Bring out the tea and crumpets, ladies and gents, because we’ve got another round of top-tier catalysts lined up from the Brits this week! Here’s why each event matters, what happened before, and what analysts are expecting this time.
Headline and Core CPI (Dec. 13, 9:30 am GMT)
First up, we’ve got inflation reports due on Tuesday’s London trading session, and this should give market participants an idea of how the pound’s depreciation has affected local price levels. Keep in mind that it’s the central bank’s mandate to maintain price stability so any large swings in CPI could merit monetary policy adjustment.
In the previous release, headline CPI came in at 0.9%, down from the earlier 1.0% figure and short of the projected climb to 1.1%. Core CPI was just as disappointing since it slipped from 1.5% to 1.2% instead of improving to the 1.3% consensus. Components of the October inflation report indicated that there were downward pressures from clothing items and university tuition fees, which offset the price gains in motor fuels and furniture.
This time around, analysts are still keeping their fingers crossed for a pickup in headline inflation to 1.1% and for core inflation to recover to 1.3%. A stronger than expected read could hint that the pound’s slide is finally translating to stronger domestic inflation, which might give the BOE more reason to keep interest rates unchanged for much longer.
Jobs Reports (Dec. 14, 9:30 am GMT)
A stable jobs market tends to keep consumer spending supported even while price levels increase, as this keeps Brits confident about their financial prospects. After all, rising joblessness and falling wages could convince folks to keep their hands in their pockets and save rather than spend.
Unfortunately, the previous batch of jobs figures weren’t all that upbeat, as the claimant count or the number of blokes getting unemployment benefits for the month posted a larger than expected increase of 9.8K versus the projected 1.6K rise. To top it off, the earlier reading was revised to show a much larger rise in joblessness of 5.6K from the initially reported 0.7K figure.
Meanwhile, the average earnings index or the three-month rolling average of wage changes managed to hold steady at 2.3% for the period ending in September. The unemployment rate improved from 4.9% to its 11-year low of 4.8% but underlying figures revealed that the rise in the economically active workforce has been slowing.
For the month of November, the claimant count could show a 6.2K increase while the unemployment rate could hold steady at 4.8%. No change in the average earnings index of 2.3% for the three-month period ending in October is expected at well.
Retail Sales (Dec. 15, 9:30 am GMT)
The November retail sales report should provide a better picture of how inflation trends and the jobs situation are affecting consumer behavior. For some, positive inflation expectations likely encouraged consumers to ramp up their purchases earlier on in anticipation of higher prices down the line. Others think that the pickup in prices probably dampened spending activity or forced households to adjust their budget.
October retail sales printed a much stronger than expected 1.9% gain versus the 0.5% consensus but the November report probably won’t produce such stellar results. Analysts are expecting see a meager 0.2% uptick, although pre-holiday sales and shopping for Christmas gifts might yield an extra boost.
BOE Statement and MPC Minutes (Dec. 15, 12:00 pm GMT)
Last but most certainly not least is the Bank of England’s monetary policy statement and meeting minutes. No actual changes to interest rates and bond purchases are expected for the time being since policymakers would rather wait and see what the government’s Brexit game plan is before making any adjustments.
Keep in mind that BOE Guv’nah Carney isn’t exactly the biggest Brexit fan so it’s likely that he might use this platform to lobby his “Brexit Buffer” idea to his fellow policymakers and to market watchers as well. Still, many also expect him to highlight the positive developments in the U.K. economy to inject a fresh round of confidence and soothe investors’ nerves. This hinges on how the U.K. economic reports due earlier in the week turn out of course.
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