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The UK inflation rate stayed at 0.3% in February, the same as January.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the rising food prices, in particular vegetables, helped to keep the Consumer Prices Index unchanged.

Last year inflation reached zero and the annual inflation has continued to be below the Bank of England’s 2% target for the past two years. The Bank expected inflation to stay below 1% this year.

Under the separate Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure, inflation was 1.3% in February, which also showed no change from the previous month. The measure includes housing costs.

The ONS reported that government borrowing fell less than expected in February at £7.1 billion. Chancellor George Osborne is close to missing his target for cutting the budget deficit in the 2015-16 financial year. The total deficit now stands at £70.7 billion for the 11 months of the year. The chancellor’s full-year target is £72.2 billion.

The late timing of the bank holiday hit retail sales in August and the total UK sales did not change, said the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Like-for-like sales, which exclude new store space, fell 1%. Although the bank holiday fell on the 31st August, both the BRC and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the month actually ended on 29th August. 

Retailers use a system where they report on sales week-by-week from Sunday to Saturday. This means that monthly figures may not cover the whole of the calendar month. As an alternative, a quarter will be made up of two four-week periods and a five-week period.

The problem is that when a bank holiday falls in different months in certain years, it creates difficulty in comparing sales.

However, the figures that come out for September could be higher as more customers are buying for back-to-school. However, clothing and footwear sales were hit as they missed the key days when customers shop for school.

 

 

UK inflation rose in July with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure rising to 0.1%. In June, the percentage stayed at 0% and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated that the main reason that inflation rose is because of the lower prices of clothing.

However, the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation has stayed the same at 1% and this will be used to calculate rail fare increases. The fares will remain the same until next year.

For the last six months, CPI has been almost flat and turned negative in April. This is the first time since 1960. CPI inflation strips out increases in energy, food, alcohol and tobacco. In addition to this, the underlying measure of CPI inflation rose to 1.2% in July, which is a five-month high. The ongoing supermarket price war could be the reason that CPI was held back, with a 2.7% year-on-year fall in the price of food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Taking all this into consideration, there has been question over when the Bank of England might raise interest rates. The Bank has a target inflation rate of 2%.

In the past two months, the drop in the price of oil has fallen by nearly a quarter, which is why analysts have said that the inflation rate could fall back again.

The cost of living dropped to -0.1%, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) stated the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Deflation is when the cost of living becomes cheaper over time because of falling prices.

Since the official records began in 1996, it is the first time that inflation has turned negative. It also estimated that deflation has not been seen in Britain since 1960. This is good news for consumers who have suffered from years of stagnant wages since the economic crisis took hold. This means that spending power is greater as products fall in price.

On the flip side, this can be bad news for the economy if deflation continues for a long period of time because it encourages consumers and businesses to delay purchases as they hope for a better price later on. This could lead to shrinking output and therefore, cause the economy to contract. However experts said that deflation featured in April mostly because of the timing of Easter this year compared to the previous and therefore, is likely to be for one month only.

The drop in the price of oil as well as supermarket price wars has been the main cause of falling prices in the UK. Food prices fell by 3% in the year to April 2015 and prices of motor fuels dropped by 12.3%. In recent weeks the cost of oil has started to rebound and global food prices are becoming steadier, according to Capital Economics.

Between March and April 2015, the cost of petrol and diesel increased by 1.6%.

UK unemployment has continued to fall and the number of people who are in work has been on the increase, according to the latest official figures.

During the January to March period, the number of people out of work fell to 1.83 million, which is down 35,000 from the previous quarter. Compared with this, the total number of people in work rose to 31.1 million.

In April, the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 12,600 to 764,000. An additional 202,000 people found jobs between January and March, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In turn, this continued to boost the overall level of employment in the UK and this will hopefully continue to grow, with more people accepting jobs.

The UK employment rate was now at 73.5%, the highest since records began in 1971. However, on the other side of the coin, the unemployment rate fell to 5.5% in the January to March period, down from 5.7% in the October to December quarter. This was lower than the 6.8% level that was recorded a year ago.

According to the ONS, wages including bonuses rose by 1.9% in the quarter compared with the year before, and was up 2.2% if bonuses are excluded.

 

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown that UK unemployment has fallen to its lowest rate since July 2008.

Figures show that the number of jobless people has dropped by 76,000 to 1.84 million in the three months to February, the lowest for almost seven years.

unemployment-falls

The UK’S unemployment rate is now 5.6 per cent, a fall of 1.3 per cent since a year ago.

The ONS also reported that 107,000 people were made redundant over the latest three months, little changed on the end of last year but more than 200,000 fewer than the record peak of 311,000 in 2009.

Other data from the ONS showed that more than 31 million people were in work after an increase of more than half a million in the past year, the biggest total since records began in 1971.

 

The latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) the UK inflation rate has remained at a record in March.  The ONS said consumer prices rose 0.2 percent between February and March but compared with a year earlier, prices were unchanged, in line with economists’ forecasts.

Shopping

Inflation has not been this low since 1989 when comparable data began.  The prospect of falling prices is unlikely to draw a policy response from the Bank of England to raise interest rates early, these are expected to remain at 0.5% until 2016.

Clothing prices dropped by 0.1 percent from February to March, this is a first time a fall between the two months has been recorded. Subdued gas prices have also contributed, helping to reduce household bills along with the overall fall in fuel prices over the past year.

With inflation staying at a low consumers are increasing their spending.

The British Retail Consortium said the value of total retail sales in March was 4.7 percent up on a year earlier, the biggest year-on-year rise since April 2014, and much stronger than the 1.7 percent growth recorded in February.

So good news for shopaholics then and for retailers in Hastings and the surrounding areas too.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that  UK industrial industrial output and production has increased more than expected in September.

industrial-news

The Manufacturing sector has beaten economists predictions for September 2013

Economists’ predictions of 0.5% for September were surpassed as Industrial output increased by 0.9% in this period. The increase was due to increased productivity in manufacturing, mining, quarrying, and water management contributed to September’s growth.

Considering that the industrial sector currently makes up about a sixth of the UK economy this can only be another positive sign of a recovering and growing economy.

Output in September was 2.2% higher compared with the same period a year ago, marking the strongest annual growth since January 2011. Increased productivity in manufacturing, mining, quarrying, and water management contributed to September’s growth.

The ONS also said that manufacturing saw a 1.2% rise in output between August and September, with UK companies making more pharmaceuticals, transport equipment, computers, and electronics.

September’s growth lies in contrast to August, where industrial output fell unexpectedly, showing its biggest decline for nearly a year.

This news is great for Hastings and the surrounding areas as Hastings is a major manufacturing hub in the Southeast. Growth in sectors like this will help other sectors increase and generally raise confidence in the economy both locally and nationally. You can read more about Hastings industrial heritage and why manufacturing is well established and the advantages of moving your business, here.

Posted by: In: Economy, Funding, Investment, News 31 Oct 2013 Comments: 0 Tags: ,

If you wondering what the current state of the economy is and what the short to medium term outlook is looking like then you may want to have a look at the Office of National Statistics latest ONS Economic Review (November 2013) which takes all the statistics and information they compile and produces a general overview of how the UK economy is looking. In a nutshell the report contains the following.

onsnews

  • The UK’s economic recovery appears to have strengthened during Q3 2013.  The preliminary estimate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) indicated that output grew by 0.8% during the three months to September.
  • The extent of the contraction in construction output during the downturn was cushioned by a large increase in public sector and infrastructure activity. This effect is reduced in more recent periods, when construction output has instead been supported by a pick-up in private sector new housing activity.
  • The economic position of households remains under pressure. Following relatively strong growth in Real Households’ Disposable Income (RHDI) during the downturn, RHDI has been broadly flat since Q3 2009, despite cumulative real GDP growth of 4.2% over this period. This suggests the recovery is broadly similar to previous experience.
  •  The proportion of household income accounted for by expenditure on ‘essential’ household goods has risen from 19.9% in 2003 to 27.3% in 2013. The proportion accounted for by gas and electricity has risen from 1.8% in 2003 to 3.1% in 2013, despite very little overall change in the volume of household energy consumption.

For a more detailed overview head over to the site here