UK | Latest GDP numbers offered a curate’s egg
The latest GDP numbers were a mixed bag. Growth accelerated to a three-month high in September, but this was almost wholly due to higher health output. And past revisions revealed a softer than expected performance in Q3. Burgeoning cost of living pressures will weigh on activity over the rest of this year and into 2022. That said, recent high-frequency data and retail surveys suggest that consumers’ appetite to spend has not run out of steam yet.
What you will learn:
- September’s gain left the economy 0.6% shy of its immediate pre-COVID size in February 2020, the smallest gap since the pandemic began.
- GDP growth in September was heavily dependent on the health sector, where activity was boosted by a big increase in face-to-face appointments at GP surgeries and a surge in Covid testing.
- But with the easy gains from reopening the economy exhausted and policy support being withdrawn, the recovery has entered a much tougher phase.
Big shifts are underway in Russia-China trade
Data for Q3 on the volume of China's imports of crude from Russia show a drop against the June level. Rather than an indication that China's demand has peaked, this may be a sign that China is preparing for the Russian oil price cap recently agreed by G7 by shifting some of its purchases to the grey market.Find Out More
Levelling up is unlikely under the Liz Truss government
The government's levelling up ambition has probably been made more, not less, difficult by the new "Plan for Growth". Policies of lower taxes, less regulation, and a smaller state are unlikely to have much beneficial impact on long-term growth at the national level, let alone in those regions with long track records of underperformance.Find Out More