British economic growth slowed to 0.4 percent at the start of the year, a preliminary release showed as expected on Wednesday, but the real picture may well be better.
A slight tremor rumbled through a key pillar of British economic growth – household spending – as consumer confidence slipped this month to its lowest level since December 2014.
At this stage, it is hard to quantify how a planned referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union is impacting investor sentiment and the outlook for business investment. But there is little doubt it will influence the timing of the Bank of England’s first interest rate hike in nearly a decade and how sterling trades this year.
So much for forward guidance. The largest proportion of Britons on record — almost a quarter — have “no idea” where interest rates are heading over the next 12 months, according to the Bank of England’s quarterly survey of the public’s views on the economy.
Another month, another round of disappointing British trade data.
Not long ago, the big debate was over who would raise rates first, the U.S. Federal Reserve or the Bank of England. Now with the Fed giving clear signals it’s on the brink of hiking and the BoE appearing to be pushing that day further off into the future, one could naturally conclude that the inflation outlook in both economies is vastly different.
A surprisingly strong surge in British manufacturing growth last month has left a few economists scratching their heads. Is it a one-off? Could a manufacturing recovery really appear out of seemingly nowhere?
Wage inflation is supposed to pick up once unemployment gets down to a level at which scarcity of labour means companies are forced to pay more for top talent. This time, at least so far, the theory is either not working so well, or taking its time to kick in. Or perhaps the modest rise we’ve seen is the best we’re going to get.