Quarterly economic briefing - January 2018

In the UK, the turbulent economic and political environment has continued to negatively impact business confidence in the past quarter and growth is projected to stay low in 2018. In contrast, global economic activity is strengthening and is projected to strengthen over the coming year. 

The briefing provides a focused assessment of a small number of key national and international economic trends to help inform and shape future plans and investment decisions as well as help to identify new opportunities.

Modest growth

GDP was estimated to have increased by 0.4% between Quarter 2 (April to June) and Quarter 3 (July to September) 2017. The UK Quarter 3 growth of 0.4% was some way short of the EU28 average of 2.6%

Interest rates rise

November’s increase in the Bank Rate from 0.25% to 0.5% was the first movement in the Bank Rate since August 2016 when the rate was reduced from 0.5% to 0.25.

Weaker pound

The continued and prolonged uncertainty around the implications of leaving the European Union mean that a weaker pound is likely to remain for the foreseeable future, causing inflationary pressures on imported goods.

High inflation

The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month rate was 2.7% in December 2017. This fell slightly on November’s rate of 2.8% which was the highest since March 2012 when it was 3.1%.

Low unemployment

The unemployment rate for August to October 2017 was 4.3%. The rate is the same as for May to July 2017 and is the joint lowest since March to May 1975.

The key economic indicators covered in this report are:

  • GDP growth
  • GDP forecasts
  • Interest rates
  • Inflation
  • Unemployment
  • Investment
  • Productivity
  • Exchange rates
  • UK Trade
  • Industry views
  • Regional outlook

Download the briefing for a short overview of the current trend along with a brief analysis of what it means for businesses. We have also included an overview of the latest government and political situation and flagged some of the key trends likely to impact businesses in 2018.  We hope that these provide additional insight and context.

We'd like to hear your thoughts on this briefing. To discuss please contact Rob Turner

The next quarterly economic briefing will be published in April 2018.

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