Week in Review - 15th April, 2011

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↓ CPIAfter five consecutive monthly rises, CPI annual inflation fell, by 0.4 percentage points, to 4.0% in March. RPI inflation also fell, to 5.3%, from 5.5% in February. The rate of inflation fell principally because of a 1.4% drop in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, the largest ever fall for a February to March period, partly as a result of pre-Easter discounting. Upward pressure came from transport – particularly fuel prices – and furniture, household equipment and maintenance.
↑ UK TradeThe UK's deficit on trade in goods and services improved to £2.4bn in February, compared with a deficit of £3.9bn in January. This was a result of both falling imports and rising exports. The deficit on trade in goods alone also narrowed in February, to £6.8 billion, from £7.8 billion in January.
↑ Labour market statisticsThe numbers of people employed rose by 143,000 in the three months to February and – despite the fact that GDP contracted in the last quarter of 2010 – in many cases these were full time, permanent hires. Consequently, the ILO measure of unemployment fell by 17,000 over the quarter to 2.48 million and the three-month unemployment rate rose to 7.8%. The claimant count measure of unemployment – which records the number of people claiming Job Seekers' Allowance – was more or less unchanged, remaining at 1.45 million. There are 88,700 fewer claimants than at this point last year.
↔ EEF Pay SettlementsThe three-month average pay settlement was 2.4% in March, unchanged from February and January. The monthly average settlement was 2.7% in March compared with 2.3% in February. Average settlements are still some way below the rate of CPI inflation, however.
The week ahead
Wed 20th: Public sector finances; MPC minutes; Trends in Lending
Thu 21st: Retail sales

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