UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from Breakingviews:

UK’s strong GDP has a soft centre

By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Fly the flag. The headlines will be about the solid milestone. The UK finally replanted its flag on its 2008 GDP growth peak, three years after Germany and the United States reclaimed theirs and after a mere five years of ultra-low interest rates. But the landscape – the details of the second-quarter GDP – has its uncomfortably rocky side.

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will see some grounds for concern. The 0.8 percent growth from the first quarter was generated almost entirely by the dominant services sector, which sprinted up by 1 percent. The rate of growth of industrial production slipped from 0.7 percent in the first quarter to 0.4 percent - equivalent to a meagre annualised rate of just 1.6 percent. Construction output contracted by 0.5 percent, bad news in a country needing houses.

The UK’s ascent, as in the past, is a straggling one, with services showing signs of leaving industry and manufacturing lagging behind. The UK’s close-to-record external current account deficit of over 4 percent of GDP is more evidence of that. Weak international competitiveness still looks like a big British growth-inhibiting problem, not helped by the fast recent rise in the pound.

from Breakingviews:

UK’s problem: it’s the best in Europe

By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

UK GDP stalled in the fourth quarter, contracting by 0.2 percent. That’s bad. But which major west European economy will perform best in 2012? It’s the UK again, the IMF predicted this week.

from Breakingviews:

Becalmed UK in danger of double dip

By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The UK economy looks dangerously becalmed. While GDP did increase a good-looking 0.5 percent in the third quarter, the number was flattered by a catch up from a royal wedding-distracted spring. Besides, there has only been a 0.5 percent rise over the full year. And now a euro zone storm is brewing. That Tuesday's UK manufacturing survey for October dropped to the lowest level for over two years is no coincidence -- but is alarming.

from MacroScope:

Economists vs the zero barrier

USA-FED/Anyone involved in financial markets on a day-to-day basis will be familiar with bits of jargon like “breaking the psychological barrier”, “passing key resistance levels,” and even “magic numbers”.

While academics might argue if such things exist, market players put a lot of weight (and money) on the way certain financial instruments, indexes and currencies seem to behave near a certain number – usually a round figure.

from Matt Falloon:

It’s snow joke

Snow or no snow, these GDP figures are a nightmare for the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government and throw up the risk of a self-fulfilling spiral of gloom.

When the shock 0.5 percent drop in economic output at the end of 2010 hits television screens on Tuesday night as families sit down to dinner, already-cautious consumers will feel more than a winter chill.

from The Great Debate UK:

Why is the UK still in recession when the U.S. isn’t?

Recent U.S.  gross domestic product data show the world's biggest economy emerged from recession in the third quarter, while in the UK data show that in the same period Britain's economy contracted.

British economist and author John Kay theorizes that Britain is mired in its worst recession on record in part because government support has not been evenly distributed across sectors.

Where is the economy headed?

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bank.jpgBritain’s second-quarter GDP growth was precisely zero, reflecting the country’s weakest performance since the recession of the early 1990s.

With growth in the services and manufacturing sectors equalling the dismal figures of 2005 and interest rate futures rising, it’s a double whammy, hitting both our pockets and, some would say, our morale.

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