Wednesday, 15th February: Further UK data this morning, this time the turn of employment figures. The employment rate hit a new all-time high to 74.6% in the 3 months to December, while unemployment remained stagnated at 4.8%, continuing its 11-year low run. However, wage growth was slower than expected, and when adjusted for inflation, it brings the growth to be the slowest since the 3 months leading to February 2015. The pound hadn’t managed to recover from yesterday’s losses (following inflation data) before it fell lower following the data release, falling to a one-week low.
Yesterday was UK inflation, today was the turn of the US. Once again, fuel prices have pushed up inflation: the consumer price index increased 0.6% in January, compared to a month earlier. It is the strongest monthly gain since February 2013. Stripping out what the US class as often volatile categories of food and energy, prices rose 0.3%, the largest increase since August 2016. The rise in overall prices is ahead of the 0.3% rise expected. Compared to a year earlier, overall prices rose by 2.5%, the biggest 12 month increase since March 2012.
Apparently, employees of Lloyd’s of London are not happy. It seems the days of extended, “liquid” lunches are no-more after workers have been “banned” from drinking alcohol between 9am-5pm. The ban applies to Lloyd’s staff, and not brokers or underwriters doing work on behalf of the insurer. Turns out about half of grievance and disciplinary cases over the last two years have been related to alcohol. However, it seems should an employee be found to have been drinking, it is up to their respective manager to decide what to do next. Time to get on the boss’ good side…
TUI AG erased their gains from yesterday, and more, as they fell more than 7% at the bottom of the FTSE 100. The index overall closed the day +0.47%, banks taking the podium positions, buoyed by Janet Yellen’s comments yesterday on future rate rises in the US. The FTSE 250 closed two-tenths higher. In Europe, both the CAC 40 and DAX ended higher, +0.59% and +0.19% respectively. GBP/USD came back from earlier losses and is currently flat at $1.2763.