The unemployment rate in the UK is continuing to tumble. In the 3 months to July the unemployment rate has fallen to 6.2% from 6.4% in the previous 3 months. This is the lowest jobless rate since November 2008, the quarter when Lehmans Brothers Collapsed. This was a much bigger fall than anticipated showing the labour market is continuing to improve and is a positive sign the UK economy is continuing to head in the right direction. Also the number of people receiving unemployment benefit fell to 966,500 in August, the first time it’s been below one million since 2008.
On a slightly more negative note, UK earnings rose by 0.6% in the last 3 months, however, in real terms when taking into consideration yesterday’s inflation rate of 1.5% wages are continuing to fall.
There were also the results of the Bank of England’s interest rate decision. The results were the same as last month with 2 members voting for an interest rate hike and the remaining 7 members voting to keep interest rates at 0.5%.
Inflation in America came in lower than expected, as CPI fell 0.2% in August, dropping to 1.7% year on year. The major reason for this was because of a big drop in energy and gasoline prices, falling 2.4% and 4.1% respectively. The drop in inflation has taken some pressure off the Fed having to increase interest rates any time soon.
The US federal reserve revealed last night that another of its senior officials was opposed to keeping interest rates at record lows. Projections released by the Fed suggest that interest rates could now be 1.35% by the end of 2015 higher than the 1.15 projection made in June. The fed has also continued its course of tapering quantitative easing by reducing asset purchases from 25B to 15B.
As a result we saw the dollar strengthen against most of its major peers when this information was released.
There was also inflation data out from the Eurozone yesterday. Inflation in the Eurzone is still very low; markets were expecting a fall from 0.4% to 0.3% year on year but it did actually remain constant at 0.4%. One of the reasons the ECB cut interest rates 2 weeks ago was to try and remove the continued threat of deflation; the effect of this would not have been felt in this set of data. However, it will be welcome news to the ECB that inflation has not fallen further.
09:30 BST: GBP – Retail Sales (Aug) expected to rise to 4.1% from 2.6%
13:30 BST: USD – Initial Jobless Claims expected to fall to 305k
13:30 BST: USD – Continuing Jobless Claims expected to fall to 2.477M
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Daily Market Report - 18/09/2014