Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Cautious

While the data on economic activity continue to look positive, the overall mood is that of cautious optimism. Cases are on the rise in various parts of the world. In the UK the wall of vaccines is so far proving effective against a rapidly building third wave.

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Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Pausing for breath

After bumper readings in April and May, activity indicators are levelling off in the UK. Covid 19 cases have continued to pick up, with some hints that consumers have turned a little more cautious in response. But firms remain optimistic,  indicating they want to keep hiring. Meanwhile, despite the chatter on inflation, the Bank of England remain firmly of the view that it will prove temporary or ‘transitory’. So no monetary tightening coming any time soon.

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Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Living with the virus

Following a strong rebound in economic activity, last week saw a slight pullback across macro indicators. While the public health experts in the UK are warning about future lockdowns, especially during the winter months, and PM Johnson confirmed the delay in full reopening by four weeks, there remains no obvious signs of consumer concerns yet. 

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Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – ‘Promising Signs’

Against the backdrop of threats of ‘sausage wars’, the latest economic data is encouraging. This signals not only an economic rebound but also the success of the vaccination roll-out and support policies from the year gone by. Can a delay to full reopening turn the tide?  Most think not. But one thing to watch our for is whether some households turn a little more cautious as the rate of infections rises.  

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Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – ‘Not ordinary’

Another week of upbeat economic data. UK Businesses have now joined consumers in setting records for high performance. But the ‘brightening outlook comes with some discomfort’, as OECD describes it. With a surge in the spread of the delta variant, UK officials are now drawing up a contingent plan for possible delay in June 21 easing.

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Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Testing two one June

Amidst the steady drip of very good news on the recovery, last week came a reminder that we’re not out of the woods yet. Rising cases of the Indian variant (or Delta to use the World Health Organisation’s new labelling) underlines that while the risks posed by the virus have certainly diminished, they have not been eliminated.

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Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Roaring

What does a combination of households sitting on cash piles and firms on a hiring spree give you? A roaring UK economy. Add to this the low base from last year and growth figures are going through the roof. But a note of caution is due. The end of government support plus (hopefully) transitory inflation could take some of the shine away.

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Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Promising

The UK economy has emerged from the second wave of the virus with limited short term damage. GDP contracted by 1.5% over the first quarter, less than feared at the onset of the third lockdown. Even better, high frequency indicators are pointing towards a brighter outlook. All 12 regions reported growth in April with Northern Ireland posting its first month of private sector expansion since last September. Local firms are the most optimistic about the year ahead since the pandemic struck.

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Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Bumper year?

As the report card on opening up improves, so does the growth estimate for 2021. The latest to join the bandwagon is the Bank of England which is now forecasting the UK economy to enjoy the fastest growth since the Second World War. That will pull the Northern Ireland economy up too. The Chancellor also expects the recovery to be ‘turbo-charged’ by the excess savings of households and firms.

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Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Stimulus windfall delivers

The US economy bounced back sharply in Q1 thanks to a successful vaccination drive and in particular generous government support. The latter meant personal income in the US posted its biggest ever increase in March (a series that goes back to the 1940s!). That’s what you call shock therapy for the recovery. And Northern Ireland’s non-essential retail finally reopened its doors which coincided with news that every adult over the age of 18 will receive a £100 High Street voucher later this year.  

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