Market news

10 October 2019

UK economy contracts in August - ING

James Smith, the developed markets economist at ING, notes that UK's GDP contracted by 0.1% in August, suggesting there is very little to cheer about in the UK economy at the moment.

  • "Admittedly it is worth noting that this latest fall in output followed a decent July figure, which was revised upwards to 0.4%. It is also true that the 0.7% fall in manufacturing output during August was amplified by a fall in volatile pharmaceutical production, according to the ONS (the UK’s statistics agency).
  • However, that was counterbalanced by greater momentum in transport-related output – many of the factory shutdowns that normally occur over the summer had been brought forward to April to shield against possible Brexit-related disruption. That meant that output was perhaps slightly higher for the time of year.
  • In the short-term, there is some potential for manufacturing to bounce back as stock building activities resume ahead of October 31 – albeit with inventory levels already high and warehousing space scarce, this will be on a much more limited scale than before the original March deadline.
  • That said, the economy will most likely avoid a near-term technical recession. Consumer activity is continuing to grow, even if confidence remains fairly depressed. Shoppers appear to have been less fazed by the ups-and-downs of the Brexit process than businesses.
  • But even so, economic growth is likely to remain fairly modest for the rest of this year, averaging around 0.2-0.3% per quarter. This means that the Bank of England is likely to remain cautious, although we still feel its probably too early to be pencilling in UK rate cuts."

Market Focus
  • Eurozone industrial production rose more than expected in August
  • German economy stuck in weak phase, crisis unlikely - Economy Ministry
  • China auto sales fell for a 15th consecutive month in September
  • China's exports fall more than expected in September

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