European inflation

European inflation, Jan 2014: Eurostat

  • Euro area annual inflation was 0.8% in January 2014, stable compared to December 2013.
    • A year earlier the rate was 2.0%.
    • Monthly inflation was -1.1% in January 2014.
  • European Union annual inflation was 0.9% in January 2014, down from 1.0% in December 2013.
    • A year earlier the rate was 2.1%.
    • Monthly inflation was -0.9% in January 2014.

 

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Retail sales growth

Retail Sales, January 2014: ONS

  • Year-on- year estimates of the quantity bought in the retail industry showed strong growth for the second consecutive month in January 2014, increasing by 4.3%.
  • Year-on-year there was notable growth in non-food stores (8.0%). Stores selling household goods increased by 9.8%, the largest year-on-year increase in these stores since July 2007. Other goods stores increased by 14.8%. However, the growth experienced by both store types was in part a consequence of a weak January 2013 where heavy snowfall during the latter part of this month could have affected sales.
  • Looking at the short term picture, the quantity bought in the retail industry fell by 1.5% compared with December 2013. The amount spent decreased by 1.8% in the same period. It must be remembered that month-on-month growth in December 2013 was particularly strong at 2.5%
  • The amount spent online showed a similar pattern to the amount spent in store. Compared with January 2013 the amount spent online increased by 8.9% but fell by 3.3% compared with December 2013.

Unemployment down

Labour Market Statistics, February 2014

  • The unemployment rate for October to December 2013 was 7.2% of the economically active population, down 0.4 percentage points from July to September 2013
  • There were 2.34 million unemployed people, down 125,000 from July to September 2013
  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for October to December 2013 was 72.1%, up 0.3 percentage points from July to September 2013
  • There were 30.15 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 193,000 from July to September 2013
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for October to December 2013 was 22.1%, virtually unchanged from July to September 2013.
  • There were 8.93 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 8,000 from July to September 2013

More women starting businesses on the High Street

Female entrepreneurs take charge of high street growth: FSB

  • Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) data used in a BBC report shows the UK’s high streets have seen a dramatic number of women starting-up businesses than at any previous time
  • Half (49.5%) of small firms established in the past two years in retail, or hotels, catering and leisure are owned primarily by women
  • This is in stark contrast to high street businesses started more than 20 years ago. When the FSB last surveyed its members it found that only a quarter (24%) of these businesses were primarily female owned

Businesses optimism on a high

Business Trends: BDO

  • UK business optimism reached its highest level for 22 years in January, indicating that the economy will continue to grow rapidly over the coming six months
  • The Optimism Index, which predicts business performance two quarters ahead, reached 103.8 in January, up from 103.4 in December. This is the highest reading ever recorded since readings began 22 years ago and sits well above the 100.0 mark, meaning the UK is expected to outperform its long-term historical growth trend
  • The Employment Index rose to 101.3, up from 99.4 the previous month. The index now stands at its highest level since August 2008 and above the crucial 100.0 mark for the first time since March 2011, signalling that UK job creation is likely to exceed trend growth over the coming months
  • The Inflation Index read 97.9 in January, its lowest level since November 2009 and down from 98.7 at the end of last year.

Inflation down

Inflation, January 2014: ONS

  • 1.9% growth in Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in the year to January 2014, down from 2.0% in December 2013.
  • The fall in the rate resulted from price movements for recreational goods & services, furniture & household goods and alcoholic beverages & tobacco. These were partially offset by price movements for miscellaneous goods & services.
  • 1.8% growth in CPIH (includes owner occupiers’ housing costs) in the year to January 2014, down from 1.9% in December 2013. RPIJ (an improved variant of the Retail Prices Index) grew by 2.1%, up from 2.0% in December 2013.

European GDP up

GDP Q4 2013: Eurostat

  • GDP rose by 0.3% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with the previous quarter
  • In the third quarter of 2013, GDP grew by 0.1% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU28.
  • Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.5% in the euro area and by 1.0% in the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2013, after -0.3% and +0.2% respectively in the previous quarter.
  • Over the whole year 2013 , GDP fell by 0.4% in the euro area and rose by 0.1% in the EU28.