Last week interest rates were hiked by the largest amount since the Bank of England gained independence in 1997. But it was the further hike in the estimated inflation peak, with it set to remain higher for longer, as well as a forecast recession that ultimately grabbed the headlines. Conditions outside the UK are little better, confidence in the Euro area is dropping and Chinese PMIs are contracting as the impetus from reopening fades.Continue reading
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Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Central Banking Time
Monetary policy was at the forefront last week as central banks across the world took a hawkish shift in their battle again inflation. We had the 5th Bank of England hike with no signs of stopping, a US Federal reserve rise of 75 bps – biggest in almost 3 decades – and the European Central Bank announced an end to stimulus measures and expected to raise rates next month.Continue reading
Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – The Return of Uncertainty
After a strong global recovery, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine clouds the economic outlook which was already suffering from rising energy prices. New and wide-ranging sanctions are now being added to the mix of supply chain bottlenecks, all of which are likely to exacerbate inflationary pressures for consumers and businesses.Continue reading
Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Rising Rate
The Bank of England became the first major central bank to raise rates since the pandemic struck. It judged that rising inflation outweighed concerns over an Omicron-induced slowdown. In the meantime, COVID cases have leapt, prompting new restrictions and speculation of much more to come.Continue reading
Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Waiting Impatiently
Vaccine effectiveness and the degree of transmissibility of the Omicron variant are still under investigation. In the meantime, the spread is quick–UK has detected 160 cases. Tighter rules and changes in behaviour are already affecting the near-term economic outlook. But it’s too early to conclude if the new variant is a game-changer.Continue reading
Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Slowing
The Monetary Policy Committee kept official interest rates unchanged last week, as expected. The big determinant of when they do move will be the the labour market reaction to the end of the furlough scheme. In the meantime, soaring energy prices, rising inflation and worker shortages are continuing. The challenges to the recovery are mounting. But adults in Northern Ireland will have £100 from the High Street Voucher Scheme to soften the blow.Continue reading
Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Keep the good news coming
The next step of lockdown easing in England will proceed as planned – non-essential retail, outdoor pubs and restaurants and hairdressers (a massive relief!) will re-open next week. While the data says that household savings pots are ready to lend a big helping hand! And with it the route out of the UK being a G7 economic laggard. As for those of us in Northern Ireland, there is no end of the dodgy haircut, or indicative dates for reopening, in sight.Continue reading
Chief Economist’s Weekly Brief – Out
The UK has left the European Union. The transition period, during which the UK remains in both the single market and customs union, lasts until the end of the year, with trade negotiations set to start in March. In the background, the Bank of England kept Bank Rate unchanged, but lowered its forecast for the 2019 UK economy to 0.75%.Continue reading
Chief Economist’s Weekly Brief – Oil shock
Attacks on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia led to a 6% reduction in global oil supply and a 15% oil price spike within days. Saudi Arabian assurances that oil production levels will return to normal within weeks have been greeted sceptically. Meanwhile the Federal Reserve lowered the Fed Funds Rate by 25 basis points following a round of monetary easing by the ECB. Bank of England decided to save its firepower for later.
From ‘interest only’ to ‘no interest’?
Imagine taking out a mortgage and not only having to pay no interest, but actually being paid by your bank to borrow. It sounds like something from a Carlsberg ad, but it is the reality at present in Denmark, where negative interest rates are in place.