Europe

  • 2020-01-22 04:34


    LONDON (MNI) - A burst of government spending has lifted year-to-date borrowing well above the full-year target, even ahead of a dose of government largesse expected in the March budget.

    The following are the key points from public sector finance data published Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics.

    - The UK's financial position has deteriorated markedly in the current financial year, courtesy of 5.0% surge in government spending on goods and services, the biggest year-to-date increase since records began in 1997.

    - Borrowing has increased by 7.9% over the first nine months of the fiscal year to GBP54.6 billion, far exceeding the Office for Budget Responsibility target of GBP47.6 billion.

  • 2020-01-17 04:34


    By Laurie Laird and Irene Prihoda

    LONDON (MNI) - UK retail sales fell unexpectedly in December, suggesting that previously-resilient consumers lost their nerve in the closing months of 2019.

    The following are the key points from December retail sales data published Friday by the Office for National Statistics.

    - Retail sales contracted by 1.0% in the fourth quarter, the biggest quarterly decline since the first quarter of 2017, leaving the sector poised to subtract 0.05 percentage points from Q4 GDP.

    - The disappointing data will only raise expectations that the Bank of England could reduce interest rates later this month.

  • 2020-01-15 03:40


    By David Robinson

    LONDON (MNI) - Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Michael Saunders said that the UK risks falling into a low inflation trap and advocated monetary easing.

    Saunders said the UK has been suffering from a prolonged period of sluggish growth, that activity has slowed further and that the next leg of downturn may be underway.

  • 2020-01-07 16:10


    By Brooke Migdon

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - Distributors of European specialty foods and goods urged the U.S. Trade Representative to put an end to the digital tax dispute with France Tuesday, asserting the counter measures proposed by the U.S. government have little to do with the distribution of information or communication technologies.

    Hearing witnesses said the United States' proposed retaliatory tariffs of up to 100% on wine, cheese, handbags and other French products totaling $2.4 billion would threaten their bottom lines and cause consumer costs to skyrocket.

    "I can't think of a single instance where that cost wouldn't be passed on," said Joanna Rosenberg of Zwilling J.A.

  • 2019-12-20 06:39


    -Bailey Takes Office March; Will Be In Place For That Month's MPC Meet -Bailey Has No Track Record On Monetary Policy -Career To Date In Financial Stability/Regulation

    LONDON (MNI) - Andrew Bailey has been appointed as the next Governor of the Bank of England, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid confirmed Friday.

    Bailey has built his reputation on the financial stability and regulatory wings of the Bank and has no monetary policy track record, having never sat on the Monetary Policy Committee. He will take over on March 16, ahead of that month's meeting.

  • 2019-12-20 06:00


    -Sets Out Enduring Arguments For Backing Rate Cut -Sees Further Downside Risks Linger Over UK Economy -Case For Insuring Against Lower Rate Bound By Easing Now

    LONDON (MNI) - There are still significant downside risks facing the UK economy, Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Jonathan Haskel said Friday.

    Haskel, who voted in the minority for a 25 basis point rate cut at the December meeting, set out his views on the UK economic outlook in a speech at the Resolution Foundation Friday.

    His arguments for easing, including taking out insurance by stimulating the economy now to try and avoid getting stuck at the effective lower bound, and his concerns over the lingering downside risks, Brexit uncertainty amongst them, strongly suggest he will co

  • 2019-12-20 04:51


    LONDON (MNI) - UK borrowing has already exceeded full year targets, with an expected burst of spending in the wake of the Conservative party electoral victory last week yet to come.

    The following are the key points from public sector finance data published Friday by the Office for National Statistics.

    - The UK's financial position has deteriorated markedly, even before the newly-installed Conservative government unleashes a spending plan promised in the election campaign.

    - Borrowing rose by 11.3% to Stg50.9 billion between April and November, exceeding the newly-published OBR target of Stg47.6 billion.

  • 2019-12-19 04:41


    By Laurie Laird and Irene Prihoda

    LONDON (MNI) - UK retail sales fell sharply in November, raising questions over whether consumer spending can continue to prop up the wider economy.

    The following are the key points from retail sales data published Thursday by the Office for National Statistics.

    - Retail sales fell by a more-than-expected 0.6% in November, the fourth straight month without an increase, the longest stretch of weakness since comparable records began in 1996.

    - Weak retailing activity could raise concerns amongst policy makers, as consumer spending has served as the most stable prop to the economy while business investment has faltered.

  • 2019-12-17 04:30


    By Irene Prihoda and Laurie Laird

    LONDON (MNI) - UK total wage growth slowed again in the three months to October, despite a further fall in unemployment levels, data released Tuesday showed.

    The following are the key points from UK employment data published Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.

    - A sharp deceleration in wage growth could well job a few more MPC members to consider a reduction in the Bank Rate at this week's policy meeting. Total wages increased by just 3.2%, well below expectations, and the slowest pace since the three months to September 2018.

    - Real total wages also slowed sharply across the period, rising just 1.5% after rising 1.9% in the three months to October.

  • 2019-12-10 04:56


    By David Robinson and Irene Prihoda

    LONDON (MNI) - The UK economy flatlined in October following two consecutive months of decline, resulting in no growth either in the three monthly period.

    The following are the key points from UK GDP data published Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.

    -- After two months of consecutive decline monthly GDP came in flat in October, falling short of market expectations which were for a 0.1% increase. The last time the UK economy failed to grow for three successive months was between Jan-Mar 2009.

    -- The rolling 3-month average was in line with market forecasts at 0.0%, its lowest rate since June.