PMIs Show Growth Accelerating in UK

A rise of more than one point in the service sector purchasing managers’ index signalled a strong start to the second quarter, and suggested that growth across all sectors has returned to its strong rates of last autumn. Markit, which produces the PMI surveys, says the PMIs are consistent with 0.8% growth, at least. The […]

UK GDP: Milestones That Show the Nightmare Is Over

Milestones are either in sight or have been passed. The latest quarterly rise in gross domestic product (GDP), 0.8%, takes us within a whisker, 0.6%, of its pre-crisis peak. “Onshore” GDP, excluding North Sea oil and gas, is already 0.4% above pre-crisis levels, because of the weakness in recent years of Britain’s offshore energy production […]

Union Blues: Would an Independent Scotland Honor Her Debts?

There are still nearly five months to go until the referendum on Scottish independence but the debate is definitely hotting up. The polls are getting more interesting. Buoyant is the default position of Alex Salmond, SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister, but he is unusually buoyed up at present. He, after all, has a history […]

Britain’s Balance of Payments Sinks in Sea of Red Ink

One question keeps coming back to me from readers. Why, when it was such a big issue in the past, does the balance of payments no longer seem to matter anymore? And, related to this, are we now entering a period in which it may indeed start to matter again, perhaps quite a lot? There […]

UK: A Nasty Looking Current Account

Today’s GDP figures – the third take on the final quarter of 2013 – showed a rise of 0.7%, as before, and confirm that business investment contributed significantly to that growth. Overall wages and salaries rose by 3% in 2013 compared with 2012. More here. The bad news today with in the balance of payments. The […]

UK Inflation Falls—and a Puzzle

The UK’s February inflation figures were good, showing a drop in consumer price inflation from a below-target 1.9% to even further below target at 1.7%. If the squeeze on real wage growth had not already ended – as I think it had – it is clearly on the run now. Inflation has not been this […]

UK’s Export Gloom Rains on Osborne’s Parade

So, was it one of those budgets that will last about as long in the memory as the spring daffodils, or was it more enduring than that? In the two pieces I wrote ahead of Wednesday’s budget, one said there should and could be no big giveways given the state of the public finances. The […]

UK Budget: Osborne’s Responsible Give-Away

George Osborne’s aim in the budget was to demonstrate that the government’s plan is working and to show that he has not given up on rebalancing the economy. Did he succeed? The Office for Budget Responsibility’s numbers are unremarkable – growth of 2.7% this year and 2.3% next – but they help. So does the […]