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Weekly Focus – UK Joins the “10% Inflation Club”

Macroeconomic indicators this week pointed to further headwinds for the global economy. In the US, the New York Empire Manufacturing Index slumped to -31.3 (from 11.1) in August, the lowest level since slump after the first Covid-19 lockdown. The sharp drop was driven by weaker current conditions, while the expectations index improved slightly. The current Empire level implies US Manufacturing PMI clearly below 50, in line with what the new orders index predicted already in July.

Also in Europe, there were weak indicators with the German ZEW expectations diving further during August to the lowest level since October 2008. The ZEW signals further declines in PMI ahead and increasing recession risk in the German economy, which is also our base case for the second half of this year, see Research Germany – Zeitenwende, 25 July. Our forward looking macroeconomic model, Macroscope, this week also pointed to further weakening momentum in the global economy across regions over the next six months, see MacroScope: rising recession risks, 18 August.

On the inflation front, UK CPI inflation surprised to the upside creeping above 10% in July. The UK is thereby joining the “club” of countries, mostly in Eastern Europe and emerging markets, with double digit inflation rate. We think this highlights the need for Bank of England (BoE) to continue to frontload rate hikes, although a looming recession may curtail its hiking intentions into next year. The EUR/GBP cross initially moved lower on the back of the print, but later rebounded amid weak global risk sentiment.

Another central bank that is upping its policy rate hikes is Norges Bank, which yesterday as expected carried out a 50bps rate hike. The move comes after the upward inflation surprise in July. The central bank dropped its specific forward guidance for the September meeting, just indicating that the policy rate “will most likely be raised further in September”. We expect the Bank to raise its policy rate at that meeting by 25bps against market expectation of a bigger 50bps move.

In financial markets the clear winner was the USD while both equity markets and rates markets traded mostly sideways. We published our new FX Forecast Update this week, FX Forecast Update – USD to shrug off recession fears, 17 August, and see USD strength continuing with EUR/USD falling below parity over the next 12M due to Europe suffering from an energy related negative terms of trade shock and further tightening of global financial conditions.

Looking into next week, a key focus will be August flash PMIs out in most western economies on Tuesday. In Europe, further declines – as also signaled by ZEW – will probably be in store, as the energy crisis is taking its toll on demand in manufacturing and services and recession fears are rising. In the US, lower gasoline prices and rebound in real incomes may support service sector demand. Look also out for the US personal expenditure data on Friday. The Jackson Hole Symposium will take place from Thursday until Saturday. Here Federal Reserve officials may outline their view on monetary policy amid a weakening economy.

Full report in PDF.

Danske Bank
Danske Bank
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