Chinese manufacturing continues to contract

It is now 11 months in a row that China has seen a contraction in this major sector. The Flash China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) produced by the bank HSBC, and eagerly awaited in economic circles, shows that the nine-month low of 47.6 in August, reached 47.8 mid way through September. The cause for concern is that any figure … Continue reading

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UK Growth is “on a plateau”

Is the UK economy grinding to a halt? Latest figures show that GDP in the first quarter of 2011 grew at only 0.5%. This follows on from a decline of 0.5% in the last quarter of 2010, which suggests that overall the economy has stood still for the past six months. As Joe Grice, chief economist for the ONS put … Continue reading

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Large companies are swimming in cash, while consumers are drowning in debt

So says the Quarterly Economic forecast produced by the Ernst & Young Item Club. They forecast that UK GDP growth will be only 1.8% this year, but will rise to 2.3% in 2012 and 2.7% in 2013. Where will the growth come from? They believe that there will be a “major revival” in business spending and forecast that business investment … Continue reading

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UK Manufacturing grinds to a halt

Manufacturing has been driving our economic recovery, such as it is, and was expected to continue to do so. But, there is bad news. Although manufacturing output grew by 0.9% in January, it failed to grow at all in February. Alan Clarke, UK economist at BNP Paribas, was quoted as saying that the data was “bitterly disappointing”. The wider measure … Continue reading

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Homeowners paying off mortgages at record rate

In 2010, homeowners paid back over £24bn of their mortgage borrowings, which was the highest amount since records began in 1970. Detailed figures from the Bank of England also showed that £7bn was repaid in the final quarter of 2010, compared to £6.6bn in the third quarter. This means that mortgage repayments have exceeded borrowings for eleven consecutive quarters. This … Continue reading

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Shock rise in UK prices

CPI annual inflation, the government’s target measure, was 4.4% in February, which was a substantial rise on the figure of 4.0% recorded in January. Most analysts had been expecting a rise, but not by as much as this. This is the highest figure since October 2008. The main upward pressure on prices came from domestic heating costs – particularly gas, … Continue reading

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Pensioners have been ‘hit particularly hard’ by the recession

Both pensioners and the poorest households have been badly hit by the recent recession, according to a report produced by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) and funded by the BBC. The IFS estimates that in the three years from 2008 to 2011 real household incomes will have fallen by 1.6%, or £360 per year. This means that households are … Continue reading

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The UK’s Inflation Problem: Selling England by the Pound?

This is the title of a speech which Andrew Sentence, of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has just given. He is diametrically opposed to Mervyn King’s analysis of the current situation, believing that current levels of inflation are not temporary; that interest rates need to be raised; and, that in not taking action now the Bank is putting … Continue reading

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Squeeze on living standards is inevitable says Merv

“In 2011, real wages are likely to be no higher than they were in 2005. One has to go back to the 1920s to find a time when real wages fell over a period of six years.” “The squeeze on living standards is the inevitable price to pay for the financial crisis and subsequent rebalancing of the world and UK … Continue reading

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Oops! CPI inflation rises to 3.7%. Zimbabwe here we come

“Inflation will soon be in double figures” says Governor of the Bank of England. “We can’t raise interest rates. That’s the only thing preventing David Cameron’s fiscal policy turning the country into a total wasteland.” Well he didn’t actually say that, but he might have liked to. The Governor’s mantra that inflation will eventually come down of its own accord, … Continue reading

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