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Rapid economic recovery to support equities

Our view that the economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis will be faster and fuller than most expect is consistent with UK equity prices continuing to rise over the next couple of years. Admittedly, UK equities have lagged their international counterparts since the pandemic. The FTSE 250 only rose back to its pre-pandemic level earlier this month and the FTSE 100 is still 9% below it. But the composition of the UK’s equity indices means that they should benefit by more than others from the economic recovery. As such, the gap between UK and international equities may narrow over the next couple of years.
Paul Dales Chief UK Economist
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UK Markets Chart Book

Markets too sanguine on interest rates

Our new forecasts that inflation will stay higher for longer and that the labour market will remain tight into 2023 suggests that Bank Rate will rise to a peak of 3.00% next year rather than the peak of 2.50% currently priced into the markets. As a result, we have revised up our forecasts for gilt yields. We now think the 10-year yield will rise from 1.84% to 3.00% by the middle of 2023. And in response to the prospect of weaker economic growth and higher interest rates, we have revised down our equity price forecasts. We expect the FTSE 100 to fall from 7,550 now to around 7,250 by the end of this year. Finally, this negative shift in investor sentiment partly explains why we have revised down our forecasts for the pound. We think the pound will weaken from $1.26 now to around $1.22 by December. UK Drop-In (Thurs. 5th May, 15:30 BST): Paul Dales and Ruth Gregory will be discussing our UK Economic Outlook, including our above-consensus call for UK interest rates, in a 20-minute online briefing after the May MPC meeting. Register now

29 April 2022

BoE Watch

Rates heading to 3.0% as MPC focuses on inflation concerns

The weakening economic outlook has deepened the dilemma facing the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). But we think the MPC is sufficiently worried about rising price/wage expectations to raise Bank Rate from 0.75% to 1.00% on Thursday 5th May and to start shrinking the balance sheet quicker by selling gilts. Based on our forecast that the labour market will be tighter and that wage/price expectations will be more persistent, we expect the MPC to hike rates to 3.00% in 2023. That’s above the peak priced into the markets (2.50%) and the peak expected by a consensus of economists (2.00%). UK Drop-In (Thurs. 5th May, 15:30 BST): Paul Dales and Ruth Gregory will be discussing our UK Economic Outlook, including our above-consensus call for UK interest rates, in a 20-minute online briefing after the May MPC meeting. Register now

28 April 2022

UK Markets Chart Book

Financial conditions as tight as after the Brexit vote

The war in Ukraine has contributed to a tightening in financial conditions that will contribute to weaker GDP growth for the rest of this year and next year. Admittedly, a lot of the initial plunges in UK equity prices and gilt yields have been reversed. But the lasting financial market effects from the war in Ukraine so far appear to be higher commodity prices, higher interest rate expectations and wider corporate bond spreads. That’s why UK financial conditions have tightened to levels similar to those seen after the EU Referendum in 2016. While this will weigh on GDP growth this year and next, the tightening seen so far doesn’t pose a systemic risk.

29 March 2022

More from Paul Dales

UK Economics Weekly

No need to fear as furlough enters final furlong

We think that concerns about the winding up of the furlough scheme are overdone for two reasons. First, at the end of May only 2.3m people were on furlough and half of them were working at least some hours. Second, by the time the scheme closes at the end of September, we think GDP will have risen back to its pre-pandemic peak. That means the economy can support a level of employment similar to the current level. As such, the furlough will probably go down in history as the scheme that averted a bloodbath in the labour market.

2 July 2021

UK Economics Weekly

Inflation fears, Euro 2020 hopes

The mounting evidence that price pressures are rising is a threat to our forecast that CPI inflation won’t spend a long time above the 2% target until late in 2023. The good news, though, is that if inflation were more important than goals in the Euro 2020 football tournament, then at least one of England or Scotland would make it into the knockout stages.

11 June 2021

UK Economics Weekly

BoE to unwind QE before it raises interest rates

The rapid rebound in economic activity revealed by this week’s data releases has started to prompt some questions about when and how the Bank of England will tighten monetary policy. Our answers are not until 2024, which is later than the tightening in late 2022 the markets have assumed, and by unwinding some quantitative easing first before raising interest rates. Both of those are consistent with the gilt yield curve steepening.

21 May 2021
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