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5 April 2017 The Construction Sector Will Continue to Tread Water (My Publications)

Evidence that the U.K. economy has slowed significantly this year is starting to come in thick and fast. Following the Markit/CIPS manufacturing PMI on Monday --which signalled that growth in production declined in March to its lowest rate since July--the construction PMI dropped to 52.2 in March, from 52.5 in February.

4 Dec. 2015 How Reliable is the Composite PMI as an Indicator of GDP Growth? (My Publications)

A further rise in the business activity index of the November Markit/CIPS report on services offset declines in the manufacturing and construction surveys' key balances. The composite PMI--a weighted average of three survey's activity indices -- therefore rose, to a level consistent with quarter-on-quarter GDP growth strengthening to 0.6% in the fourth quarter, from 0.5% in Q3. Nonetheless, we do not think this is a convincing signal that the economic recovery is regaining strength.

4 April 2017 Sterling's Depreciation is a Mixed Blessing for Manufacturers (My Publications)

The latest Markit/CIPS manufacturing survey has dashed hopes that sterling's depreciation and the pickup in global trade will facilitate strong growth in U.K. production this year. The PMI dropped to 54.2 in March, from 54.6 in February.

5 September 2017 Services PMI set to Show Economy Still Struggling in Q3 (My Publications)

August's Markit/CIPS services survey, released today, likely will show that the economy's biggest sector is continuing to slow. We think that the PMI fell to just 53.0--its lowest level since it plunged immediately after the Brexit vote--from 53.8 in July, below the consensus, 53.5.

6 April 2017 GDP Growth Likely Slowed in Q1, Despite The Rising Services PMI (My Publications)

The rise in Markit/CIPS services PMI to 55.0 in March, from 53.3 in February, brings some relief that GDP growth has not stalled in Q1, following manufacturing and construction surveys that signalled near-stagnation.

02 Mar. 2016 The Manufacturing PMI Shows that the U.K.'s Slowdown is Homegrown (My Publications)

Further compelling signs that the U.K. has lost its status as one of the fastest growing advanced economies were presented by the Markit/CIPS manufacturing survey, released yesterday. The PMI fell in February to 50.8--its lowest level since April 2013--from 52.9 in January.

6 January 2017 Are Markets Complacent About the Chances of a 2017 Rate Hike? (My Publications)

Investors have treated the upbeat message of the Markit/CIPS PMIs this week with caution and continue to think that the chance that the MPC will raise interest rates this year is remote. Overnight index swap rates currently are pricing-in just a one-in-four chance of a 25 basis point increase in Bank Rate in 2017.

3 Nov. 2015 Manufacturing Unlikely to be Past the Worst (My Publications)

The sharp and unexpected improvement in the Markit/CIPS manufacturing survey in October released on Monday raised hopes that the recession in the industrial sector might be over. A cool look at the evidence, however, suggests that this probably is just wishful thinking.

5 Nov. 2015 More MPC Hawks Likely to Emerge Today, Despite Services Slowdown (My Publications)

The improvement in the Markit/CIPS services PMI in October was pretty limp, supporting our view here that the recovery is shifting into a lower gear. What's more, the poor productivity performance implied by the latest PMIs indicates that wage growth will fuel inflation soon. As a result, the Monetary Policy Committee--MPC--won't be able to wait long next year before raising interest rates. Indeed, we expect the minutes of this month's meeting, released today, to show that one more member of the nine-person MPC has joined Ian McCafferty in voting to hike rates.

3 May 2017 April's Higher Manufacturing PMI Won't Be Sustained (My Publications)

The Markit/CIPS manufacturing PMI shot up to a three-year high of 57.3 in April, from 54.2 in March, bringing an end to the run of downbeat news on the economy. The performance of the U.K. manufacturing sector, however, remains underwhelming, given the magnitude of sterling's depreciation.

06 October. 2016 Steady Growth in the Services Sector Undermines Rate Cut Case (My Publications)

September's Markit/CIPS services survey added to the evidence indicating that GDP growth softened, rather than fell off a cliff, in the third quarter. The activity index edged down only to 52.6, from 52.9 in August.

1 September. 2016 The Case for a Bounce-Back in the PMIs is Unconvincing (My Publications)

The Markit/CIPS PMIs for August, slated for release over the next three business days, will be closely watched. They have provided the most resounding indication, so far, that Britain is heading for a recession. In July, the composite PMI--comprised of the manufacturing and services indices--fell to 47.5, from 52.4 in June, its biggest month-to-month fall since records began in 1998.

2 November. 2016 Producer Price Rises Will Bear Down on Domestic Demand (My Publications)

October's Markit/CIPS manufacturing survey indicates that producers are not shying away from passing on to their customers the higher costs stemming from sterling's depreciation.

29 September 2016 What to Look Out for During Friday's Data Deluge (My Publications)

The estimate of services output for the first month of the current quarter usually gets lost among the deluge of national accounts and balance of payments data released for the previous quarter.

4 August. 2016 The PMIs Highlight the MPC's Policy Dilemma (My Publications)

The final July PMIs indicate that the post-referendum slump in activity has been even worse than the flash estimates originally implied. The manufacturing PMI was revised down to 48.2, from the 49.1 flash reading, while the services PMI was unrevised at 47.4, its lowest level since March 2009.

29 July. 2016 Will Household Saving Rise and Tip the Economy into Recession? (My Publications)

Households' saving decisions will play a key role in determining whether the economy slips into recession over the next year. Indeed, all of the last three recessions coincided with sharp rises in the household saving rate, as our first chart shows. Will households save more in response to greater economic uncertainty?

25 Apr. Preliminary GDP Data to Confirm Q1 Slowdown (My Publications)

The preliminary estimate of first quarter GDP likely will confirm that the economic recovery lost considerable pace in early 2016. Bedlam in financial markets in January and business fears over the E.U. referendum are partly responsible for the slowdown. The deceleration, however, also reflects tighter fiscal policy, uncompetitive exports, and the economy running into supply-side constraints.

28 April 2017 Preliminary GDP Estimate Likely to Reveal Q1 Slowdown (My Publications)

The preliminary estimate of Q1 GDP looks set to show that the economy started 2017 on a weak footing. We share the consensus view that quarter-on-quarter GDP growth slowed to 0.4%, from 0.7% in Q4.

9 February 2017 Weak December Production to Raise Spectre of GDP Revision (My Publications)

Figures due on Friday likely will show that the increase in industrial production in December was much smaller than the 0.6% month-to-month assumed by the ONS in its preliminar y Q4 GDP estimate. We expect a 0.2% rise, which would leave production down 0.1% quarter-on-quarter, rather than up 0.1% as the ONS initially estimated.

26 May. Second Estimate of Q1 GDP to Highlight Brexit Risk Damage (My Publications)

This morning's second estimate of Q1 GDP likely will restate the preliminary estimate of a 0.4% quarter-on-quarter rise, confirming that the economic recovery has lost momentum since last year. Meanwhile, the new expenditure breakdown is set to show that growth remained extremely dependent on households and will bring more evidence that businesses held back from investing, ostensibly due to Brexit concerns.

6 Apr. Britain's Happy Period of Strong Growth and Low Inflation is Over (My Publications)

The latest PMIs have added to the weight of evidence that the economic recovery has lost momentum this year. The prevailing view in markets, however, that the Monetary Policy Committee is more likely to cut--rather than raise--interest rates this year continues to look misplaced because inflation pressure is building.

8 June. April Production to Underline Poor Prospects for Q2 GDP Growth (My Publications)

April's production data, released today, look set to indicate that the industrial sector's recession--its third in the last eight years--deepened in the second quarter. We think the consensus expectation that industrial production held steady in April is too upbeat. We look for a 0.3% month-to-month drop.

6 February 2017 Growth Indicators Start to Turn Down as Price Pressures Escalate (My Publications)

The run of above-consensus news on the U.K. economy came to an abrupt end last week, as a series of survey indicators for January took a turn for the worse. After six months of breathing space, the economic consequences of the Brexit vote are increasingly being felt.

21 September 2016 Still Little Scope for Optimism on Business Investment (My Publications)

If the economy is to enter recession, falling business investment probably will have to be the main driver. Growth in consumer spending likely will slow sharply over the next year as firms become more cautious about hiring new workers and inflation begins to exceed wage growth again.

8 November. 2016 Weather--not Brexit--is Culpable for Production and Retail Sales Swings (My Publications)

It would be a mistake to conclude much about the economic impact of the Brexit vote from today's official industrial production figures for September, and the British Retail Consortium's figures for retail sales in October.

4 May 2017 How to Interpret the Results from Today's Local Elections (My Publications)

Today's local elections are more important than usual, because they will enable investors to assess if the Conservatives really are on track for a landslide victory in the general election, as suggested by the opinion polls and priced-in by the forex market.

4 January 2017 Stronger Surveys Should Not Foster Optimism about Manufacturing (My Publications)

A cluster of surveys suggest that the manufacturing sector finished 2016 with a flourish, after a dismal performance for most of the year. But momentum will drain away from the sector's recovery in 2017, as higher oil prices make low value-added work unprofitable again and resurgent inflation causes domestic consumer demand to crumble.

07 Jan. 2016 Will Inventories Accentuate the Slowdown? (My Publications)

The rate of inventory-building regularly is a major influence on GDP growth, but often is overlooked by analysts. Much slower inventory accumulation than in 2014 was the key source of downside surprise to the 2015 consensus GDP growth forecast, and we think inventories likely will be a sustained drag on GDP growth this year too.

2 February 2017 Rising Inflation Expectations to Yield Hawkish Talk from the MPC Today (My Publications)

Expectations are running high that the MPC will strike a more hawkish tone today in the minutes of this month's meeting and in the quarterly Inflation Report. Investors are pricing in a 45% chance of the MPC raising interest rates before the end of 2017, up from 30% before the last Report in November.

04 October. 2016 Manufacturing Revival Bolsters Case for the MPC to Hold Fire (My Publications)

The odds of the MPC cutting interest rates again in November took another knock yesterday after further signs that the manufacturing sector is getting back on its feet quickly.

03 Mar. 2016 Construction Slowdown is Symptomatic of Wider Malaise (My Publications)

The revival in the construction sector is slowing on all fronts as the fiscal squeeze intensifies, business confidence fades and the recovery in housebuilding loses momentum. These headwinds are likely to ensure that construction output only holds steady this year, thereby contributing to the broader economic slowdown.

10 February 2017 Still no Sign of a Sustained Trade Boost From Sterling's Depreciation (My Publications)

Today's trade figures likely will continue to show that the benefits from sterling's depreciation are being outweighed by the costs. Exports still are barely growing, but consumers are about to endure a substantial import price shock. The monthly trade deficit has been extremely volatile over the last year, generating a series of excessively upbeat or gloomy headlines. The truth is that the deficit has been on a slightly deteriorating trend, as our first chart shows. We think the trade deficit likely narrowed to £3.8B in December, from £4.2B in November, bringing it closer to its rolling 12-month average of £3.0B.

07 October. 2016 Don't Mistake Volatility in Production and Trade for Underlying Strength (My Publications)

The consensus view that industrial production rose by a mere 0.1% month-to-month in August looks far too low; we expect today's report to reveal a jump of about 1%.

10 January 2017 Production Likely Surged in November, but Trend Remains Weak (My Publications)

The consensus expectation that industrial production rose by 1.0% month-to-month in November is far too low; we expect Wednesday's data to show a jump of 2.0% or so. The rebound, however, should not be interpreted as another sign that the economy has been revitalised by the Brexit vote. Instead, we expect the rise chiefly to reflect volatility in oil production and heating energy supply.

16 February 2017 Slowdown in Wage Growth Further Reduces 2017 Rate Hike Chances (My Publications)

Yesterday's labour market data delivered a further blow to hopes that consumers' spending will retain enough momentum for the MPC to press ahead and raise interest rates this year. The most striking development is the decline in year-over-year growth in average weekly wages to just 1.9% in December, from 2.9% in November.

13 Nov. 2015 Will the Drag on the Recovery From Construction Fade? (My Publications)

The underlying health of the construction sector isn't as poor as today's official output figures likely will imply. Nonetheless, growth in construction output, which accounts for 6% of GDP, probably won't return to the stellar rates seen in 2013 and 2014, and the sector can't be relied upon to provide much support to overall growth.

11 Apr. Slowly but Surely, Inflation is Creeping Back Towards its Target (My Publications)

Consumer price figures for March, released on Tuesday, likely will show that CPI inflation has taken another step up, probably to 0.4% from 0.3% in February. This should jettison lingering fears that the U.K. is mired in deflation and bolster the Monetary Policy Committee's conviction that inflation will hit the 2% target within the next two years.

04 Mar. 2016 Will the MPC Cut Rates to Counteract the Slowdown? (My Publications)

The chances of a cut in official interest rates were boosted yesterday by the sharp fall in the business activity index of the Markit/CIPS report on services in February, to its weakest level since April 2013. Its decline, to just 52.8 from 55.6 in January, mirrored falls in the manufacturing and construction PMIs earlier in the week and pushed the weighted average of the three survey's main balances down to a level consistent with quarter-on-quarter GDP growth of just 0.2% in Q1.

06 Jan. 2016 The Services PMI isn't the Final Word on the Economy's Health (My Publications)

Unanticipated movements in the Markit/CIPS services PMI often provoke big market reactions, despite its shortcomings as an indicator of the pace of growth. We suspect December's PMI, released today, could surprise to the downside, reversing most of its rise in November to 55.9 from 54.9 in October. Regardless, we place more weight on the official data, which is more comprehensive and shows clearly the recovery is slowing.

6 September 2017 August's PMIs Show the Economy is too Brittle to Handle a Rate Hike (My Publications)

Our conviction that the economy continues to grow at a snail's pace increased yesterday following the release of August's Markit/CIPS services survey.

4 May. The MPC Won't Cut Rates to Alleviate the Manufacturing Slump (My Publications)

The nosedive in the Markit/CIPS manufacturing PMI in April provides an early sign that GDP growth is likely to slow even further in the second quarter. The MPC, however, looks set to keep its powder dry. We continue to think that the next move in interest rates will be up, towards the end of this year.

2 December. 2016 Sterling's Depreciation Has Not Been a Boon for Manufacturers (My Publications)

The deterioration of the Markit/CIPS manufacturing survey in November should temper optimism about the potential benefits of sterling's depreciation. The PMI fell to 53.4 in November, from 54.2 in October.

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