Another strong US employment report and improved manufacturing sentiment contrasts with continued lacklustre Euro area growth and a downbeat Chinese PMI survey, highlighting diverging trends in the global economy.
Following the recent Grieve amendment, the chances of Parliament passing PM Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement tomorrow look very slim. A rejection would force Mrs May to unveil a Plan B next Monday. An array of outcomes is possible with an increasing chance of Article 50 being extended.
Initial reports from the UK high street during the festive period were mildly encouraging. Witness stronger than expected outturns from John Lewis and Next. Still, it is premature to draw strong conclusions about retailing.
UK workers received a Christmas bonus with the highest wage growth for a decade reported last week. The labour market is yet again the star performer in an economy that is otherwise losing a little momentum.
UK GDP growth picked up in Q3 but this bounce is likely to be fleeting, judging from latest downbeat business surveys.
The Bank of England’s latest forecasts show inflation staying above the 2% target, despite rising UK rate expectations. Prices should get a further boost from the looser fiscal policy announced in the Budget. But, as ever, all those forecasts hinge on a smooth Brexit.
The US economy is motoring along, driven by recent tax cuts, keeping the Fed on course for further gradual tightening in coming months. However, signs of weakness in the Euro area mean a rate hike is some way off.
UK growth has picked up a bit of speed in Q3, judging from latest monthly GDP figures, with strength widespread. However, recent favourable weather flattered the headline rate, so a moderation in growth looks likely in Q4.
As expected the BoE kept its powder dry following August’s rate hike. Meanwhile, the ECB remains on course to halt QE by year-end but tame inflation suggests a rate hike is some way off. In contrast, the Fed looks odds on to tighten policy further later this month.
UK growth rebounded in Q2, but outlook is clouded