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UK GDP growth picked up in Q3 but this bounce is likely to be fleeting, judging from latest downbeat business surveys.
According to the latest Royal Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs, labour market conditions in Scotland remained robust during October, with recruitment agencies signalling sharp growth in permanent placements and temp staff billings.
The Bank of England’s latest forecasts show inflation staying above the 2% target, despite rising UK rate expectations. Prices should get a further boost from the looser fiscal policy announced in the Budget. But, as ever, all those forecasts hinge on a smooth Brexit.
The US economy is motoring along, driven by recent tax cuts, keeping the Fed on course for further gradual tightening in coming months. However, signs of weakness in the Euro area mean a rate hike is some way off.
Good news for the consumer. Not only have average earnings posted their largest rise since 2009 but inflation fell more than expected, boosting hopes the recent real income squeeze is coming to an end.
UK growth has picked up a bit of speed in Q3, judging from latest monthly GDP figures, with strength widespread. However, recent favourable weather flattered the headline rate, so a moderation in growth looks likely in Q4.
Wales outperforms all other UK regions for business activity growth in third quarter according to latest NatWest Regional PMI® report
The North West and Wales jointly led regional business activity growth in September, according to the latest NatWest Regional PMI® report, with the latter enjoying the strongest performance across the third quarter as a whole.
Private sector firms in the South East reported a faster rate of business activity growth during September, linked to stronger client demand, according to the latest NatWest PMI® survey. Nonetheless, the region continued to under-perform relative to the UK rate of expansion.
Latest monthly UK PMI surveys were upbeat, hinting at firmer Q3 GDP. Increasing skill shortages suggest a pick-up in wage growth in coming months, supportive for cash strapped consumers.
The UK recovery remains imbalanced. Consumer spending rebounded in Q2 but investment weakened. Ongoing Brexit uncertainty continues to overhang the corporate sector.