April 21, 2021
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UK: subdued reflation pressures in Mar-21

  • Inflation disappointed expectations again in Mar-21 as it only increased to 0.7% y-o-y on the CPI and 1.5% on the RPI, although the latter was precisely in line with our forecast (index at 296.9). Food and recreation prices were the main sources of weakness.
  • The CPI outlook seems slightly softer than we previously thought. Further increases remain likely, aside from a July blip, with the peak slightly over 2% in Nov-21. Subdued median inflation suggests underlying pressures are not reflating excessively.

April 20, 2021
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UK: mid-winter freeze in employment

  • The UK unemployment rate declined again to 4.9% in Feb-21 as the downwards bias from respondents during lockdowns extended. This effect remains likely to unwind after re-opening, just like it did after the initial lockdown.
  • Furlough continues to freeze the labour market in a state that is inconsistent with either prevailing output or the behavioural trends of the new normal. The tight labour is squeezing firms to raise wages and frustrating rebalancing forces by design.

April 13, 2021
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UK: trade rebounds better than GDP

  • UK GDP limped up by 0.4% m-o-m in Feb-21, with services growing at half that rate in the ongoing lockdown. Few businesses have reopened even by 4 April, so March is also likely to remain fairly flat. January’s smaller fall slightly shrinks our Q1 dip call to 1.9%.
  • External trade data were more depressed in January and have recovered more swiftly, especially in exports to the EU. The underlying deficit still deteriorated on non-EU weakness, although these data may remain distorted by post-Brexit reporting changes.