annualised growth rate of M4, excluding intermediate other financial corporations--the Bank's preferred measure of the broad money supply-- declined to 1.8% in January, from 3.1% in December.

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1 March 2017 The Chancellor will Bank Most of the £20B Borrowing Windfall

By Samuel Tombs

At next Wednesday's Budget, the Chancellor will have the rare pleasure of announcing lower-than- anticipated near-term borrowing forecasts. But hopes that he will prevent the fiscal tightening from intensifying when the new financial year begins in April look set to be dashed, just as they were at the Autumn Statement in November.

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28 February 2017 Should the ESI's Upbeat Growth Signal be Trusted?

By Samuel Tombs

The E.C.'s Economic Sentiment Indicator for the U.K., released yesterday, painted an upbeat picture of the economy's recent performance. The ESI picked up to 109.4 in February from 107.1 in January; its average level since 1990 is 100. February's reading was the highest since December 2015, and it slightly exceeded the E.U.'s average of 108.9.

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