Some manufacturing gloom hit the UK earlier after IHS Markit December numbers were revealed: last month saw the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index clipped to 56.3 in December from 58.2 in November.
It wasn’t a total wash-out; more than 50% of UK companies still expect to see production lift over the next 12 months. The problem comes when you compare the UK’s December numbers with the European block. German PMI – though not typical of the whole Europe bloc, admittedly – saw factory growth surge to 63.3 in December compared to 62.5 in November. French numbers on this front are also substantially improved, up from 57.7 to 58.8.
Sterling was on the move again at 1.3580 against the dollar, up +0.44% near 4pm while the euro was up a similar amount (+0.42%) against the greenback taking the euro to 1.2046. The rise in the euro (and pound) did little for stocks with the German Dax down more than -0.30% and the French CAC 40 taking a -0.50% tumble.
Likewise, the FTSE was down more than -0.60% later afternoon. At close of business tonight the Big Board was down almost 40 points with Rentokil Initial down more than -3% while Anglo American and Centrica were both up almost +3%.
- UK FTSE 100 7,648.10 -0.52%
- DAX 12,923.91 +0.05%
- CAC 40 5,293.97 -0.35%
- Dow 24,792.47 +0.29%
- S&P 500 2,690.05 +0.62%
- Nasdaq 6,980.07 +1.11%
- Nikkei 225 22,764.94 -0.08%
- Gold 1,314.40 +0.40%
- Oil WTI 60.32 -0.15%
Grayling steers clear of rail fare fray
As UK commuters were today hit with the UK’s biggest fare rise since 2013, UK transport minister Chris Grayling was in Qatar, well away from passenger frustration. Some will be paying up to £2,500 more for season tickets then they did in 2010, reported the Independent.
Some of the worst exposed are those who commute between Birmingham and Euston. Some are now shelling out £10,567 for a Virgin Trains season ticket. Transport Focus, a consumer transport watchdog, says many off-peak fares will be hit by far bigger rises – some of more than +10%.
“As many passengers return from their festive break,” said chief exec Anthony Smith, “rail fare rises will bite as wages continue to stagnate. Satisfaction with value for money varies widely – annual season ticket commuters in London and the South East are among the least content.”
UK to go South Pacific?
Could the UK join a Pacific trade group? It’s an intriguing idea given the UK's own Atlantic and North Sea back yard. However the FT reports that Liam Fox’s Department for International Trade has held talks on the possibility. Even though the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is physically some distance from the UK (members including Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Japan and Singapore).
The US has already withdrawn from the TPP. “Nothing is excluded in all of this,” UK trade minister Greg Hands told the FT. “With these kind of plurilateral relationships, there doesn’t have to be any geographical restriction.”
But until the UK actually exits the EU it is restricted from entering any new trade deals. Labour politicians have been rather more ambivalent about the idea.