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Azad Zangana, European Economist at Schroders, comments on today's UK manufacturing data from the Office for National Statistics.
"The Office for National Statistics has revealed that both manufacturing output and the wider measure of industrial output were flat in November versus consensus expectations of a 0.4% increase for both compared to the previous month. Indeed, figures for October were also revised down therefore worsening the outlook. Separately, figures for construction output also disappointed for November – falling 4% compared to consensus expectations of a 0.8% growth. Along with historic downward revisions, year on year growth in construction output in November was just 2.2% compared to an expected level of 7.5%.
"Despite the wave of optimism on the UK economy, the evidence suggests that the economy slowed in the fourth quarter of 2013. We forecast fourth quarter GDP growth to slow to 0.5% from the 0.8% recorded for the third quarter. At this stage, we believe the slowdown is in reaction to the weak demand in the previous quarter and the subsequent build-up of inventories. The slowdown in activity will help reduce those excess inventories; however, we only expect to see a slight acceleration in growth in the first quarter of this year.
"While the slowdown is by no means a disaster, it will challenge the prevailing market views that the Bank of England will raise interest rates at some stage towards the end of this year. We believe the Bank of England will keep interest rates on hold until the start of 2016, regardless of the fall in the unemployment rate which it has chosen to base its forward guidance on. Indeed, we expect the Bank to reconsider the 7% unemployment threshold, and eventually lower the figure, and thereby signal a later rise in interest rates."
The views and opinions contained herein are those of Azad Zangana, Schroders and may not necessarily represent views expressed or reflected in other Schroders communications, strategies or funds.
Forecasts are subject to a high level of uncertainty regarding future economic and market factors that may affect actual future performance. The forecasts are provided to you for information purposes as at today's date. Our assumptions may change materially with changes in underlying assumptions that may occur, among other things, as economic and market conditions change.
This is intended to be for information purposes only and it is not intended as promotional material in any respect. The material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. The material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, accounting, legal or tax advice, or investment recommendations. Information herein is believed to be reliable but Schroders does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. No responsibility can be accepted for errors of fact or opinion. This does not exclude or restrict any duty or liability that Schroders has to its customers under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (as amended from time to time) or any other regulatory system.