Archive forMarch, 2016

UK consumer confidence unchanged in March: GfK

As per a GfK survey, the UK’s consumer confidence index remained at 0 in March, following a similar reading in February, the worst since December 2014. Consumer confidence was dampened over concerns about Britain’s referendum on the EU membership. Conversely, GfK’s poll displayed households were more optimistic about their personal finances than a year ago.

Eurozone money supply remains steady in February

As per the European Central Bank, the Eurozone’s M3 money supply grew 5% y-o-y in February following a similar rise in January and in line with market expectations. Growth in money supply averaged 4.9% in the three months to February. Conversely, the annual credit growth rate for residents in the euro area accelerated to 3.2% from 2.6% in January.

Unemployment in Japan advances to 3.3% in February

As per data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the unemployment rate in Japan rose to 3.3% in February from 3.2% in January. The job-to-applicant ratio remained flat at 1.28 in February, the highest level since December 1991.

Barry Gibb Interview on Vox Markets – 24/03/2016

Barry Gibb of Beaufort Securities on VOX Markets discussing the London Stock Exchange, Advanced Oncotherapy, Motif Bio and MySquar.

Next sees ‘challenging year’ ahead

Retailer Next has forecast that 2016 will be a “challenging year” for its business, “with much uncertainty in the global economy”. The prediction came as the High Street chain unveiled its annual results for the year to 30 January, showing a modest rise in profits. Pre-tax profit for the 12 months came in at £836.1m, up from £782.2m a year earlier. Next said the year ahead “may well be the toughest we have faced since 2008”.

UK inflation remains at 0.3% in February

As per data released by the Office for National Statistics, the UK consumer price index remained unchanged at 0.3% in February. On an m-o-m basis, consumer prices rose 0.2% in February after falling 0.8% in January. The agency stated that food prices witnessed the biggest increase during the month, while transport costs declined. The inflation numbers are much lower than the Bank of England’s target of 2%.

UK manufacturing output slips to its lowest since 2009

As per the Confederation of British Industry, UK’s manufacturing output fell to -15 in the three months to March, from 0 in February, marking the largest decline since 2009 in the three months to March. The drop was due to volatility in the food and drink sector. The total monthly order book balance improved marginally to -14, and export orders were unchanged at -19.

Opportunities in the Uncertainty

‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you’ from the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling, published in 1910.

The insights into the human condition by Rudyard Kipling of ‘Jungle Book’ fame seem to be particularly relevant to the present moods and condition of investment markets. When there are so many countervailing trends, both private and professional investors might be forgiven for an element of confusion demanding of a cool head. There is an overwhelming need to be able to cut through the noise and to ignore what may prove to be irrelevant. So, what are the issues facing investors as we approach the end of the turbulent first quarter of 2016 with the FTSE 100 Index, after all the fuss, only marginally changed year-to-date?

UK house prices rise for third consecutive month: Rightmove

Rightmove, a property tracking website, revealed the average asking price in the UK increased 1.3% m-o-m in March after a 2.9% increase in the previous month. House prices rose 7.6% y-o-y compared with a 7.3% gain in February. The average selling price moved above £300,000 for the first time amid rise in demand and tight supply.

Bank of England maintains bank rate

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England (BoE) retained its benchmark interest rate at 0.5%, with 9-0 votes in favour of maintaining rates. The reading has remained same since March 2009, and matched market expectations.

Unemployment in UK remains at 10-year low

As per the data from the Office for National Statistics, the UK’s unemployment rate remained at 5.1% in the three months to January, similar to Q4 2015. The number of unemployed decreased 28,000 to 1.68 million during the period. Moreover, the employment rate stood at 74.1%, the joint-highest level since the current records began in 1971.

Eurozone employment rises in Q4 2015

As per data from Eurostat, employment in the Eurozone increased 1.2% y-o-y in Q4 2015 after rising 1.1% in the previous quarter. Employment in manufacturing increased 0.2%, while it fell 0.2% each in construction and agriculture and fishing sectors. Also, trade and services activity employment grew 0.4%.

Eurozone industrial production rises most since 2009

As per data from Eurostat, industrial production in the Eurozone increased 2.1% m-o-m in January 2016, the highest rate since September 2009, after declining 0.5% in December 2015. Industrial output received a boost from a 7.3% rise in the production of non-durable consumer goods. Capital goods and durable consumer goods grew 4.6% and 3.2%, respectively. On a y-o-y basis, industrial output expanded 2.8% after a 0.1% drop in the previous month.

UK economy to grow at slower pace

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) expects the UK’s economy to expand 2.2% in 2016 from the earlier estimate of 2.5%. The downgrade was due to weaker growth in most areas of the economy, reflecting global slowdown. Moreover, the agency cut its growth forecast for 2017 to 2.3% from 2.5% and anticipates the economy to expand 2.4% in 2018.

ECB cuts interest rates and expands stimulus package

The ECB reduced its main interest rate to 0.0% from 0.05% and cut its bank deposit rate to -0.4% from -0.3%. The bank increased its monthly purchases under the asset purchase programme to €80bn from £60bn, starting in April. In addition, the ECB reduced the inflation forecast for 2016 to 0.1% from 1.0%.

House price balance in UK gains in February

As per the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the monthly house price balance in the UK rose to +50 in February from a downwardly revised +48 in January. The prices gained as investors sought to buy houses before the government implements a 3% surcharge on their purchases from next month. However, the three-month outlook for house prices declined to +21 in February from +33 in January.

Eurozone’s GDP expands 0.3% in Q4 2015

As per the data from Eurostat, the Eurozone’s economy grew 0.3% in Q4 2015, following similar expansion in Q3 2015 and in line with the earlier estimate. On a y-o-y basis, the region’s GDP grew 1.6% in Q4 2015 compared with the previous estimate of 1.5%. The growth was led by a 1.3% increase in investment spending in Q4 2015.

UK retail sales increase marginally in February : BRC

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), like-for-like retail sales in the UK increased 0.1% in February after rising 2.6% in January. Among the individual components, the sales of housewares and furniture surged, while food and clothing sales slumped. Total sales rose 1.1% y-o-y in February vis-à-vis 3.3% growth in January.

UK new car registrations increase in February: SMMT

As per data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), new car registrations in the UK surged 8.4% y-o-y to 83,395 units in February, the highest since February 2004. The increase was mainly due to a 22.6% jump in private registrations. Additionally, diesel and petrol registrations grew 5.6% and 10.7%, respectively.

UK services sector hits three-year low

As per data released by Markit, the UK services purchasing managers’ index fell to 52.7 in February from 55.6 in January, the lowest level since 2013. The decline was ascribed to the prospect of Britain voting to leave the European Union and a slowdown in the global economy. In addition, the new orders received by UK service providers rose at the slowest pace since March 2013.

Construction growth in UK slows to 10-month low

As per the data released by Markit, the UK’s construction PMI slipped to 54.2 in February from 55.0 in January, the lowest in 10 months. The slowdown was due to weak growth in residential and commercial building work. Moreover, subdued output and new business growth resulted in weaker job creation across the construction sector in February.

UK shop prices fall for 34th consecutive month: BRC

According to the British Retail Consortium, shop prices in the UK fell 2.0% y-o-y in February, compared with 1.8% in January, marking the 34th straight month of decline. The decrease was primarily due to a 0.4% drop in food prices in February and non-food deflation of 3% for the third consecutive month.

Eurozone enters into deflation in February

As per the data from Eurostat, consumer prices in the Eurozone fell to -0.2% in February after rising to 0.3% in January. The decline was largely due to an 8% drop in energy prices in February compared with a 5.4% decrease in the last month. This deflationary situation exerts substantial pressure on the European Central Bank to improve prices and meet its target of 2% inflation.