Brigitte Bardot, the "impossible dream of married men", will be 80 years of age tomorrow. Now a great grandmother, in a birthday interview for Paris Match, Ms Bardot claimed “I have loved a lot, passionately madly and not at all. Yet, I only keep one man in mind : the next one”.
I feel much the same way about economic forecasts. I love a lot, passionately and madly, some not at all. I only keep one forecast in mind - the next one. Especially the next forecasts resulting from the GDP revisions out next Tuesday. The inclusion of drug dealing and prostitution for the first time, will no doubt, boost output and productivity in the UK economy. UK growth forecasts for the year will be revised as a result. The productivity dilemma resolved, understanding economic agents, burn a spliff, lie back and think of England as they contribute to economic growth.
Forecast Revisions …
Good news from Spain this week, as forecasts of growth have been revised up. The Finance Minister, Luis de Guindos has suggested growth this year will be 1.3% and 2% next. Still some way to go to full employment, the government now expects the unemployment rate to be 22.9% in 2015, down from prior forecasts of 23.3%.
In the USA, growth in the second quarter has also been revised up! The annualised rate of growth revised higher to 4.6% from the previous 4.2%. The underlying growth rate (year on year) revised to 2.6% in the quarter. We now expect US growth of 2.5% for the year as a whole, following the slow start in the first quarter.
The Manchester Index™,
In the UK, the economy is on track for growth of 3.1% this year slowing to 2.8% next according to the latest data from GM Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey and the influential Manchester Index™.
The Manchester Index™ index moderated from 33.6 in Q2 to 32.0 in the third quarter largely as a result of the change in outlook for exports. The index remains above the pre recession average for the period 2005 - 2007.
The outlook for home orders and deliveries improved slightly in both the service sector and the manufacturing sector. Exports, on the other demonstrated a significant fall in deliveries in both manufacturing and services. Service sector orders fell but the drop in export manufacturing orders was particularly marked. Overall confidence in turnover and profits was maintained and the prospects for employment and investment was particularly marked.
Borrowing figures …
Government borrowing figures were released this week. Public sector net borrowing was £11.6 billion in August, an increase of £0.7 billion compared with August 2013. For the year to date, total borrowing was £45.4 billion, an increase of £2.6 billion compared with the same period in 2013/14. Receipts in the month were boosted by Stamp duty up 24% and VAT receipts with a recovery in income tax payments, up by 2.4%.
The cautionary note, expenditure £54 billion increased by 3.3%. The government is off track to meet the deficit targets this year. The good news, borrowing was revised down for 2013/14 to £99.3 billion. The reduction to £95 billion this year, less of a challenge as a result but there is still much to do with seven months to go before the end of the financial year if the targets are to be hit.
So what of base rates …
The Governor delivered a speech in Wales this week. “With many of the conditions for the economy to normalise now met, the point at which interest rates also begin to normalise is getting closer. In recent months the judgement about precisely when to raise Bank Rate has become more balanced. While there is always uncertainty about the future, you can expect interest rates to begin to increase. We have no pre-set course, however; the timing will depend on the data.”
So what does this mean for UK rates? As we said last week, weak growth in Europe, monetary accommodation in the US, low inflation and earnings data in the UK, will push the increase in UK base rates into 2015. Despite the schism on the committee, the MPC will be reluctant to move ahead of the Fed. The timing will depend on the data. The inflation and pay data says “don’t move yet but February is the best bet”.
So what happened to sterling this week?
Sterling slipped against the dollar to $1.624 from $1.630 but up against the Euro at 1.280 from 1.270. The Euro closed against the dollar at 1.269 (1.270).
Oil Price Brent Crude closed down at $96.83 from $98.08. The average price in September last year was $111.60.
Markets, moved down. The Dow closed at 17,017 from 17,291 and the FTSE closed down at 6,649 from 6,837.
UK Ten year gilt yields move up to 2.46 from 2.55 and US Treasury yields closed at 2.53 from 2.62. Gold moved sideways at $1,221 from $1,218.
That’s all for this week. Join the mailing list for The Saturday Economist or forward to a friend.
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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.