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13 October. 2016 The Chancellor Won't Set Fiscal Policy to Boost Growth Next Year (Publication Centre)

Many commentators have assumed that the new Chancellor's pledge to "reset" fiscal policy and to stop targeting a budget surplus in this parliament means that fiscal policy will support growth in economic activity next year.

21 Jan. 2016 Could the Chancellor Still Reduce Borrowing This Year as Planned? (Publication Centre)

By any yardstick, progress in reducing public sector borrowing so far this fiscal year has been poor. While the borrowing trend should improve in the final four months of this year--including December's figures, published Friday--the Chancellor has only a slim chance of meeting the forecasts set out in the Autumn Statement.

14 March 2018 The Chancellor Remains Boxed-in by Deficit Pledges and a Downbeat OBR (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor kept his word and made only trivial policy changes in the Spring Statement, but he hinted at higher spending plans in the Autumn Budget.

20 Nov. 2015 Will the OBR's New Forecasts Make the Chancellor Cut Deeper? (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor must feel a sense of foreboding before his pre-Autumn Statement meetings with the Office for Budget Responsibility. Even minor revisions to the independent body's economic forecasts could shred into tatters his plans for a budget surplus by the end of the parliament, given the lack of wiggle room in the July Budget borrowing projections. The OBR won't present the Chancellor with disastrous news ahead of next Wednesday's Autumn Statement, but the already slim margin for error he has in meeting his surplus goal likely will be reduced.

20 November 2017 The Chancellor Will Stick to Plans for an Intensifying Fiscal Squeeze (Publication Centre)

Chancellor Hammond likely will broadly stick to the current plans for the fiscal consolidation to intensify next year when he delivers his second Budget on Thursday.

23 Nov. 2015 If the Chancellor Wants A Budget Surplus, Taxes Will Have to Rise (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor claims he can eliminate public borrowing without raising taxes. But the latest borrowing overshoot and the continual optimistic bias of the OBR's forecasts cast doubt on whether his approach will be sufficient to meet his self-imposed surplus target.

29 Oct. 2015 Will the Chancellor Ease Next Year's Fiscal Squeeze? (Publication Centre)

The defeat in the House of Lords of the Government's plans to cut spending on tax credits by £4.4B next year is not a barrier to their implementation. But it has prompted speculation that the Chancellor will reduce the size of the fiscal consolidation planned for next year. The plans may be tweaked in the Autumn Statement on 25 November, but we think the economy will still endure a major fiscal tightening next year.

18 Feb. 2016 Has the Chancellor's Room for Manoeuvre Disappeared? (Publication Centre)

The stubbornly slow rate of decline of public borrowing casts doubt on whether the Chancellor will run a budget surplus before the end of this parliament, as his fiscal rule stipulates. But downward revisions to debt interest forecasts by the Office for Budget Responsibility are likely to absolve him again from intensifying the impending fiscal squeeze in the Budget on March 16.

26 Nov. 2015 The Chancellor Leaves the Fiscal Shackles Firmly in Place (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor used the Autumn Statement to shift the composition of the fiscal consolidation slightly away from spending cuts and towards tax hikes. But in overall macroeconomic terms, he changed little. The fiscal stance is still set to be extremely tight in 2016 and 2017, ensuring that the economic recovery will lose more momentum.

25 May. The Chancellor is Still Headed for a Mid-Parliament Fiscal Crunch (Publication Centre)

April's public finances show that borrowing still is falling more slowly than the Chancellor had envisaged. This casts further doubt over whether he will be able to keep his pledge to run a budget surplus before the end of this parliament in 2020.

3 March 2017 Will the Chancellor Change the MPC's Inflation Target? (Publication Centre)

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.

22 Apr. Progress Towards a Budget Surplus Will Remain Slow (Publication Centre)

The trend in public borrowing has improved significantly over recent months, but it is far too soon to conclude that the Chancellor is on track to meet his goal of running a budget surplus by the end of this decade. The recent economic slowdown has not impacted the public borrowing numbers, yet.

23 January 2017 Threats to Make Britain a Corporate Tax Haven Lack Credibility (Publication Centre)

Both the Prime Minister and Chancellor last week threatened to cut business taxes aggressively to persuade multinationals to remain in Britain in the event of hard Brexit. But these threats lack credibility, given the likely lingering weakness of the public finances by the time of the U.K.'s departure from the EU and the scale of demographic pressures set to weigh on public spending over the next decade.

23 May 2018 The Fiscal Squeeze can be Paused Soon, Unshackling the Economy (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's public finance figures brought more good news for the Chancellor.

22 November. 2016 Sweeteners for the 'JAMs' Will Be Spread Thinly on Wednesday (Publication Centre)

In recent public appearances, the Chancellor has made a concerted effort to downplay expectations of fiscal loosening in Wednesday's Autumn statement. On Sunday, he labelled the deficit "eye-wateringly" large and he warned that he was "highly constrained".

22 June. Fiscal and Monetary Policy Won't Come to the Rescue After a Brexit (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor warned last week that he would hold an Emergency Budget shortly after a vote to leave the E.U. to address a £30B black hole in the public finances. The £30B--some 1.6% of GDP-- is the mid-point of the Institute for Fiscal Studies' estimates of the impact of Brexit on public borrowing in 2019/20, which were based on the GDP forecasts of a range of reports.

22 December 2017 The Public Finances are on Track This Year, but New Challenges Loom (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor can go on his Christmas vacation content that the public finances have weathered the economy's slowdown relatively well this year.

25 November. 2016 Don't Bank on Hammond Being Able to Use His Fiscal Headroom (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor hinted in the Autumn Statement that the fiscal consolidation might not be as severe as it appears on paper because he has built in some "fiscal headroom". By that, Mr. Hammond means that he could borrow more and still adhere to his new, self-imposed rules.

17 Mar. Fiscal Squeeze Still Set to Intensify, Despite the Economic Slowdown (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor chose in his Budget to increase the total size of the forthcoming fiscal consolidation, to ensure that the Office for Budget Responsibility continues to forecast that a budget surplus will be obtained in 2019/20.

21 February 2017 Fiscal Policy Won't Be Eased, Even If January's Surplus is Huge (Publication Centre)

January's public finance data, released today, take on particular importance because they are the last to be published before the Chancellor delivers his first Budget on March 8. The public finances nearly always swing into surplus in January, primarily because the deadline for individuals to submit self-assessment--SA--tax returns for the previous fiscal year is at the end of the month. Firms also pay their third of four payments of corporation tax for their profits in the current fiscal year.

14 November. 2016 Britain Will Not Lead the Way With Fiscal Stimulus (Publication Centre)

Expectations are running high that the Autumn Statement on November 23 will mark the beginning of a more active role for fiscal policy in stimulating the economy. The MPC's abandonment of its former easing bias earlier this month has put the stimulus ball firmly in the new Chancellor's court.

9 March 2017 The Chancellor Sticks to Plans for an Intense Fiscal Tightening (Publication Centre)

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.

8 March 2017 Rising Interest Payments may Slash the Chancellor's Rainy Day Fund (Publication Centre)

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.

23 November 2017 The Chancellor Softens the Fiscal Squeeze and Hopes for the Best (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor was bolder than widely expected yesterday and scaled back the fiscal consolidation planned for the next two years significantly, even though his borrowing forecast was boosted by the OBR's gloomier prognosis for the economy.

1 March 2017 The Chancellor will Bank Most of the £20B Borrowing Windfall (Publication Centre)

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.

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

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.

07 Mar. 2016 Will the Chancellor's Rules Compel Him to Announce More Austerity? (Publication Centre)

The Budget on March 16 is set to mark the end of Chancellor George Osborne's lucky streak. Without corrective action, his self-imposed debt rule-- one of the two specified in the 'legally-binding' Charter for Budget Responsibility--looks set to be breached.

22 September 2017 Angela Merkel will stay as Chancellor, but building a coalition will be tricky (Publication Centre)

Germans head to the polls on Sunday to elect representatives for the national parliament. The media has tried to keep investors on alert for a surprise, but polls indicate clearly that Angela Merkel will continue as Chancellor.

25 Nov. 2015 Privatisations Conceal Underlying Health of Public Finances (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor is likely to announce plans for additional public sector asset sales in today's Autumn Statement, to help arrest the unanticipated rise in the debt-to-GDP ratio this year. But privatisations rarely improve the underlying health of the public finances, partly because assets seldom are sold for their full value. And the Chancellor is running out of viable assets to privatise; the low-hanging, juiciest fruits have already been plucked.

22 Mar. Housing Market Revival Reflects More than Stamp Duty Increase (Publication Centre)

The recent revival in housing market activity reflects more than just a temporary boost provided by imminent tax changes. The current momentum in market activity and lending likely will fade later this year, but we think this will have more to do with looming interest rate rises than a lull in activity caused by a shift in the timing of home purchases.

2 January 2018 The Economy Won't Spring Back to Life in 2018 (Publication Centre)

The economy slowed less than we expected in 2017.

22 Feb. 2016 Can Extremely Low Gilt Yields Be Sustained? (Publication Centre)

Gilt yields slid to record lows at many maturities in mid-February, and while equity prices have since rebounded, gilt yields have remained anchored at rock-bottom levels. But with political risks rising and deficit reduction still very slow, gilt yields look primed to spring back soon.

20 December 2017 Don't Lose Sleep Over the Possibility of a Corbyn Government (Publication Centre)

The possibility of a Corbyn-led Labour Government has been highlighted by some analysts as a major economic risk. Mr. Corbyn, however, has little practical chance of being elected soon.

21 November 2017 Cutting Stamp Duty for FTBs Will Boost Prices, not Home Ownership (Publication Centre)

Reforms to Stamp Duty Land Tax paid by first-time buyers likely will take centre stage in the Budget. At the Conservatives' party conference, Theresa May pledged another £10B to expand the Help to Buy Scheme, which helps first-time buyers obtain a mortgage which just a 5% deposit.

20 October 2017 September's Retail Sales Slump Highlights Consumers' Caution (Publication Centre)

Retail sales fell sharply in September, highlighting that consumers still are spending only cautiously amid high economic uncertainty and falling real wages.

22 November 2017 "Spreadsheet Phil" Unlikely to Alter Austerity Formula (Publication Centre)

Public sector borrowing still is on course to greatly undershoot the March Budget forecasts this year, despite October's poor figures.

21 November. 2016 How Vulnerable are the Public Finances to Rising Gilt Yields? (Publication Centre)

Gilt yields have shot up over the last couple of months, despite ongoing bond purchases authorised by the MPC in August. Ten-year yields closed last week at 1.47%, in line with the average in the first half of 2016.

23 May 2017 Has the Outlook for Business Investment Brightened? (Publication Centre)

The recent deceleration in households' real spending means that either business investment or net exports will have to pickup if the economy is to avoid a severe slowdown this year.

30 April 2018 The Q1 Slowdown Wasn't Just Weather-related (Publication Centre)

Last week's preliminary estimate of Q1 GDP has extinguished any lingering chance that the MPC might raise interest rates at its next meeting on May 10.

29 January 2018 Strong Q4 GDP Requires us to Tweak, not Overhaul, Our Rate Call (Publication Centre)

The preliminary estimate of Q4 GDP was unambiguously strong and has forced us to modify our view of the likely timing of the next interest rate increase.

30 May 2018 Does Italy's Crisis Really Mean Slower U.K. Rate Hikes? (Publication Centre)

Investors have concluded that Italy's political crisis will compel the U.K. MPC to increase interest rates even more gradually than they thought previously.

4 August 2017 Little from the MPC to Support Markets' Steep Near-Term Rate Path (Publication Centre)

Markets still see a near-40% chance of the MPC raising Bank Rate by the end of this year--the same as at the start of this week--despite the notable absence of comments from the Committee yesterday aimed at preparing the ground for a near term hike.

8 February 2018 Housing Market Wobble Highlights that the MPC Can't Hike Quickly (Publication Centre)

Markets expect the MPC to shelve November's guidance--that interest rates need to rise only twice in the next three years--at today's meeting.

28 November 2017 Stress Test Results to Underline Banks' Improved Health (Publication Centre)

The resilience of the banking system will be in focus today when the results of this year's Bank of England stress test are published alongside its Financial Stability Report.

28 June 2017 Inflation Forecast Revisions in August won't Force the MPC's Hand (Publication Centre)

The minutes of the MPC's meeting in June indicated that several members' patience for tolerating for above-target inflation is wearing thin.

24 January 2018 Low Public Borrowing Reflects One-Offs, not a Reviving Economy (Publication Centre)

The main measure of public borrowing--PSNB excluding public sector banks--came in at £2.6B in December, well below the £5.1B in December 2016 and lower than in any other December since 2000.

19 January 2018 December Retail Sales Likely Reversed Most of November's Gain (Publication Centre)

December's retail sales figures, released today, likely will show that the surge in spending in November was driven merely by people undertaking Christmas shopping earlier than in past years, due to Black Friday.

24 May 2017 Weak Tax Receipts Cast Doubt on Business Surveys' Optimism (Publication Centre)

April's public finances indicate that the economy has remained weak in Q2, casting doubt on the suggestion from recent business surveys that the slowdown in Q1 was just a blip.

25 April 2018 Low Public Borrowing is Not a Sign the Economy is Reviving (Publication Centre)

Public borrowing has continued to fall more rapidly than anticipated in the latest official plans.

27 November 2017 The Outlook for Consumers' Spending is Deteriorating (Publication Centre)

Developments over the last month have heightened our concern about the near-term outlook for households' spending.

23 August 2017 Fiscal Restraint, not a Surging Economy, Drove July's Surplus (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's public finance figures showed that the public sector, excluding public sector banks, ran a surplus of £0.2B in July, a modest improvement on borrowing of £0.4B a year ago.

10 March 2017 Don't Take the Public Borrowing Forecasts at Face Value (Publication Centre)

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.

19 December 2017 House Prices Look Set Merely to Flatline in 2018 (Publication Centre)

House prices are on course to rise only by around 2% this year, the smallest increase for five years.

11 December 2017 Will Fiscal and Brexit News Prompt More Rate Hike Talk from the MPC? (Publication Centre)

The MPC was a little irked by the markets' reaction to its November meeting.

12 January 2018 Gilt Yields Will Climb this Year, Despite the Weak Economy (Publication Centre)

Investors likely will be caught out by the extent to which gilt yields rise this year. Forward rates imply that the 10-year spot rate will rise by a mere 20bp to just 1.45% by the end of 2018. By contrast, we see scope for 10-year yields to climb to 1.60% by the end of this year.

15 December 2017 The Hawks Will Squawk Again Soon, but the Next Rate Hike is Still Distant (Publication Centre)

The MPC chose not to rock the boat yesterday, deferring any reappraisal of the economic outlook until its next meeting in early February.

13 March 2018 Has the Brexit Risk Premium Disappeared? (Publication Centre)

Evidence that U.K. asset prices still are depressed by Brexit risk has become harder to find.

14 Mar. Will the MPC Mull an Interest Rate Cut this Week? (Publication Centre)

This week's key market event likely will be the Monetary Policy Committee's meeting on Thursday, rather than the Budget on Wednesday, which probably will see the Chancellor stick to his previous tough fiscal plans.

12 May 2017 Will Mr. Macron Unleash Animal Spirits in Eurozone Equities? (Publication Centre)

Emmanuel Macron's victory in France has lifted investors' hopes that the good times in the Eurozone economy and equity markets are here to stay. On the face of it, we share markets' optimism. Mr. Macron and his opposite number in Germany--our base case is that Ms. Merkel will remain Chancellor--will form a strong pro-EU axis in the core of the Eurozone.

22 September 2017 Don't Expect a Giveaway Budget, Despite low Borrowing this year (Publication Centre)

Public borrowing was below consensus expectations in August, fuelling speculation that the Chancellor might pare back the remaining fiscal tightening in the Autumn Budget on November 22.

21 Oct. 2015 Recovery Won't Shrug Off The Fiscal Squeeze (Publication Centre)

The conventional wisdom that the U.K. economy will comfortably weather the coming fiscal squeeze is misplaced. The planned adjustment is large, designed to minimise its political, not economic, impact, and based on overly optimistic assumptions. What's more, the economy is in many respects less well-placed to cope with the tightening than when the previous government applied the fiscal brakes. And when the recovery slows, the Chancellor is less likely to change tack and ease the squeeze this time.

21 May. 2015 Greece Needs EU Bailout Funds to Pay the IMF Next Month (Publication Centre)

The day of reckoning in Greece has been continuously postponed in the past three months, but government officials told national TV yesterday that the country cannot meet its IMF payment of €300M June 5th, without a deal with the EU. The urgency was echoed by the joint statement earlier this week by German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande that Greece has until the end of this month to reach a deal.

11 Mar. 2016 Don't Hold Your Breath for a Budget Surplus (Publication Centre)

Chancellor George Osborne has invested considerable personal capital in attaining a budget surplus by the end of this parliament, and he has passed a 'law' to ensure he and his successors achieve this goal. But the current fiscal plans, which will be reviewed in the Budget on March 16, make a series of optimistic assumptions on future tax revenues and spending savings.

18 Mar. Don't Believe Reports that the Fiscal Squeeze Has Been Eased (Publication Centre)

Media reports allege that the Chancellor's Budget pared back the fiscal squeeze planned for the next couple of years. The Director of the Office for Budget Responsibility, Robert Chote, even compared the Chancellor to Saint Augustine, who supposedly said "make me pure, but not yet."

15 Mar. Will gilts treat higher borrowing forecasts nonchalantly again? (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor has prepared the public and the markets for a ratcheting-up of the already severe austerity plans in the Budget on Wednesday. George Osborne warned on Sunday that he would announce "...additional savings, equivalent to 50p in every £100 the government spends by the end of the decade", raising an extra £4B a year.

24 November. 2016 The Fiscal Fetters Remain in Place, Despite the Looming Slowdown (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor's Autumn Statement dashed hopes that the fiscal consolidation will be paused while the economy struggles to adjust to the implications of Brexit. Admittedly, Mr. Hammond has another opportunity in the Spring Budget to reduce next year's fiscal tightening.

28 June. 2016 Will Higher Inflation Keep Further Monetary Easing at Bay? (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor indicated yesterday that the current fiscal plans--which set out a 1% of GDP reduction in the structural budget deficit this year--will remain in place until a new Prime Minister is chosen by September 2. So for now, the burden of leaning against the imminent downturn is on the MPC's shoulders.

08 Feb. 2016 Complacency Rife About Boost to Prices From National Living Wage (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor announced to great fanfare last July that a new National Living Wage-- NLW--would be introduced in April 2016 at 7.5% above the existing legal minimum for most workers. Companies can and will take a variety of actions to mitigate the impact on their costs.

30 June. 2016 Political Vacuum in the U.K. Prompts the EU to Up the Pressure (Publication Centre)

Leaders of the major Eurozone economies were in no mood to give concessions as they met with outgoing U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron this week for the first time since the referendum. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she sees "no way back from the Brexit vote." This followed comments that the U.K. couldn't be expected to "cherry-pick" the EU rules that it would like to follow after a new deal.

23 November. 2016 Don't Expect a Fiscal U-Turn Today, Despite October's Better Figures (Publication Centre)

October's public finance data provided very little relief for the Chancellor ahead of today's Autumn Statement. One month of good borrowing figures do little to compensate for the poor trend in the first half of the fiscal year.

08 Jan. 2016 Sterling, Not EM Weakness, Will Hold Exports Back (Publication Centre)

The Chancellor argued in a speech on Thursday that the U.K.'s economic recovery is threatened by a "dangerous cocktail" of overseas risks, including slowing growth in the BRICs--Brazil, Russia, India, and China--and escalating tensions in the Middle East. Exports are set to struggle this year, but the strong pound, not weakness in emerging markets, will be the main drag.

24 Mar. 2015 Risks are Rising Rapidly in Greece, but Grexit Will Likely be Avoided (Publication Centre)

In a letter earlier this month, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras warned German chancellor Angela Merkel that failure to disburse additional bailout funds would lead to an imminent cash crunch. Last week's meeting with EU leaders and the ECB yielded no progress, intensifying the risk that Greece will literally run out of money within weeks.

25 January 2017 The Fiscal Plans Won't Be Softened, Despite December's Better Figures (Publication Centre)

December's public finance figures suggest that borrowing is on track to come in a bit below the forecasts set out in the Autumn Statement in November. But we caution against expecting the Chancellor to unveil a material reduction in the scale of the fiscal consolidation set to hit the economy in his Budget on 8th March.

05 October. 2016 Construction Still Set to Struggle, Despite the Looser Fiscal Stance (Publication Centre)

Promises of new money to facilitate construction on public sector land from the Chancellor and the pick-up in the construction PMI have fostered optimism that the sector's downturn is over.

THE GUARDIAN - Shock UK deficit figures dent George Osborne's economic plan (Media Centre)

Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on the U.K Deficit

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