FOXGROVE

INFLATION REMAINS ELEVATED AS THE TREASURY TALKS TOUGH ON GOVERNMENT BORROWING

  • INFLATION REMAINS ELEVATED AS THE TREASURY TALKS TOUGH ON GOVERNMENT BORROWING

    INFLATION REMAINS ELEVATED AS THE TREASURY TALKS TOUGH ON GOVERNMENT BORROWING

    Data Sourced from FE Analytics, and Bloomberg Finance LP

    INFLATION REMAINS ELEVATED AS THE TREASURY TALKS TOUGH ON GOVERNMENT BORROWING

    This week we got to hear a lot about inflation. Price increases of 3.2 per cent are significant and while this can mostly still be attributed to the pandemic and lockdown being lifted, being this far above the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target will be causing some anxiety. With retail sales slowing and the possibility of some Covid restrictions being reimposed over the winter, we expect the bank will continue its wait and see policy.

    Elsewhere, news reports suggest the Chancellor is planning his own cover version of a previous hit – fiscal responsibility. Given that the market is currently willing to pay the government to take money off its hands and spend it, this feels more like a political move than an economic one. While the wording leaked to the press leaves loopholes you could drive a bus through, any significant reduction in government spending risks putting a severe dampener on economic growth if consumers and businesses remain unwilling to borrow or invest. Coupled with rising costs in the supply chain, a mis-cue could well see a return to 70’s style stagflation.

    GLOBAL: INFLATION RUNNING HIGH BUT STILL LOOKS TEMPORARY

    UK inflation rose to 3.2 per cent in August, reaching its highest level in 12 years. Some of the increase reflects the ongoing recovery from the pandemic with restaurants, hotels and transport costs making up a lot of the increase. Higher housing costs also contributed significantly. These figures also show how the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme caused the cost of eating out to fall sharply this time last year. The Bank of England has already said it expects inflation to reach 4 per cent by year end.

    The UK inflation rate contrasts slightly with data from the US, as inflation was 5.3 per cent in August, down from 5.4 per cent in July. Inflationary pressures appear to have eased due to a reduction in core indicators such as food and energy. Treasury yields and equities fell as lower inflation diminished the prospects of an early interest rate rise from the US Federal Reserve. Eurozone inflation has followed the UK and increased sharply from 2.2 per cent in July to 3 per cent in August.

    UK: VACANCIES PASS 1M FOR FIRST TIME AS FURLOUGH DUE TO END

    Job vacancies have soared as businesses in the leisure sector fully reopened for the first time since March 2020. As well as bars, restaurants and hotels, a surge of hiring in areas such as transport and retail have helped push advertised vacancies above 1 million for the first time, 249,000 higher than pre-pandemic.

    The surge in hiring appears to be down to businesses replacing workers lost or furloughed during coronavirus restrictions rather than due to expansion as the number of salaried employees is still 2.4 per cent lower than in December 2019. The demand for jobs also needs to be seen in context of the government’s furlough scheme. At the end of July there were still 1.6 million employees on the government’s job retention scheme but the scheme is due to close at the end of September. Average earnings to the end of July are considerably higher than a year ago (up around 8 per cent) but this figure has been distorted by the furlough scheme and the number of lower paid workers who lost their jobs last year.

    EQUITIES: HIGH STREET SALES FALL IN AUGUST

    Retail sales fell again last month as the initial spike in activity following the release of coronavirus restrictions continued to unwind. Overall, sales volumes fell by 0.9 per cent and, despite recent inflation, the value of sales also dropped in August.

    Food sales have fallen substantially, partly due to pubs and restaurants reopening, but most non-food retailing has also slowed down. While online sales have risen slightly compared with July, they are around 4 per cent lower than August 2020.

    Although there has been a general drop in consumer spending, several retailers have released positive updates this week. High street bellwether John Lewis reported stronger trading at its department stores, despite closing 16 stores in the last 18 months. Associated British Foods (owner of Primark) increased its profit guidance despite supply chain issues affecting sales, while JD Sports reported very strong results as its recent US acquisitions helped boost its half-year pre-tax profits to £439m from £61m in 2020.

    For more information regarding our weekly market reports, we encourage you to give us a call on 01732 746188 or send us an email at enquiries@foxgroveassociates.co.uk.

    This document has been prepared for general information only. It does not contain all of the information which an investor may require in order to make an investment decision. If you are unsure whether this is a suitable investment you should speak to your financial adviser. This information is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or accurate. Financial Express Investments Ltd, registration number 03110696, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 209967). For our full disclaimer please visit https://www.fefundinfo.com/en-gb/about/legal-and-policies/.

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