Archive forJuly, 2015

IMF wary of joining the third Greek bailout

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it may not participate in the third Greek bailout owing to the country’s increasing debt and bad record of executing economic reforms. In the absence of IMF, Greece would require additional funds from other sources to meet their short term financing needs.

UK retail sales growth slows in July: CBI

According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), sales balance in the UK slowed for the second consecutive month, dropping to +21 in July from +29 in June, missing the economists’ expectations of an increase to +30.

House prices at three-month high in England and Wales

House prices in England and Wales increased 5.4 % y-o-y in June after a 4.6% rise in May. Moreover, the prices jumped 1.1% m-o-m in June following a 0.1% m-o-m gain in the previous month. The average price for a property improved to £181,619 in June from £179,591 in May.

Factory orders in UK hit two-year low

According to the Confederation of British Industry, factory orders in the UK slipped to -10 in July, the lowest level in two years. This drop was ascribed to a strong sterling and weak global conditions.

UK referendum on EU membership to be held next June

British PM Davis Cameron told that a referendum on the country’s EU membership will be held in June 2016. The PM showed signs of early referendum owing to recent efforts taken by EU to keep Greece in the Eurozone.

Retail sales in UK drop in June

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, total retail sales in the UK declined 0.2% m-o-m in June after a 0.3% increase in May, as the annual rate of spending for the quarter slipped to its lowest level in over two years. The fall was ascribed to decline in food and non-food store sales (down 0.3% and 0.7%, respectively).

BoE ending closer to interest rate hike

The minutes of Bank of England (BoE)’s 8th July meeting indicated an increase in the interest rate this year, especially in light of Governor Mark Carney’s speech last week. The decision on the interest rate would be taken in the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in August.

Osborne tightens government spending plans

UK Chancellor George Osborne announced his spending review, with a proposal to slash £20bn from the Whitehall budgets in the next four years. The Whitehall departments are advised to cut their budgets by 40% and ensure savings of 25%. Furthermore, the Chancellor has ordered ministers to sell off publicly owned land to provide at least 150,000 homes by 2020.

IMF and ECB confirm Greece repayment

Greece repaid its arrears to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) after it received €7bn as a bridge loan from the EU. The country cleared overdue debt repayments of €2.05bn and €4.2bn to the IMF and ECB, respectively.

Greece banks to open after three-week shutdown

Banks in Greece are set to open today, since they closed on 28th June 2015, with a modified withdrawal limit for customers, from €60 a day to €420 a week. Customers can deposit through cheques, withdraw money without an ATM card, pay bills and have access to safety deposit boxes. However, restrictions on transfers abroad and other capital controls remain.

Yellen hints gradual rate hike

Fed Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the central bank plans to raise the interest rates in a gradual and prudent manner, considering the improvement in the labour market and the overall economy. However, Ms Yellen abstained from revealing any dates, stating that an earlier hike may threaten recovery, whereas a delayed hike may overheat the economy.

Greece votes in favour of bailout amid violent protests

The Greek parliament voted 229-64 in favour of austerity measures, including wage and pension reforms, to stay in the Eurozone. The country’s international lenders demanded this to commence talks on the new €86bn bailout package. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was compelled to seek support from pro-European opposition leaders to pass the motion, even as some of his own party members protested against it.

Carney hints at earlier interest rate hike

At the Parliament’s Treasury Committee meeting, the Bank of England’s Governor Mark Carney stated that the time for an interest rate hike was ‘moving closer’ in the country. He cited steady growth, stable domestic costs and a stronger sterling as the primary reasons for the recent economic recovery. The BoE has held rates at a record low of 0.5% for over six years since the financial crisis.

Greece reaches cautious deal with its creditors

The Eurozone’s finance ministers agreed on a third bailout plan for Greece, which includes providing €86bn over a period of three years. Although the rescue package contains provisions to reschedule debt repayments, it does not offer any reduction in debt. The bailout is contingent on Greece’s government passing several reforms by tomorrow, including reforms to restructure pensions, increase tax revenue and liberalise the labour market.

Debate over Greece’s rescue plans continue

The latest discussion among European finance ministers was focussed on the new terms for a possible bailout plan worth €86bn for Greece. The country would need to implement tough economic reforms on pensions, labour, taxes and privatisations by Wednesday. In the event of no deal, Greece may be required to temporarily leave the Eurozone.

IMF downgrades growth forecast for UK

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced its growth forecast for the UK to 2.4% for 2015 from 2.7% due to lower oil prices and uncertainty over Greece. Moreover, the agency cut its global growth forecast for 2015 to 3.3% from 3.5%.

Osborne presents Budget 2015

UK chancellor George Osborne presented his first Conservative Budget, in which he increased the minimum wage to £7.20 per hour from £6.50. Moreover, he pledged to cut corporation tax to 19% by 2017 and 18% by 2020 from 20%. In addition, he informed that it would take four years instead of the previously stated three years for the country’s large budget deficit to turn into surplus.

Economic growth in UK accelerates in Q2 2015: NIESR

As per National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR), the UK economy grew 0.7% in the three months ended June 2015 compared with 0.6% for a similar period ended May. On y-o-y basis, the growth was 2.7%. In view of this, NIESR expects Bank of England to begin raising interest rates early 2016 onwards.

Tsipras to unveil new deal proposal today

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is likely to present a new set of reform proposals at an emergency Eurozone summit in Brussels today. The meeting follows Greece’s rejection of the creditors’ bailout offer and resignation of the country’s finance minister. Meanwhile, Greek banks are expected to remain closed for two more days.

Greece votes ‘No’ in the referendum

Yesterday, Greece voted a decisive ‘No’ to reject the reform package from its international creditors. The vote not only heightens the country’s confrontation with its lenders but also creates uncertainty over Greece’s future membership status in the single-currency bloc.

UK house price growth slows to two-year low

As per Nationwide’s latest report, house prices in the UK dropped 0.2% m-o-m in June, due to which the annual growth rate decelerated to 3.3% y-o-y from 4.6% y-o-y in May. However, the chief economist at the agency maintains that house prices are likely to be firm over the second half of the year amid improving activity. The agency expects prices to rise 6% y-o-y in 2015.

EU has to walk ‘Very Fine Line’ on Greek Debt: Michael Franklin on Bloomberg’s “The Pulse”, 2nd July 2015

The European Union has to “walk a very fine line” in finding a solution to the Greek debt crisis which enables it to settle up with Greece while not causing resentment in other countries such as Spain, Portugal and Italy, according to Michael Franklin, chief investment strategist at Beaufort Securities. He spoke in an interview with Francine Lacqua and Manus Cranny on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse.” (Source: Bloomberg) – 02/07/2015

Carney raises concern over impact of Greek crisis

In the Bank of England’s financial stability report, Mark Carney warned against the impact of Greece exiting the Eurozone despite the UK’s limited exposure to the country. He expects the contagion to spread to other countries where the UK has higher exposure and may prompt a greater market adjustment that would test the market liquidity.

UK GDP for Q1 2015 revised upwards

According to the Office for National statistics, UK’s GDP growth for Q1 2015 was revised to 2.9% y-o-y from 2.4%. On a q-o-q basis, the GDP growth was revised to 0.4% from the previous 0.3%. The improvement was primarily led by a 4.5% rise in real household disposable income during the quarter.