Money & Credit (May)

The signs that households have started to borrow again provide us with confidence that May’s surprise fall in retail sales was a result of a shift in spending from retailers to other areas as the economy continued to reopen, rather than an indication that the economic recovery is already spluttering.
Ruth Gregory Senior UK Economist
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UK Economics Weekly

Christmas parties, Omicron inflation risks, MPC’s dilemma

Some tentative evidence may already be emerging that the Omicron COVID-19 variant may have softened economic activity. It’s less clear what it means for inflation and there’s a risk that it exacerbates current price pressures. That’s why we think the Bank of England’s interest rate decision on 16th December will be a closer call than markets seem to believe. They are pricing in just a 20-30% chance of a hike from 0.10% to 0.25%.

3 December 2021

UK Economics Update

Labour shortages to push up wages for a bit longer

The latest data suggest that the upward pressure on wage growth from labour shortages has a bit further to run. Admittedly, the discovery of the Omicron variant has clouded the near-term outlook for wages and the labour market, with higher virus infections and/or tighter restrictions once again a possibility. Nonetheless, our base case is that most of the upward pressure on wage growth will subside from mid-2022, underpinning our view that Bank Rate won’t need to rise as far as investors currently expect.

30 November 2021

UK Economics Update

Omicron – The risks to GDP and for the BoE

The restrictions announced by the government on Saturday in response to the new Omicron COVID-19 variant increase the downside risks to our GDP forecasts and the chances that the Bank of England delays increasing interest rates until next year. And although the worse-case scenario of another lockdown in January could reduce GDP by something in the region of 3.0% m/m, the one morsel of comfort is that the economy has become more resilient to lockdowns.

29 November 2021

More from Ruth Gregory

UK Economics Weekly

BoE’s less hawkish stance relative to the Fed likely to persist

With few signs the Fed’s hawkishness at its May meeting has spread to the Bank of England, we think that the downward revision to market interest rate expectations has much further to go. While we find it hard to argue very strongly about the precise timing of the policy tightening in the UK, we are more convinced that it will come later than in the US (in 2023) and the mid-2022 date the markets have assumed.

25 June 2021

UK Economics Weekly

Households still amassing excess savings, 3rd wave fears

We don’t think that consumers’ reluctance to pay for their purchases on plastic, or their still-elevated cash holdings, are signs that they will be less willing to spend in the future. Meanwhile, the surge in new daily COVID-19 cases has raised concerns about whether the easing in restrictions will go ahead as planned on June 21st. But if there is a delay, we don’t think it will make a big difference to our GDP forecast. It is the reopening of shops, pubs and restaurants in April and May, rather than the easing of the final restrictions on social distancing, nightclubs and big events, that is the key driver of our forecast for GDP growth of 6.5% q/q in Q2 and 8.0% in 2021 as a whole.

4 June 2021

UK Data Response

Public Finances (Apr.)

April’s public finances figures showed that the government’s financial position isn’t as bad as the Office for Budget Responsibility predicted only two months ago, reinforcing our view that the tax hikes and spending cuts that most fear may be avoided.

25 May 2021
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