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UK inflation falls to 2.5%Back



UK inflation falls to 2.5%

UK consumer price inflation fell in March to 2.5%, the lowest rate in a year, according to the Office for National Statistics. It fell from 2.7% in February after prices for clothing and footwear, in particular womenswear, rose at a slower rate compared to this time last year. Alcohol and tobacco also helped ease inflation pressures. ONS head of inflation Mike Hardie said the new autumn Budget means tobacco duty rises no longer appear in March. The new data may raise doubts over predictions that the Bank of England is set to raise interest rates in May.


IMF predicts stronger growth but warns of risks

The International Monetary Fund has forecast that 2018 will be the strongest year for global growth since 2011. In its new assessment of the World Economic Outlook, the IMF predicts growth this year and next of 3.9%. However, it warned that performance could be curtailed by trade barriers. For the UK, the IMF has made a modest upgrade for growth this year to 1.6%. For next year, the forecast has been slightly reduced, to 1.5%. The IMF report warned that the current momentum was “not assured”.


De La Rue abandons passport appeal

De La Rue has abandoned its plan to appeal against the government’s decision to award a contract to make UK passports to a Franco-Dutch company. The UK firm said that since its announcement on 22 March, it had “considered all options”. De La Rue also issued its second profit warning in less than a month, saying income will be around £60m to £65m. It blamed £4m in costs for tendering to continue making UK passports, as well as delays in other contracts. The burgundy passport, in use since 1988, will revert to its original blue and gold colour from October 2019.


The Financial Times


China makes trade concession to US by opening car industry to foreigners

Beijing has conceded to US policymakers by lifting ownership rules that limit foreign investment in Chinese carmakers, the first significant sign China is willing to bend to American demands. The Chinese government said it would abolish foreign ownership caps on electric vehicles, shipping and aircraft manufacturing by the end of the year. Donald Trump has blasted the allegedly unfair treatment of US car exports and threatened tariffs and investment restrictions in sectors where access to China’s market is more limited than the US’s. The ownership restrictions, which currently require foreign companies to set up 50-50 joint ventures with a Chinese partner in order to manufacture cars domestically, would also be removed for commercial vehicles by 2020 and all others by 2022.


The Times


Pothole damage to cars doubles in three months

The number of cars damaged by potholes has almost doubled since the start of the year, adding to anger over Britain’s crumbling roads. Figures from the RAC show that it was called out to 5,540 vehicle faults linked to substandard road surfaces in the first three months of 2018. That was up from 2,841 in the previous three-month period, although it was less than for the comparable time at the start of 2017. The RAC said that the number of pothole-related call outs between January and March this year was the third highest quarterly total since it started collecting data 12 years ago.


Unemployment drop and rise in pay are cause for optimism

Britain’s employment rate has hit a record high, joblessness is at a 43-year low and wages are rising in real terms for the first time in a year, according to official figures. With strong job creation, the labour market has been an economic bright spot for years but pay has been weak and the spike in inflation after the Brexit vote affected living standards. Real earnings started shrinking a year ago, when inflation overtook pay, but the Office for National Statistics says that the trend was reversed in the three months to February. Earnings grew 2.8 per cent while inflation dropped to 2.7 per cent.

Posted by Paul Carpenter on 18/04/2018