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- Retail sales were hit in December by a double whammy of earlier-than-usual gift buying and Omicron.
- Sales, however, will be no higher in Q1 and Q2 than in Q4, given the pressure on households' real incomes.
- Households have huge excess savings, but low confidence suggests they won't draw on them much soon.
- House price growth remained strong in Q4, despite the return of the SDLT threshold to £125K at the end of Q3.
- Timely indicators, however, suggest Omicron weighed on buyer demand at the end of the year, and in January.
- Higher mortgage rates and falling real incomes will cause house price growth to decelerate this year.
- GDP surpassed its pre-Covid level in November, albeit with support from some unsustainable sources.
- Omicron has temporarily set the economy back, but GDP should return to November's level by March.
- Thereafter, however, GDP growth likely will be slow, due to the squeeze on households' disposable incomes.
- The default tariff energy price cap looks set to rise by 47% in April, pushing up CPI inflation to 6.2%.
- The rise will be larger, if suppliers are immediately compensated for acquiring failed competitors' customers.
- Removing VAT would limit the inflation peak to 6.0%; a supplier loan scheme could have a bigger impact.
- The return of monthly saving to pre-Covid levels is a sign of the real income squeeze, not surging spending.
- The recent surge in house prices, however, is enabling refinancing homeowners to access lower interest rates.
- Firms continued to repay external borrowing in November, but we remain upbeat on the capex outlook.
- In one line: Households’ saving returns to pre-Covid rates, as inflation pressures mount.
- The supply of labour has dropped over the past two years, in part due to a lower participation rate.
- Over-50s have been a key driver, due to early retire- ment or long-term sickness following Covid-19.
- We think the participation rate now is on a perma- nently lower path, limiting trend growth this decade.
- In one line: Lower saving by households likely due to higher inflation and early Christmas gift buying.
- Households last month saved the least and borrowed the most for consumption since the pandemic began...
- ...People are maintaining their spending while real incomes are falling; they aren't bingeing.
- Firms continued to repay external finance in October, but this isn't necessarily a bad sign for investment.
- The ONS' BIC survey suggests the recovery stalled in both October and November
- OpenTable figures show that the boom in dining out has faded in November.
- We expect quarter-over-quarter GDP growth to slow to 1.0% in Q4, from 1.5%, and below the consensus, 1.1%
- The Conservatives' poll lead has virtually disappeared; we doubt it will re-emerge next year.
- Higher inflation and rising interest rates will keep consumers' confidence weak.
- A hung parliament would bring to the fore Brexit and Scottish independence risks again, weakening sterling.
- Budget announcements, including the jump in National Living Wage, will support earnings growth next year...
- ...but higher taxes and inflation suggest real take home pay will fall by 1.5%, the most since 2011.
- This is one key reason we expect the MPC will hike Bank Rate by less than markets currently expect.
- Households continued in September to save more and borrow less than they did before Covid.
- The recovery in spending will continue only if households save less in response to falling real incomes...
- Households did this in 2016, but are less confident now, despite having a larger precautionary buffer.
- In one line: Households still saving more than usual; low confidence suggests caution will continue.
- The Chancellor spent only about half of the windfall stemming from the OBR's rosier economic forecasts...
- ...In order to build scope to cut taxes before the next election, while still meeting his new fiscal targets.
- The OBR's new GDP forecasts are too upbeat, while its debt interest forecast is too low, but this won't matter.
- Markets are pricing-in a 65bp rise in Bank Rate by March and expect the first hike to come next week...
- ...But falling consumer confidence, low pay settlements and rising Covid cases strengthen the case for patience.
- November is "live", but markets' conviction is too strong; potential swing voters on the MPC have been very
- The shortfall in GDP in July from its pre-Covid peak has been revised to just 1.3%, from 2.5% previously.
- Future growth, however, will be weak; both government spending and households' incomes will fall...
- ...So the MPC can take its time; we now expect a Q2 rate rise, but then a 12-month delay until the next hike.
- Households continued to add to their stock of savings at a faster rate in August than before Covid.
- Unsecured lending rose only modestly too; lower confi- dence in September points to still-subdued spending.
- Surging energy prices mean we are lifting our 2022 CPI inflation forecast to 3.4%, from 3.2% two weeks ago.
- In one line: Households still saving more than usual; psychology unlikely to improve in Q4.
- The fall in the composite PMI in September chimes with other data suggesting growth was sluggish in Q3.
- Survey data also suggest the number of furloughed workers has fallen only marginally in recent weeks.
- GDP growth will disappoint the BoE's expectations in Q3 and Q4, making a rate hike in Q1 2022 unlikely.