Economics news – news from Washington and Beijing ...
Good news from across the Pond, a Washington truce has been achieved. The US government has returned to work, Yosemite National Park is open, international creditors will be paid. The debt crisis is over. A twenty week truce has been secured. Markets rallied, the dollar slipped, Google shares breached the $1,000 level and the S&P 500 hit a new high. What more could we ask?
In China, growth continued at 7.8% into the third quarter up from 7.5% in the second. For those fearing a hard landing, crash landing, soft landing, end of the world scenario, it is time to stop shorting the markets and buy in, the world is not coming to an end any time soon.
London - Mortgages
In the UK, mortgage lending increased by 32% in the third quarter compared to Q3 last year. FLS and Help to Buy are boosting the market. We expect house prices to rise by 5% this year and almost 8% next year before a normalized escalation returns. Prices are beginning to rise across the UK. Yes Prices will move across the UK, like a tidal wave across the flood plain. Check out The Saturday Economist Housing Market Review for more information.
Tuesday, the ONS released the latest inflation figures for September. CPI inflation was unchanged at 2.7% as RPI moved down slightly to 3.2% from 3.3%. We expect a further fall in CPI inflation around 30 basis points next month, as education fees drop out of the data series. Thereafter prices will be pretty sticky around 2.5%. Energy costs are set to rise and service sector inflation at 3.4% up from 3.0% last month will create problems for policy makers. As we have long pointed out, service sector inflation has averaged 3.7% for the last twenty years.
Manufacturing Prices, on the other hand, have averaged around 1% over the same period, boosted by falls in clothing and footwear specifically. The immediate outlook for manufacturing prices is pretty benign, Output prices increased by just 1.2% in September and input costs increased by 1.1%, down from 5% in July.
Retail sales were also released this week. Retail sales volumes were up by 2.2% in September and by 2.4% in the third quarter. Sales values increased by almost 4% in the three months boosted by on line sales and department store sales. Is the housing market stimulating footfall? Quite probably. We expect the volume of housing transactions to increase significantly this year, boosting sales of carpets, furniture durables and DIY goods in the process.
The employment figures were also released this week. The claimant count fell by over 40,000 in September to a rate of 4% compared to 4.2% last month. The wider FLS count fell in the three months to August, to 2.87 million, a rate of 7.7% from 7.8% last month. Lagging as it does, the broader unemployment rate could fall to around 7.5% by the end of the year. The Bank of England “knock out rate” under forward guidance at 7% could be in sight by the end of 2014.
So what of base rates?
Interesting Spencer Dale the Bank of England’s chief economist was on Twitter this week in a hashtag #AskBoE “open hour” adventure. The telling tweet - a rate rise in 2014 was unlikely. Just as unlikely as a rate rise in 2016 no doubt. The markets expect a move in 2015 but will it wait until after polling day? We will have to ask next time the bank is online, perhaps using Facetime or Skype? What would Governor King have made of it all!
So what does this all mean?
The economy is recovering and growing at a much faster rate into the final quarter. The first estimate of GDP in Q3 will be released next week. We expect growth year on year to be over 1.5% rising to trend rate in the final quarter of the year. Inflation is falling, employment is rising, even the debt figures due next week will look much better. Energy costs may provide a problem for households but “wear a jumper”, the ministerial advice could keep bills down and boost retail sales in the process.
What happened to sterling?
Sterling moved up against the dollar and against the Euro as the dollar slipped. The pound closed at £1.6174 from $1.5954. Against the Euro, Sterling closed at €1.1816 from €1.1772. The dollar moved down against the yen closing at ¥97.7 from ¥98.5 and closing at 1.3682 against the Euro.
Oil Price Brent Crude closed at $109.94 from $111.28. The average price in October last year was almost $112. We expect oil to average less than $112 in the month, with no inflationary impact.
Markets, pushed higher - The Dow closed at 15,399 up from 15,237. The FTSE closed at 6,623 from 6,487. The US debt deal is done. The rally is on.
UK Ten year gilt yields closed at 2.72 from 2.74, US Treasury yields closed at 2.58 from 2.69.
Gold closed at $1,313 from $1,270. The bulls have it, at least for the week.
That’s all for this week, don’t miss The Sunday Times and Croissants out tomorrow.
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© 2013 The Saturday Economist. John Ashcroft and Company, Dimensions of Strategy.
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The material is based upon information which we consider to be reliable but we do not represent that it is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. We accept no liability for errors, or omissions of opinion or fact. In particular, no reliance should be placed on the comments on trends in financial markets. The presentation should not be construed as the giving of investment advice.