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The Bank of England is widely expected to cut UK interest rates for the first time since March 2009 on Thursday.
It is anticipated that Mark Carney, the Bank governor, will announce a reduction from 0.5% to 0.25% at noon. Last month the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to hold interest rates, despite economists predicting a cut. While a reduction is not certain, there is increasing pressure on the Bank to act after recent poor economic data. With a sharp fall in the services sector, factory activity down and the construction industry also slowing, most economists argue now is the time for action.
The number of jobs advertised last month was higher than at the same time last year, suggesting that Britain’s booming jobs market was not affected by the EU referendum result, according to Reed.co.uk, the recruitment website. There were 8.2 per cent more vacancies on offer last month compared with a year before, it said, as employers continued to take on new staff. Skills shortages are high in many sectors of the economy because of record employment levels, which mean there are fewer skilled workers looking for a job. The figures from the UK’s biggest jobs site show that more than two thirds of all sectors in the economy were healthier than they were last year, with education, construction and security leading the way, while Northern Ireland and northwest England saw the fastest increase in job vacancies. Several surveys have shown that while optimism has decreased among businesses, job cuts have been small as employers take a “wait and see” approach over Brexit negotiations.
Electric car charging stations will outnumber petrol stations by 2020, a car company has predicted. There are more than 4,100 charging stations, many with multiple points, up from a few hundred in 2011. The number of petrol stations has been falling for decades, down from 38,000 in 1970 to 8,500. Nissan, which produces the Leaf electric car, calculated from current trends that by August 2020 there would be 7,900 charging stations and only 7,870 petrol stations. There would need to be many times more charging stations than petrol stations to provide the same capacity, however, because even rapid chargers take 20 minutes to top up a car.
Sharp Brexit slowdown in services sector signals recession, economists say
Britain’s services industry has suffered its largest month-on-month decline on record, according to a closely watched survey. Markit’s Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) found that business activity in the largest segment of the economy in July was down by 4.9 points in the wake of the EU referendum, more than in any survey since data collection began in 1996. The shock of Brexit broke a string of records. The steep fall in services output brought an abrupt end to three and a half years of uninterrupted growth. The rate of decline was the highest since March 2009, when the financial crisis was ripping into the wider economy. The index of 47.4 matched the ‘flash’ preliminary released 10 days ago, down from 52.3 in June. Anything over 50 indicates growth, while a reading under 50 indicates contraction.
Brexit presents “unprecedented” opportunities to seal trade deals that are beneficial to both the UK and foreign partners, according to the boss of Britain’s biggest car dealer.
Reporting steady gains in revenue and profit at the half-year stage, Pendragon chief executive Trevor Finn said although there has been “some uncertainty” because of the unexpected result of the referendum, the business has seen no change in sales volumes or enquiries. Britain leaving the EU and the time it will take to negotiate an exit offer massive advantages to the UK, he said.
“We have got the opportunity to reset trading relations,” said the chief of the FTSE 250 business, which owns the Evans Halshaw and Stratstone brands. “We have knowledge of the terms of every trade deal the EU has as we are still part of that and that gives us a huge, huge advantage.
Car sales have levelled off after a record 2015 and strong growth this year, new figures show. New car registrations rose by just 0.1% in July, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
A total of 1,599,159 new cars have been registered so far this year, putting demand at 2.8% higher than for the same period in 2015 following a strong first quarter. July followed the 2016 trend, with lower private registrations offset by fleet purchases, which rose by 5%.
Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles remained strong, with 24.7% more registrations compared with the same month in 2015.
The SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “After a healthy start to 2016 and record registrations in 2015, the market is showing signs of cooling. “The automotive market is a vital part of the British economy and it’s important government delivers the economic conditions which instil business and consumer confidence.
“With low interest rates, attractive finance options and exciting new models coming to the showrooms, the market still has lots to offer customers.”