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British Pound Little Changed as UK Manufacturing Expansion Slows

British Pound Little Changed as UK Manufacturing Expansion Slows

Nick Cawley, Strategist

Talking Points

- UK Manufacturing PMI misses as a weak Pound pushes up costs

- UK house prices edge higher in November but outlook looks soft

- Sterling range bound with all eyes on US non-farm payrolls and Italian vote

The UK manufacturing industry continues to brush off Brexit fears, according to the latest IHS Markit data, but the pace of expansion shows signs of slowing down. The November Manufacturing PMI fell to 53.4 from a prior 54.2, missing expectations of 54.4. The index, however, remains in expansionary territory (over 50) and above its long-run average of 51.5.

Rob Dobson, Senior Economist at IHS Markit, said: “The latest PMI indicates that the UK manufacturing sector remained in good health during November. Although the recent growth spurt showed further signs of slowing, the pace of expansion is still solid and above its long-term trend. This should be sufficient to ensure manufacturing is a positive contributor to fourth quarter GDP.

While the recent fall in the Pound has boosted exports, import prices are seen creeping higher and may in time offset the positive effect of a weaker currency, “especially given that export order book growth has already waned markedly from September’s five-and-a-half year high,” according to Dobson.

Earlier in the session, the Nationwide reported UK house prices edging higher, month-on-month, in November, but softening on a year-on-year basis. The Nationwide HPI rose by 0.1% in November but softened to a ten-month low of 4.4% on an annual basis. The report highlighted that housing market activity is likely to be limited in 2017 by weaker consumer confidence and willingness to engage in major transactions. “In fact GfK has reported that consumer confidence weakened markedly in November amid mounting concerns over the economy and inflation.

The British Pound barely moved on either of the releases, slipping lower before bouncing back, as more important data points/events near. On Friday, the last US non-farm payrollsdata of 2016 should provide support for the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates at its December 14 meeting. In addition, the weekend sees the Italian constitutional referendum, and the potential resignation of PM Matteo Renzi, while the Austrian election may see the European Union’s first far-right president.

Read more: US Dollar Snaps Losing Streak, May Extend Gains on ISM Data

--- Written by Nicholas Cawley, Analyst

To contact Nick, email him at Nicholas.cawley@ig.com

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