In August 2015, unemployment increased for the second month in a row, adding weight to the arguments of ratesetters in the ‘lower for longer’ camp. Latest ONS figures showed the jobless total up 25,000 in the three months to June to a total of 1.85 million, however, the unemployment rate itself did not shift. Interest rates were held in early August by a vote of 8 to 1, as the Bank released its latest inflation report showing expectations that a first rise would come in or around February 2016.
A news article posted by the private bank Duncan Lawrie recently suggested that with the General Election now fading into memory, short-term political uncertainty appears to have faded as well. Issues like the EU referendum and the devolution of more powers to Scotland are still bubbling away in the background, but the consequences are probably too far in the future to affect confidence today, so recent economic data has enjoyed a short-term fillip.
International real estate advisor Savills has reported that total transaction volumes in the UK retail warehouse investment market totalled £1.264 billion in the first half of 2015, marking a 28% increase on the £981.95 million transacted in the same period last year.
Why should you care about the Greek financial crisis? Does it really matter what happens to Greece? Wouldn’t it really be a good thing if it went back to the drachma, the currency collapsed and holidays became dirt-cheap again?
According to Business Insider magazine, Greece’s economic woes began in the 4th Century BC, a time when Plato and Aristotle were alive. Thirteen Greek city-states borrowed from the Temple of Delos, but most of the borrowers defaulted and the Temple lost 80% of the money it loaned.
UK manufacturing executives say that their strategic focus going forward is one that is innovation led, supported by attractive UK corporation taxes like the Patent Box, according to the latest KPMG Global Manufacturing Outlook. The report found that nearly half (48%) of UK manufacturers said that their company’s strategic focus is on innovation and that only two per cent felt that UK taxes are a challenge to their business in the next 12–24 months.
According to the Home Builders Federation (HBF), official statistics released in late May show that 40,340 new homes were started in England in Q1 of 2015, the highest quarterly number since 2007. The figures show that the momentum from 2014, which saw 137,310 new homes started, up 10% on 2013 and 60% on the trough in 2009, is gathering speed.
Wage growth in Britain hit a four-year high of 2.7% in April, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures, delivering a welcome increase to household finances following the fall in inflation this year. But some analysts warned that the jump in real wages, the highest for seven years, would be short-lived if inflation continued to rise over the rest of the year and productivity remained flat.
CEOs worldwide appear to be more concerned about the impact of a skills shortage on their business than at any point in the last six years, according to research by PwC, published in June 2015. CEOs are now finding it so difficult to find people with the skills they need to grow their business that three quarters of the 1,322 CEOs across 77 countries interviewed by PwC, rank skills shortage as the biggest threat to their business. This represents a 10 percentage point jump from 2014 and is up from less than half (46%) six years ago.
Chancellor George Osborne has surprised voters, political and business leaders alike by announcing that he will take the unusual step of delivering a second 2015 Budget on 8th July, just one hundred and twelve days after the Budget of 18th March. With an Autumn Statement also due later in the year, the second Budget will mean the Chancellor will deliver three important economic summaries and policy plans in the space of just nine months.