Week ahead January 18th

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We kick off the week with our usual look ahead at the forthcoming statistical releases. Mid way through January and its feeling like business as usual with a pretty full calendar of data covering prices, pay and some notable international releases.

Inflation

On Tuesday we get the final inflation print for 2015. CPI had been oscillating around zero for most of the year and we had been expecting signs that it would be starting a climb back towards the end of the year. However, the Bank of England recently revised their outlook for inflation in their quarterly Inflation Report in November and this pointed to CPI remaining subdued until the turn of this year. With further declines in oil and petrol prices a reading close to zero is looking likely. The impact of High Street discounting in the run up to Christmas will also have a bearing on whether we see much, if any, movement.

Producer price data has been in negative territory since the middle of 2014 on the back of falls in a basket of commodity prices. That trend has continued so no let up in the falls in factory gate prices looks in prospect.

Labour market

The positive news on the labour market should continue on Wednesday with the headline unemployment rate remaining at 5.2%. We've had an unbroken run of growth in private sector employment since the end of 2011, while this slowed in the latter part in 2015, there are few signs that this will go into reverse for November. There have been a number of significant job cuts announced in the UK's ailing steel sector, these will become apparent in the official data in the coming months.

Also, closely watched in the labour market release will be what's happening with earnings growth. This hasn't quite taken off as expected and it is likely average earnings growth in the three months to November will come in under 2.5% again. Adding to the picture on pay is EEF's Pay Bulletin, which covers pay deals in the manufacturing sector for the three months to December. Again, the picture has been subdued in the second half of last year and ahead of the big January pay round, this is likely to remain the case. The Bulletin will be available on Thursday. 

A few international data points to watch

On Tuesday, China is first out of the blocks with its GDP estimate for the fourth quarter of 2015. And at the end of the week, Friday sees the flash PMIs for key eurozone economies - can the momentum continue into 2016?

Blogs for the week ahead

In addition to the week's data we'll be blogging on the new National Infrastructure Commission; where are we with Devolution and some new Education and Skill statistics.

 

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Chief Economist

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