The UK's unemployment rate fell yesterday from 6.2% to 6%, the lowest level seen since October 2008. The number of people out of work in the UK fell by 154,000 in the three months to August. That takes Britain’s jobless total down to 1.972 million. This is the largest annual fall in unemployment on record.
Real wages in the UK economy are still shrinking, however, there are signs that the gap between wage growth and inflation are closing at last. The ONS reported yesterday that average earnings including bonuses in the UK rose by just 0.7 annually in the June - August quarter. However, Tuesday’s fall in inflation to 1.2% has closed the gap between wage growth and inflation to 0.5%.
Due to yesterday’s weak inflation figures and today's poor wage growth figures, economists are again rewriting their predictions for when the Bank of England will start to raise interest rates. Some analysts expect a rate rise in November are now expecting the BoE will hold interest rates at 0.5% until next summer. This explains the fall in GBP against most currencies over the last two days.
There was a triple dose of bad news from America yesterday. US retail sales fell 0.3 per cent in September, the first decline since January, and worse than the 0.1% decline expected, suggesting consumers are becoming more cautious by cutting back spending.
US producer prices (what firms receive for their goods) has also fallen, down 0.1% in September, in the first decline since August 2013. That is the latest in a swath of signs that inflation is falling.
The Empire manufacturing report, which tracks factories in the New York area also slumped. It fell to 6.17 this month, from 20.5 in September. Both manufacturing conditions and the new orders index hit the lowest level since April.
This has all added to fears of a global economic slowdown with weak inflation data being reported in the UK, America and China the past two days, coupled with the continued deflationary pressures in the Eurozone. World stock markets also fell sharply yesterday, with investors seeking save havens pushing down the yields of both UK and USA government bonds and the price gold being pushed up
In the Eurozone yesterday, Germany’s CPI figures remained unchanged at 0.8%. Market troubles also flared up in Greece again yesterday. Greek equities fell 6.3% yesterday and Greek 10-year bonds have jumped from around 7% to 7.5%.
10:00 BST: EUR - Eurozone Consumer Price Index (YoY) expected to fall to 0.3%
13:30 BST: USD - US Initial Jobless Claims expected to rise to 290k
13:30 BST: USD - US Continuing Jobless Claims expected to fall to 2.38M
14:15 BST: USD - US Industrial Production (MoM) expected to rise to 0.4%
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