The Chancellor opted not to make any changes to tax or spending policy at last week’s Spring Statement, so instead the focus was firmly on the economic assumptions that underpin the public finances.
President Trump imposes tariffs to protect heavy industry whilst a new group of countries slashes barriers.
Last week’s snow induced disruption will have heaped pressure on sectors like retail, leisure and construction. Firms will have to fight hard amid cancellations to manage cash flow and clear backlogs. It might even knock a tenth of a percent or two off Q1 GDP growth. But it is consumers’ attitudes to borrowing which is raising bigger questions for the health of the economy.
One swallow a summer does not make, but two swallows? Probably still not enough for a turning point, however much we’d like the UK to crack its productivity problem.
Inflation is pushing UK consumers to take it easy at the shops meaning they’re no longer leading the charge on growth. Meanwhile new technology is shaking up the long established order in world oil markets.
While two of the SpaceX rocket boosters landed gently back on terra firma it was a much more turbulent period in the markets. US equities had their worst week in two years and volatility woke from its slumber. The Bank of England also gave the markets a little shake, indicating a rate hike in May is more likely than previously expected. Continue reading
Economic news from the Eurozone and US was generally very good last week. Bond yields are pushing higher as a result. That’s good news for people worrying about the possibility of more years of slow growth and low interest rates, sometimes called secular stagnation. It’s also a relief to the many firms grappling with big pension deficits. Continue reading
Good growth from around the world supports the celebratory tone being struck by leaders in Davos. And this upbeat tenor is certainly being echoed in Northern Ireland with Friday’s news about Bombardier.
The pre-Christmas shopping rush seems to have coincided with inflation’s peak. Consumers and retailers alike will be hoping for an easier ride this year.
January is usually the time for a bit of restraint after the festive period’s excesses. For people in the UK it might last beyond January given the ongoing squeeze on incomes. But if you’re looking for better news on this Blue Monday you’ll find it in UK manufacturing performance, company profitability and global growth.