After last week’s busy week – including the Budget, EEF’s Manufacturing Outlook, Production and Trade data – this week is set to be a fairly quiet one in comparison.
On Wednesday the ONS will release labour market data for January. Despite initial fears, the labour market has held up well since the Referendum. In the three months to December, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.8% - its lowest level since September 2005, while the number of people employed rose by 35,000. This resulted in the employment rate reaching a record high of 74.6%. With various economic indicators, notably industry PMIs as well as our own Manufacturing Outlook survey pointing to the economy being in good health, we expect another strong month for labour data.
The European Central Bank will release Eurozone inflation data for February on Thursday. In the year to January inflation rose to 1.8%. The rise reflected a sharp increase in energy inflation, a likely consequence of the recovery in oil and other commodity prices. With this set to continue, we expect a further month of rising inflation as higher input costs are passed on to consumers. Headline inflation could therefore potentially reach the 2% mark for the first time since 2013.