Gross Domestic Product rises by 0.5% in Q4 2015
The UK economy, as measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), rose by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2015. This is an improvement on the 0.4% growth recorded in Q3; therefore, the calendar year saw overall economic growth of 2.2%, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).The final quarter of the year saw a 1.9% GDP rise from the same period in 2014, against the 2.1% improvement seen in the third quarter.Whilst this level of annual growth is welcomed, particularly when compared with other OECD nations, it is below the 2.9% achieved in 2014 and represents the slowest annual rate of growth for three years.However, as such, the UK’s economy is still one of the fastest growing of the developed countries and is in line with forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who had predicted UK growth of 2.2% for 2015 and the ensuing two years. The IMF also stated that the robust economic growth seen over the last two years would not be able to be maintained until the wider global economy improved.As a caveat to this good news, Chris Williamson, of the respected research firm Markit, cautioned: “Uncertainty over ‘Brexit’, weak overseas growth and financial market volatility are all creating an unsettling business environment and point to downside risks to the economy in 2016. “The coming year could easily see the pace of economic growth slow further from last year’s 2.2% expansion, and the chances are growing that we will see yet another year in which interest rates are left at their record low of 0.5%.” Meanwhile, immediately following the release of the ONS’s latest figures, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, was reported as saying: “These GDP numbers show the British economy continues to grow steadily and despite turbulence in the world economy Britain is pushing ahead.”
Markets – January (Data supplied by The Outsourced Marketing Department)
Equity markets started 2016 very much on the back foot, with continuing worries about a sluggish global economy and slowing growth seen in China. Added to this, the slump in commodity prices jittered the markets.The FTSE100 had, at one point in January, fallen to 5,673.6, a loss of 568.7 points from December’s close, before recovering a little towards the end of the month to finish on 6,083.8, for a monthly loss finally of 2.54%. The wider FTSE250 fared even worse, losing 942.1 points to 16,487.7 to record a loss of 5.41% on the month and the junior AIM market following suit, losing 6.1% to finish on 693.7.There was no respite across the pond either, as the Dow Jones closed January at 16,466.3, a 5.5% loss and the technology based Nasdaq index finishing at 4,613.95 for a fall of 7.86%.On the continent, the Eurostoxx50 continued its December slide, falling a further 222 points to 3,045.09 for a 6.81% decline since the turn of the year.Likewise, in Japan the Nikkei 225 could not shake off its December decline as it too fell 7.96% in January to end the month on 17,518.3. In the currency markets the US Dollar gained against Sterling by 2.72% to $1.43 and Sterling itself falling a similar 2.22% against the Euro to €1.32.
The price of oil (Brent Crude) continued to concentrate the mind of the market, falling at one stage in the month to $28.14 a barrel, but recovering to $35.91 by month end, 5 on speculation of an accord being brokered 4 between Saudi Arabia and Russia to limit production.Gold, however, was in demand rising by 4.27%, to close January at $1,118.08 a troy 2 ounce, probably benefiting from its safe- 1 haven status in times of market stress.
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