At risk of stalling, but Q3 may make up for Q2’s weakness

This week brought further signs that the “pingdemic” weighed on economic activity and evidence that in June, consumers amassed excess savings at a faster rate than in May. As a result, there’s clearly a risk Q2 GDP growth will be weaker than we previously thought. However, with the “pingdemic” likely to ease over the next month, COVID-19 case numbers falling and our CE Mobility Tracker and new electronic card payments ticking up, we are sticking with our forecast that GDP will return to its pre-virus peak in October. Even so, it’s clear that any further big gains in activity may have to wait until August.
Ruth Gregory Senior UK Economist
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UK Data Response

Labour Market (Nov./Dec.)

The labour market appears to have tightened after the end of the furlough scheme and at the start of the Omicron wave. So even though real wages are now falling and will decline further, we still expect the Bank of England to raise interest rates from 0.25% to 0.50% on 3rd February and to 1.25% by December.

18 January 2022

UK Economic Outlook

More inflation, more interest rate hikes

Although the hit to households’ real incomes from a bigger surge in CPI inflation than most expect (to a peak of almost 7% in April) explains why we think GDP growth will be slower this year than the consensus forecast, we still think that the leap in inflation will prompt the Bank of England to raise interest rates further this year than most economists anticipate, from 0.25% to 1.25%. The risks are that the labour market remains stronger for longer, CPI inflation stays above the 2% target well into next year and the Bank of England raises interest rates further in 2023.

17 January 2022

UK Economics Weekly

Ramifications could be bigger if PM stays than if he goes

The growing uncertainty over the Prime Minister Boris Johnson's position is unlikely to dent economic activity. Arguably, though, if a leadership challenge is avoided or Boris Johnson wins it, the medium-term political and economic ramifications could be bigger than if he steps down. Even so, we doubt recent political events will transform the economic outlook this year, which is one of inflation rising to a peak of 7% causing the economy to be weaker than most expect and the Bank of England to raise interest rates from 0.25% now to 1.25%.

14 January 2022

More from Ruth Gregory

MPC Watch

Divisions emerge, but early end to BoE’s asset purchases unlikely

While the Bank of England will upgrade its near-term forecasts for inflation in its Monetary Policy Report (MPR) published on 5th August, it will probably still judge that the rise is transitory. And while Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Michael Saunders may break ranks to vote in favour of an early end to the Bank’s net asset purchases, we do not think others will join him in signalling that interest rate hikes are drawing closer.

29 July 2021

UK Data Response

Public Finances (Jun.)

June’s public finances figures provided further evidence that the strong economic recovery is feeding through into lower government borrowing. So despite rising debt service costs, we still think that the economy can do more of the job in “fixing” the public finances than a fiscal tightening.

21 July 2021

UK Data Response

Labour Market (May/Jun.)

May’s figures paint a picture of a labour market well on its way to recovery and will further fuel concerns about labour shortages and the possible boost to inflation from higher wage growth. But past revisions to the data suggest there is still slack in the jobs market. We think that a sustained rise in pay growth won’t take place until 2023 and that an interest rate rise is further away than the financial markets think.

15 July 2021
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