Accessibility Page Navigation
Style sheets must be enabled to view this page as it was intended.

Dates for your diary: week beginning Monday 12 November

A CRITICAL WEEK FOR THE ECONOMY ... Retail sales, retail prices, unemployment, the public finances: whether you are running a small business or the chancellor the Exchequer the week ahead is set to bring a shed load of important data on the economy. For George Osborne in particular it will provide the most detailed information on which his Autumn Statement due on December 5 will be based.


Tuesday November 13

Tuesday brings latest figures on Retail price Inflation. The expectation here is that inflation moved up in October from a 34-month low of 2.2 per cent in September to 2.4 per cent.

Why? Rises in energy tariffs and higher food prices due to miserable wet weather are primarily to blame. According to the British Retail Consortium the year-on-year increase in food prices rose from 3.1 per cent to 4.0 per cent.

Another key inflation pointer is the index of producer output prices in October. This is forecast to have climbed to 2.7% in October from 2.5% in September and a low of 1.8% in July.


Wednesday November 14 2012

Bank of England Quarterly Inflation Report for November. This cardinal publication will be closely scanned for insights into two main questions: one, the future direction of inflation; and second, whether the decision to suspend Quantitative Easing last month was a temporary move or whether the Bank may be minded to resume monetary loosening any time soon.

Sir Mervyn King’s comments at the accompanying press conference may also be relevant in this regard. The likelihood is that the Inflation Report will leave the door open to more QE. Says Howard Archer, economist with Global Insight, “We expect the forecast to still show that inflation will still move below two per cent during 2013 and will be around, or just below, its 2.0% target level on the two-year policy horizon. Meanwhile, we think it is possible that the Bank of England will trim their near-term GDP growth forecasts despite the 1.0% quarter-on-quarter rebound in GDP growth in the third quarter.”

Unemployment in October: Across the UK – though not in Scotland - the labour market has been remarkably strong in recent months, given that the economy has seen only modest underlying growth. Restrained earnings growth and notable rises in part-time jobs and self-employment has supported employment. And many companies have been hoarding labour. Some firms may have also stepped up their recruitment of graduates and apprentices in anticipation of future skill shortages. And of course there was the notable if temporary Olympic Games effect in London.

There has been notable concern that he unemployment figures due on Wednesday could show a weakening in the labour market. This h been fuelled by recent survey evidence from the purchasing managers, which indicated that overall employment in the services, manufacturing and construction industries fell modestly in both September and October.

Howard Flight at Global Insight expects claimant count unemployment to have edged up by 4,000 in October after falling to a 14-month low of 1.5673 million in September. This would follow declines of 4,000 in September and 14,200 in August.  The claimant count unemployment rate is seen unchanged at 4.8% in October.

The number of jobless on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) measure is seen falling by a reduced 36,000 in the three months to September to stand at 2.528 million. This would actually imply flat unemployment in September itself. The number of ILO jobless has fallen to 2.528 million in the three months to August from a 17-year high of 2.685 million in the three months to November 2011. The unemployment rate on the ILO measure is seen remaining at 7.9% in the three months to September. This is down from a 16-year high of 8.4% in late-2011/early-2012.

Average Earnings in September: Underlying average earnings growth (out Wednesday) is expected to have crept up further r to 2.1% in the three months to September, from 2.0% in the three months to August.


Thursday November 15 2012

Retail Sales in October due out Thursday may show a slight increase of just 0.1% month-on-month in October, which would be down appreciably from September’s increase of 0.6%.