The UK authorities have been busy; the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) is forecasting that per capita income in the UK, after adjusting for inflation and taxes, will rise by 3.2% in 2015. That was published on the same day that the Public Accounts Committee suggested HMRC are so bad at collecting taxes that they are a threat to UK tax collection and not an asset. Damning stuff indeed. They always seem to notice is my return is a nanosecond late though. Perhaps it's just me then. Maybe I need to be super-rich and offshore; then they could forget me.
Yesterday's news that US factory orders fell for the 2nd month in a row didn't help the case for interest rate hikes. A 2.1% drop in August and a 1.0% drop in September aren't indicative of what you would call a robust recovery. The US Dollar was volatile on the day but largely unmoved. A couple of Federal Reserve speeches today which may touch on that and maybe hint at the timing of the first interest rate hike. I suspect the time scale is stretching and the US Dollar reflects that. This afternoon also brings the service sector PMI index but that is not expected to move the market.
Overnight news that New Zealand's unemployment rate rose from 5.9% to 6.0% in Q3 lends weight to the calls for a December interest rate cut from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. This is a notion that has been mooted for a while but the case for a cut is building and that prompted a 5 cent gain in the GBP-NZD exchange rate.
Australian retail sales posted modest growth in September. That was largely in line with expectations and should allow room for the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut their base rate without the fear of a shopping boom. Hence, the Australian Dollar weakened on the news and remains at the upper end of its range against the Pound.
And speaking of the Pound, this morning brings the service sector Purchasing Managers Index which should prove positive for Sterling. There is scope for further Sterling strength but traders are clearly nervous of being positive about anything at the moment; a mood based on the uncertainty that central banks are spreading. In any case, the Pound may tread water today ahead of tomorrow's flurry of Bank of England decisions, reports and meeting minutes.
And, as Christmas approaches (oh yes it is) Liverpool have decided to introduce fast lanes on pavements for those who aren't meandering or dawdling or window shopping but who actually need to get somewhere. I think it's an awesome idea but, if you see how people misunderstand lanes on motorways, you know it will be abused by the dawdlers anyway. Good idea but I wonder how it will work in practice and who is going to police it!
A young guy came out of work one day to find a blizzard blowing and 2 foot of snow on the ground. He got into his car and warmed it up but was really worried about making the journey home in this blizzard. He could hear is dad's advice when a snow plough came past and he pulled out to follow it. As he follows the snowplough he was feeling very smug as they continued and he was not having any problem with the blizzard conditions even though the plough seemed to be taking quite a winding route. After quite some time he was a bit surprised when the snowplough stopped and the driver got out, trudging back along the freshly ploughed path to his car. He wound down the window and the driver wanted to know if he was all right as he'd been following the plough for a long time. He said that she was fine and told him of dad's advice to follow a snowplough when caught in a blizzard. The driver replied that it was absolutely fine if he wanted to continue following but that he had now finished ASDA's carpark and was now moving on to the B&Q one down the road.