RIP old RPI!? Nah, we’ll just stick with the old Retail Price Index formula said the National Statistician on Thursday morning, surprising just about every analyst in our inbox and making holders of index linked gilts pretty darn happy. Yields have fallen by between 22bps and 38bps across maturities at pixel.
The ONS had four options to choose from, moving from ‘no change’ to the RPI through to ‘lots of change’. Each choice would have involved the Carli index, that most prettily named devil, which isn’t used by any other advanced economy’s statistical measures due, primarily, to its large upward bias. But, obviously, it still persists within the RPI where, according to estimates, it was worth nearly a 1 per cent bump in the measure per year. Read more
Head to the East Midlands.
The Office for National Statistics is out to get the Retail Price Index… or at least the part of responsible for the ‘formula effect gap’. But before we get to the sexy stuff — involving gilts and clauses and all — a quick statistical primer is called for.
The RPI began life as a compensation index, developed as an aid to protect ordinary British workers from price increases associated with WWI. It didn’t become the main domestic measure of inflation until much later. Read more
Something of a puzzle is emerging in the UK’s labour market.
The overall employment picture is definitely improving. According to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, the economy added more than 431,000 new jobs in the past year and the employment rate is now considered to be relatively high. At the same time, however, there’s no doubt that labour productivity has been falling — quite the opposite to the picture in the US, where productivity has been rising sharply. Read more
There is a bit of a debate developing regarding Wednesday’s employment data and in particular the significant increase in the claimant count.
For example, FT Alphaville quoted Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight saying: Read more
UK retail sales figures are out and they have managed to undershoot expectations.
The City was braced for a fall for May as consumers put their hands back in their pockets after splashing out in April (because of the good weather, the Royal Wedding, and the late Easter). Read more
FT Alphaville loves data mysteries — and there’s something particularly ironic about fourth-quarter UK productivity data not being, erm, produced on time.
Anyway, the UK’s Office for National Statistics said earlier this week that the Q4 productivity numbers scheduled for Wednesday would be delayed until April 7 because of “data quality issues.” Read more
What price a May (or even April) rate hike after Tuesday’s higher than expected inflation reading? What price a mea culpa from Mervyn King?
Desperately chugging the champagne as the lights go out — or, 2011′s new and improved UK inflation basket:
Sparkling wines are also being added due to their increased consumption, showing that despite difficult economic times, people still want to enjoy themselves Read more
Buried a bit deep in Wednesday’s inflation report from the Bank of England — a little from BoE governor Mervyn King to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The central bank is now claiming that CPI inflation may have been “biased down” between 1997 to 2009, because of a 2010 change in the way the ONS interprets clothing and footwear prices. So basically, the BoE says that measured inflation is now running 0.3 per cent higher than otherwise because of the ONS — convenient for a central bank under the kosh for failing to meet its inflation target (for ages). Read more
Time to get the quill out again, Governor.
From the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday morning: Read more
UK CPI inflation surged to 3.7 per cent in December, notching up the biggest ever month on month rise of 1 per cent. The market had been expecting a figure closer to 3.3 per cent, a fact which now creates some uncomfortable reading for the Bank of England’s Monetary Polciy Committee, says FT Alphaville. Another point to bear in mind is that the 3.7 per cent rise comes even before January’s VAT increase has taken effect. Key drivers for the increase came from price rises in air transport, petrol, diesel, gas and food between November and December, according to the Office of National Statistics said. Read more
Concerns over the reliability of official economic statistics intensified on Monday after the Office for National Statistics refused to reveal why it had chosen last month to delay the release of GDP figures, reports the FT. As the data – which offered data revisions from 2006 to the start of this year – were published a fortnight late on Monday, City economists and others who use statistics had various theories about what had gone wrong. Read more
Publication of all official data related to the UK’s national accounts will be postponed until mid-July after the Office for National Statistics announced it had found “potential errors” in the data, reports the FT. The possible mistakes were spotted in the detailed breakdowns of expenditure in the economy just before the release of the gross domestic product figures, which had been due on Wednesday. Read more
Yep, the UK claimant count unexpectedly rose in January. In fact it was the biggest rise since July.
From the Office of National Statistics on Wednesday: Read more
After six quarters the UK’s longest, and possibly deepest recession since the second world war has ended – but only JUST.
Q4 GDP rose 0.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter, well below forecasts. (A 0.4 per cent rise was expected). Read more
… but not by much.
From Reuters on Wednesday: Read more
The recession in the UK continues. In fact it is now the longest on record.
From Reuters: Read more
Yes, we know. The UK Q1 GDP figures are horrible. But for a truly frighteningly experience we thought we would direct you specifically to the two following components: annual change in total production output, and the quarterly fall in manufacturing output.
As Reuters neatly sums up, at -12.3 percent and -6.2 per cent respectively both notch up the biggest declines since records began in 1948. So much for competitive devaluation you might say. Read more
Back to 1960!
Those expecting the first negative retail price index number in the UK since 1960, will be disappointed. The latest CPI/RPI figures from the Office of National Statistics show deflation has been successfully avoided in February. Here’s the Reuters table, where RPI comes in at a sturdy UNCH:
Ahead of the official Office of National Statistics GDP figures, are these from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, showing that UK GDP contracted 0.2 per cent between June and August, suggesting we’re on course for a negative third quarter.
Another contraction in the fourth-quarter, and we’re in a recession, according to loose definitions. Read more
Best we stop pretending. The statisticians have. Northern Rock is no more.
The Office of National Statistics has dealt the fragile facade of the bank’s private sector-status a heavy blow, saying on Thursday that it would now be classified as a public sector entity for “statistical purposes.” Read more