New era of household austerity awaits

We’ve heard lots of recent comparisons between today and 1976, given the heatwaves and drought that affected both years, and that 2022 is the UK’s driest year since. But whilst we have recently been basking in sunshine and dealing with the impact of the warm weather, it is the cost of heat, light and food for households this winter that should be on all of our minds.

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Sharper fall in activity as price pressures hit demand

Today sees the release of July data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by S&P Global – signalled that declines in customer demand amid strong inflationary pressures led to further sharp reductions in output and new orders in the Northern Ireland private sector. Rates of inflation remained elevated over the month, despite showing signs of easing. The main positive from the latest survey was a further rise in employment.

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Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – A Rocky Road

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.

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Another decade, another recession … but this one’s different

When US Presidents, UK Prime Ministers and other leaders in politics and business take charge, the first 100 days of their leadership is always seen as critical. Last Thursday marked 100 days since the first case of COVID-19 was reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the start of January. The scale of the change, political intervention and business disruption that we have seen since then has been truly unprecedented. And what happens in the next 100 days will likely be just as alarming and unprecedented. Indeed, the word unprecedented is now so overused that it no longer does justice to just how rare and extreme events have been.

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Chief Economist’s Weekly Brief – Waiting for the good news

All eyes were on political theatre in Westminster last week. No-deal Brexit looks more likely. And with it some economic disruption – how much is unknown. The global economic outlook is not promising: the US and China are still locked in the trade war and the Eurozone is fighting to stave off a recession.

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Economic Gongs: Best actors in an increasingly unpopular drama


There is an increasingly unpopular drama unfolding in the global economy. It’s not quite the epic of 2007/8. But it certainly has economists and investors gripped, as we have witnessed the Big Short on oil prices and a Revenant-style bear market that has mauled the share prices of the stock markets’ biggest stars. Continue reading