Queen delineates British PM’s EU referendum plan

May 28th, 2015

Queen Elizabeth outlined the referendum plans set by Cameron’s Conservative government, highlighting that the UK would renegotiate its relationship with the European Union for the benefit of all member states. A law facilitating a referendum, to take place by the end of 2017, is expected to be introduced in the parliament today.

UK retail sales surges in May: CBI

May 27th, 2015

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s retail sales balance climbed to +51 in May, much ahead of April’s +12; the expected sales balance for June increased to +58. Meanwhile, the overall business situation reading improved to +20. The rise was ascribed to low inflation, which boosted consumer spending power.

Greece’s reform proposals inadequate: Blanchard

May 26th, 2015

IMF’s chief economist Olivier Blanchard informed that Greece’s reform plans to ensure a 3% budget surplus are insufficient as the most recent projections indicate a considerable budget deficit. He added that several structural issues need to be fixed. Greece is in negotiations with its international creditors to unlock €7.2bn in bailout cash.

UK factory order outlook upbeat despite slowdown in May

May 22nd, 2015

According to a survey from the Confederation of British Industry, the total order book balance fell to -5 in May, its lowest in seven months, from +1 in April. However, the selling prices balance rose to +2 from -3 in April and the export order book balance improved to -7 from -11. Moreover, the manufacturers were optimistic about the short-term outlook.

BoE unanimously votes to maintain interest rates

May 21st, 2015

According to the minutes from the Bank of England (BoE)’s meeting in May, the members of the monetary policy committee voted 9-0 in favour of holding the interest rates at 0.5%. Moreover, the minutes mentioned that inflation is expected to remain around zero in the near term, primarily led by a drop in food and energy prices.

UK house prices accelerate in March: ONS

May 20th, 2015

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed house prices in the UK increased 9.6% y-o-y in March compared with a 7.4% gain in February. The price rise was driven by lower activity levels especially due to reduced number of available homes in the run-up to the general elections. Several areas in the East of England, London and the South East of England reported a double-digit gain in prices. The average cost of a home in the UK stood at £273,000 in March.

IMF raises Italy’s growth outlook

May 19th, 2015

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised its growth forecast for Italy to 0.7% for 2015 from the earlier projection of 0.5% in April.This would be the country’s first economic expansion since 2011. The upward revision was led by better-than-expected growth of 0.3% in the first three months of 2015. In addition, the agency marginally raised the growth outlook for 2016 to 1.2% from 1.1%.

UK house prices cool in May: Rightmove

May 18th, 2015

Property tracking website Rightmove reported the average asking price for a new house in the UK declined 0.1% m-o-m (to around £285,891) in May, following a 1.6% m-o-m increase in April. The decline was largely ascribed to uncertainty during the run-up to the general elections.

Carney advocates quick EU referendum

May 15th, 2015

The Bank of England Governor Mark Carney suggested that he favoured an early EU referendum on the country’s membership status in the EU, as the delay would lead to business uncertainty. The Conservatives promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership to the EU before the end of 2017.

BoE cuts growth projections for UK

May 14th, 2015

In its quarterly report, the Bank of England (BoE) downwardly revised the 2015 growth forecast for the UK to 2.5% from 2.9% as estimated previously. Likewise, forecasts for 2016 were also trimmed to 2.6% from 2.9%. The bank expects inflation in the UK to be around 0.6% in 2015 and 1.6% in 2016.

Osborne talks tough in Brussels

May 13th, 2015

At a meeting with his fellow European Union (EU) finance ministers in Brussels, the UK’s Finance Minister George Osborne said the new government has a ‘very clear mandate’ to change the terms of the country’s membership in the EU before a referendum on whether the UK should quit the bloc. The minister stated that the new government would be constructive but firm in negotiations with other EU partners.

Beaufort’s “Beauties & Beasts”: Barry Gibb’s presentation to private investors at the UK Investor Show, Westminster – 18/05/2015

May 12th, 2015

Beaufort’s “Beauties & Beasts”: Barry Gibb’s presentation to private investors at the UK Investor Show, Westminster on Saturday 18th April 2015. Featuring Poundland Group (PLND.L), Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO.L), Fox Marble Holdings (FOX.L), Infinis Energy (INFI.L), Quadrise Fuels International (QFI.L) and Rosslyn Data Technologies (RDT.L)

UK retail spending declines in April: BRC

May 12th, 2015

The British Retail Consortium stated retail sales in the UK contracted 1.3% in April vis-à-vis a 4.3% rise in March. On a like-for-like basis, retail spending dropped 2.4% y-o-y compared with a 3.2% y-o-y increase in March. The sales were primarily impacted by the early Easter holidays.

China’s Central bank cuts lending rate

May 11th, 2015

The People’ s Bank of China slashed its benchmark lending rates by 25 basis points to 5.1% for supporting an ailing economy. This has been the third cut in the last six months. In 2014, the country’s growth rate stood at 7.4% compared with 7.7% in 2013.

Conservatives set to win UK general election

May 8th, 2015

According to the latest poll results for 499 declared seats out of the total 650, the Conservatives were leading in 216 seats, a gain of 17 seats, while the Labour Party was lagging at 200 seats, a loss of 29 seats. SNP emerged as the third largest party with 55 seats, a gain of 49 seats.

UK services PMI at eight-month high

May 7th, 2015

The latest PMI data from Markit revealed service providers in the UK commenced Q2 2015 on a strong note. The UK services PMI rose to 59.5 in April, increasing for 28 successive months, compared with 58.9 in March. Moreover, employment growth was strong and the sentiment remained optimistic despite the upcoming elections.

UK shop price decline rate slows in April: BRC

May 6th, 2015

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), retail prices in the UK declined 1.9% y-o-y in April compared with a 2.1% y-o-y drop in March. Food items reported a deflation of 0.9% while the price of non-food items decelerated 2.5% for the month. With almost zero CPI and rising real wages, consumers are likely to benefit from the low prices.

Eurozone investor confidence falls slightly in May

May 5th, 2015

A survey from Sentix revealed the investor confidence index dropped to 19.6 from 20.0 in April. The expectations measure also narrowed to 26.5 compared to 31.5 last month. However the investors remained more optimistic about the current situation as the index improved to 13.0 from 9.0 last month.

Eurozone’s unemployment rate remains steady in March

May 1st, 2015

Data from Eurostat showed that the Eurozone’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 11.3% in March, the lowest in nearly three years. The number of unemployed people in the region stood at 18.105 million. The jobless rate was 11.7% in March 2014.

UK retail sales growth cools in April: CBI

April 30th, 2015

The Confederation of British Industry’s retail sales balance stood at +12 in April compared to +18 in March. The drop is ascribed to the declining sales among grocers, despite a broad-based increase among most types of retailers. On the other hand, the optimism over next month’s sales improved strongly.

Mortgage approvals in UK rise in March

April 29th, 2015

The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) stated house purchase mortgage increased to a six-month high of 38,751 in March from 37,453 in February, mainly driven by lower mortgage rates due to reduced prospect of a rate hike by the Bank of England. Moreover, consumer borrowing rose £400m m-o-m in March.

UK spending power confidence improves in March: Lloyds

April 28th, 2015

The latest Lloyds Bank Spending Power Report indicated people are more optimistic about the current situation in the UK as the index jumped 10 points to 207 in March 2015. Meanwhile, the overall index rose 4 points to 158 due to optimism in personal, household and employment situation in the country.

Industrial profit in China falls in March

April 27th, 2015

The China National Bureau of Statistics revealed industrial profits in March fell 0.4% y-o-y to ¥508.61bn. In Q1 2015, profits declined 2.7% y-o-y to ¥1.25tr. The agency attributed the slower decline to a steeper drop in raw material prices and reduced financing costs.

Merkel intends to prevent Greece from running out of cash

April 24th, 2015

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel met Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Brussels. After the meeting, she stated that Greece should be prevented from defaulting before it signs a cash-for-reform deal with its international creditors. The details of the meeting were kept confidential.

Germany lifts growth forecast for 2015

April 23rd, 2015

Germany raised its economic growth projection for 2015 to 1.8% from the earlier 1.5% in January. The revision factored in strong performance in the labor market, including record high employment rate with rising wages, and higher consumer spending in the country.

Eurozone debt surges to record high

April 22nd, 2015

In the Eurozone, the government debt to GDP ratio rose to a high of 91.9% y-o-y for 2014 compared to 90.9% a year earlier. At 177.1%, Greece recorded the highest ratio (175% in 2013). Meanwhile, the government deficit to GDP ratio declined to 2.4% from 2.9%. Denmark, Germany, Estonia and Luxembourg recorded a government surplus for the year.

IMF official expects positive development between Greece and its creditors

April 21st, 2015

Poul Thomsen, Director of the IMF’s European Department and head of its programme with Greece, informed positive developments have taken place in the negotiations between Greece’s government and its creditors in the past few days. The Greek government’s finances are likely to last until June, he further added.

Making sense of the Maelstrom

April 20th, 2015

Promises, promises and yet more promises, A General Election is upon us and the investment outlook has probably never been more polarised. As the bookies’ odds on the election outcome show, both main parties are running close and any polls favouring one party have been reversing fairly quickly. For investors, whether in equities, bonds or even capital projects, the extreme rhetoric from some politicians directed to stir disaffected grass roots voters has created a highly-charged and nervous investment environment in the run-up to the 7th May Election Day. However, as the accompanying chart shows, despite the uncertainty, the FTSE 100 and the 250 Indices have broken up to new highs since the start of the year.

Rightmove: UK asking house prices soar in April

April 20th, 2015

According to Rightmove, the asking house prices in UK accelerated 1.6% m-o-m in April from 1.0% in March, which escalated the average asking house price to £286,133. However, on y-o-y basis, the price growth slowed to 4.7% from 5.4% in March.

ECB raises growth projections, lowers inflation forecast

April 17th, 2015

The ECB’s Survey of Professional Forecasters for Q2 2015 indicated inflation in the Eurozone is likely to reduce to 0.1% in 2015 due to lower oil prices, but would stand at 1.2% and 1.6% in 2016 and 2017, respectively, on accommodative monetary policy measures. On the other hand, real GDP growth projections were raised to 1.4% for 2015, 1.7% for 2016 and 1.8% for 2017. The earlier GDP estimates were 1.1% for 2015, and 1.5% for 2016 and 1.7% for 2017.