Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crucial AGMs Are Set to Occupy Centre Stage

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crucial AGMs Are Set to Occupy Centre Stage

Article excerpt

Byline: Iain Laing

IINFLATION and unemployment figures and the annual meetings of British Airways and Marks & Spencer should make up for a quiet results schedule this week.

Experts will take the latest temperature of the fragile UK economy next week as a flurry of data begins today with the delayed second revision of official growth estimates for the first quarter of 2010.

The Office for National Statistics embarrassingly put back the release two weeks ago after spotting "potential errors" in the data, which most economists expect to show GDP growth unchanged at 0.3% for the first three months of the year, down from 0.4% in the previous quarter.

While the pace of growth should accelerate in the second quarter, many experts are eyeing the impact of the savage emergency Budget during the remainder of 2010, with the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) saying there is "clearly a risk" growth will falter.

Inflation figures for June will be closely studied tomorrow after worries from Bank of England rate-setter Andrew Sentance that prices are rising despite the economic slack created by the recession.

Investec's David Page forecasts the Consumer Prices Index falling from 3.4% to 3.1% - largely down to lower petrol prices more than offsetting smaller discounts in summer sales among clothing retailers. Market consensus is for a slightly smaller drop to 3.2%.

This would leave the CPI at 3% or more throughout the whole of the year so far - well above the Bank's 2% target - and while Sentance is currently in the minority on the MPC more could come over to his camp if the figures are on the high side.

The latest employment data on Wednesday, meanwhile, is set to take centre stage amid worries over the impact of the Budget slashing on employment after leaked Treasury data predicting the loss of 600,000 jobs in the public sector over the next five years. …

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