Economics Roundup – Tuesday 10th August

Data released over the last few days;

New car sales – fell in July, registrations from business customers fell 6.5 percent, private customer registrations were down 28.5 percent on the year – blamed on end of scrappage scheme.

June industrial output – unexpectedly fell 0.5% rather than a forecast rise of 0.2%. This was blamed on earlier than usual, i.e. in June rather than August maintenance on oil and gas fields, thus preventing full extraction.

Company failures in sharp decline, personal insolvencies may have peaked – according to the Insolvency Service.

RICS UK Housing Market Survey – shows first fall in a year. 8% more surveyors reported a fall than a rise and the number of new vendor instructions which in effect measures the amount of properties coming to the market, increased. 33 per cent more surveyors reported a rise rather than fall in properties to their books, up from 28 per cent in June.

Selected comment;

Philip Inman: Mystery of Britain’s missing exports “At the Bank of England they are scratching their heads. Across town at the Victoria Street offices of Vince Cable’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills there are the same perplexed looks. Everyone is asking why UK businesses are unable to export their way out of recession“. The Guardian.

Jeremy Warner: Mervyn King should stop complaining about bank lending and try more QE “What is obviously true, however, is that demand for working capital will increase sharply once the economic recovery takes hold, and that as things stand, the banks won’t be able to finance it. The still impaired state of the banking system could therefore put a powerful brake on growth. The Bank of England is actually not as impotent in all this as it likes to pretend. In fact it could quite easily assist in the provision of small business lending. Unlike the Federal Reserve in the United States, the Bank has concentrated virtually all its £200bn of “quantitative easing” on UK government bonds, or gilts” Daily Telegraph.

Sean O’Grady: ‘Slowflation’ – the combination the Bank of England fears most “The “double dip” recession seems to be getting closer, and growth will be slow. But shop prices will climb higher, thanks to commodity price inflation and the 25 per cent deprecation in the pound between 2007 and 2009. In 2008, the last time we saw this sort of commodity price boom, the CPI peaked at 5.2 per cent, and no one would be amazed if it hit that level again next year. We might call it “slowflation”.” The Independent