THE BANK of England’s quarterly inflation report is this week expected to offer an insight into whether historically-low interest rates will be increased this year or next.
Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight, said: “The Bank of England will obviously have to cut its near-term inflation forecasts sharply given that consumer price inflation fell sharply to a 14-month low of 0.5 per cent in December 2014 and looks certain to drop further in the early months of 2015 given that oil prices have fallen further overall.”
The longer-term outlook for inflation is likely to influence the Bank’s decision on when interest rates should rise. Last week Credit Suisse said in a research note: “In our view, even though the monetary policy committee (MPC) is not in a hurry to raise rates yet, it might want to signal that the market has priced the rate hike too far out (in May 2016) and rates might rise sooner than the markets expect if data continue to improve.”
Other economic news this week includes results from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) for January, due out tomorrow. They are expected to show healthy spending for the start of the year, following an increase in retail sales in the last quarter of 2014, which included a spike from Black Friday promotions.
Industrial production and manufacturing output data for December are also due for release this week.
The latest house price survey results from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, will also be closely followed. Last week figures from the latest Halifax house price index showed growth of 2 per cent between December and January.
The corporate week begins with news today from Randgold Resources. Tomorrow Babcock, Cable & Wireless, Catlin, Halma, ICAP and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels will update the market. On Wednesday Atkins (WS), Electrocomponents, Reckitt Benckiser, Redrow, Telecity, Thomas Cook and Tullow Oil are due to report.
Thursday’s updates are expected from Darty, Imperial Tobacco, Informa, Lancashire Holdings, Morgan Advanced Materials, Rio Tinto, Shire, SSE, Tate & Lyle and Zoopla. Glencore is also scheduled to give a production report.
On Friday Anglo American and Rolls-Royce are due to give full-year figures.