- UK Economy Falls to Bottom of EU Growth League
The United Kingdom economy was the worst performer in the European Union in the opening months of 2017 as the Brexit vote took its toll, according to official statistics that underscore the challenge facing the next British government.
With economic growth of just 0.2 per cent in the first three months of this year, the UK was well behind its European neighbours, The Guardian reported.
Official EU figures released as Britons went to the polls on Thursday showed the growth for the whole of the EU was 0.6 per cent in the first quarter.
The eurozone single currency bloc also grew 0.6 per cent in the opening quarter, buoyed by strong domestic demand.
The Eurostat figures showed every nation in the 28-member bloc reported first-quarter GDP figures growing faster than the UK. The strongest expansion was in Romania at 1.7 per cent, followed by Latvia at 1.6 per cent and Slovenia at 1.5 per cent. The closest countries to the UK’s weak pace of growth were France and Greece, with GDP growing 0.4 per cent in both.
However, in year-on-year terms the UK was closer to the EU performance and ahead of the 19-nation eurozone. After a strong second half to 2016, when the economy defied predictions of a post-referendum slump, UK GDP was still 2 per cent bigger in the first quarter of 2017 than a year earlier. The EU’s economy was 2.1 per cent bigger on the year while the eurozone was up 1.9 per cent.
Recent business surveys have suggested the UK economy has picked up some momentum in the second quarter after its slow start to 2017. But with higher inflation weighing on consumer spending, most forecasters expect growth to be lacklustre over 2017 as a whole and even weaker in 2018.
The main pressure is expected to come from higher inflation, stemming largely from the pound’s sharp fall since the Brexit vote last year. That has made the many imported goods to the UK more expensive and been passed on to consumers. Wages meanwhile have failed to keep pace with those price rises and so workers are worse off in real terms and have been cutting back.
Prospects for the 19-nation eurozone, by contrast, have brightened.
Political uncertainty has diminished now France’s presidential election is out the way, unemployment has fallen, business surveys point to solid demand and a continuing recovery in the global economy could boost exports, economists say.
The confirmation that the UK was the worst performer in the EU growth league in the first quarter follows news last week that it was also trailing behind the world’s advanced economies, with Canada registeringd stellar growth in the first three months of the year.
The outlook for the UK was tough but stronger global prospects should provide some cheer, economists said.
“Brexit has been partly to blame for slower UK growth, as higher prices due to lower sterling and uncertainty hit retail spending and the willingness of firms to invest,” said George Buckley, economist at the financial firm Nomura.
“But it’s not all bad news – this is as much a story about global strength as it is about downside risks to the UK, which should eventually support exports”
Global Oil Drops as Coronavirus Infections Rises in India and Other Nations
Oil prices declined on Monday during the Asian trading session amid rising concerns that the surge in coronavirus in India and other nations could force regulators to enforce stronger measures at curbing its spread and eventually affect economic activity and drag on demand for commodities like crude oil.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, declined by 22 cents or 0.33 percent to $66.55 per barrel at 8:19 am Nigerian time on Monday, following a 6 percent surge last week.
The US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) declined by 18 cents or 0.29 percent to $62.95 per barrel, after it gained 6.4 percent last week.
The decline was after India reported 261,500 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, taking the country’s total cases to almost 14.8 million, second to only the United States that has reported over 31 million coronavirus infections.
“With … a resurgence of virus cases in India and Japan, topside ambitions continue to run into walls of profit-taking,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at Axi.
Businesses in Japan believed the world’s third-largest economy will experience a fourth round of coronavirus infections, with many bracing for an additional slow down in economic activity.
While Japan has had fewer COVID-19 cases when compared with other major economies, concerns about a new wave of infections are fast rising, according to responses in Reuters poll.
On Tuesday, April 20, 2020, Hong Kong will suspend all from India, Pakistan and the Philippines because of imported coronavirus infections, authorities stated in a statement released on Sunday.
India’s COVID-19 death rose by a record 1,501 to hit 177,150.
Global Markets Near Record Peaks and Will Get Stronger: deVere CEO
As the FTSE 100 hits 7,000 points for the first time since the Covid pandemic, global stock markets are poised to “get even stronger”, says the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.
The observation from Nigel Green, the chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as London’s index jumped over the important threshold in early trading in London, gaining over 0.5% to 7024 points.
Mr Green notes: “London’s blue-chip index is up 40% since the worst lows of the pandemic.
“This landmark moment represents the wider optimistic sentiment gripping global markets which are near record peaks.
“We can expect global stock markets to get even stronger as investors look to seize the opportunities from economies reopening.
“They are looking towards economies rebounding in a post-pandemic era due to the monetary and fiscal stimulus, pent-up cash and demand, and strong corporate earnings.
“The current ultra-low interest rate environment and the under-performance of bonds will also act as a catalyst for stock markets.”
However, the CEO’s bullish comments also come with a warning.
“I would urge investors to proceed with caution as there are some headwinds on the horizon, including relations between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, which could be coming to a tipping point in coming weeks.
“As such, in order to capitalise on the opportunities and mitigate risks, investors must ensure proper portfolio diversification.”
Mr Green concludes: “A variety of factors are going to drive global stock markets. Investors will not want to miss out and should work with a good fund manager to judiciously top-up their portfolios.”
Refinitiv Expands Economic Data Coverage Across Africa
Building on its commitment to drive positive change through its data and insights, Refinitiv today announced the expansion of its economic data coverage of Africa. The new data set allows investment managers, central bankers, economists, and research teams to use Refinitiv Datasteam analytical data for detailed exploration of economic relationships and investment opportunities among data series covering the African continent.
Securing reliable, detailed, timely, locally sourced content has not been easy for economists who have in the past had to use international sources which often can take many months to update and opportunities to monitor the market can be missed. Because Africa is a diverse continent, economists and strategists need more timely access to country-specific data via national sources to create tailored business, policy, trading and investment strategies to meet specific goals.
Africa continues to develop critical infrastructure, telecommunications, digital technology and access to financial services for its 1.3bn people. The World Bank estimates that over 50% of African inhabitants will be under 25 by 2050. This presents substantial opportunities for investors who can spot important trends and make informed decisions based on robust and timely economic data.
Stuart Brown, Group Head of Enterprise Data Solutions, Refinitiv, said: “Africa’s growing, dynamic and fast evolving economies makes it a focal point for financial markets today and in the coming decades. As part of LSEG’s commitment to empowering the global markets with accurate and timely data, we are excited about making these unique datasets available via the Refinitiv Data Platform. Our economic data coverage of Africa will provide our customers with deeper and broader inputs for macroeconomic analyses and enable more effective investment strategies and economic research.”
Refinitiv Africa economic data coverage:
- Africa economics content comprises around 500,000 nationally sourced time series data covering 54 African nations
- Content is sourced from national statistical offices, central banks and other key national institutions
- The full breadth of economics categories in Datastream including national accounts, money and finance, prices, surveys, labor market, consumer, industry, government and external sectors
- International sources including OECD, World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, Oxford Economics & more provide comparable data & forecasts across the continent
Refinitiv® Datastream® has global macroeconomics coverage to analyze virtually any macro environment, and better understand economic cycles to uncover trends and forecast market conditions. With over 14.2 million economic times series map trends, customers can validate ideas and identify opportunities using Refinitiv Datastream. Access its powerful charting tools, 9,000 pre-built chart templates and chart studies for commonly used valuation, performance, and technical and fundamental analysis.
Refinitiv continually grows available data – the China expansion in 2019 covered a unique combination of economic and financial indicators. Refinitiv plans to expand Southeast Asia covering Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia with delivery expected in 2021. This ensures that Refinitiv will have much needed emerging market economic content.
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