The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England meets on Thursday, May 10 to decide the direction of interest rates.
Following a weak UK Q1 2018 GDP growth of only 0.1%, the slowest since Q4 2012 (read here) and inflation falling from 2.7% in February to 2.5% in March (against a Bank of England target of 2%), the market is now pricing in a 17% of a rate rise in May. The market had factored in a 100% chance of a hike just a few weeks ago.
UK 10-year bond yields fell 5bps during the week. The 10-year bond now yields 1.4% (up 0.32% over the past year)
We recently wrote about the UK household savings ratio falling to a record low of 4.9% in 2017 (since comparable records began in 1963) as growth in households’ spending exceeded the growth of households’ income. (Read more here).
The US, the UK, France and Spain all reported GDP numbers over the last week.
US real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.3% in the first quarter of 2018 as per an advance estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Read more about it here.
Personal consumption collapsed, with vehicle sale falling significantly. Business inventories were up significantly too. Total employee compensation (which includes wages and benefits) rose 2.7% over past 12 months, up from 2.4% a year ago and the highest since Q3 2008, while the household savings rate fell to a multi-year low of 3.1%.
UK GDP was estimated to have increased by 0.1% in Q1 2018 as per the Office for National Statistics. We reported here at the end of March that UK households’ saving ratio fell to the lowest ever on record as mortgage and consumer credit outstanding hit the highest ever.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals that the US unemployment rate has a hit a new multi-year low four to eight months before the start of every recession since the 1940s. In other words, the economy hits full employment four to eight months before the start of a recession.
The graph below might help visualise it better (the shaded areas indicate recessions),
Hidden away in the European Central Bank’s supervisory and prudential statistics are metrics for asset quality. It isn’t easy to find and if you do find them then the spreadsheets won’t open without issues. Once If you manage to get them to work you will find some quite stunning statistics.
US employers added only 103,000 jobs in March as against 185,000 new jobs expected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Jobs have been added for 90 straight months, the longest phase on record. January’s job addition number was revised sharply downward from 239,000 to 176,000. Wage growth was 2.7% which was largely down to tax cuts driven wage rises earlier during the year rather than real wage inflation.
Any addition under 80,000 new jobs a month would cause the unemployment rate to rise. As we covered earlier, unemployment has always hit record multi year lows on an average 6 to 12 months before the start of a recession.