Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
The UK economy has shrunk again, as restrictions imposed to fight the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic weigh on growth.
Figures just released show that UK GDP contracted by 2.6% in November – the month when England was placed in a second national lockdown, and tough measures were also enforced in Wales and Scotland.
This decline means the UK’s six-month run of growth since the first lockdown ended has now halted, and could be the first step towards a double-dip recession.
But, it’s not as severe as the 5.7% decline that the economists had expected.
The ONS says:
Following six consecutive monthly increases, including an upwardly revised 0.6% increase in October, real gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 2.6% in November 2020.
Restrictions were in place to varying degrees across all four nations of the UK during November.
The fall means the economy was 8.5% smaller in November than in February 2020, just before the pandemic.
GDP fell by 8.9% in the 12 months to November 2020, compared with an annual decline of 6.8% to October, the ONS adds.
More details and reaction to follow…
Also coming up today
Investors are digesting Joe Biden’s ambitious $1.9tn coronavirus relief proposal, aimed at urgently combating the pandemic and the economic crisis it has triggered.
It includes $160bn to bolster vaccination and testing efforts, and other health programs and $350bn for state and local governments, as well as $1tn in relief to families, via direct payments and unemployment insurance.
It also includes boosting the latest payments to Americans by $1,400, lifting them from $400 to $2,000
The president-elect, who also proposes raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, declared:
“There’s no time to waste. We have to act and we have to act now.”
But, the proposal could run into opposition in the tied Senate.
On the economic front, we also get new eurozone trad figures today, plus the latest US retail sales and consumer confidence reports.
- 7am GMT: UK GDP report for November
- 7am GMT: UK trade balance for November
- 10am GMT: Eurozone trade balance for November
- 1.30pm GMT: US retail sales for December
- 2pm GMT: NIESR thinktank’s estimate of UK GDP in Q4 2020
- 3pm GMT: University of Michigan survey of US consumer confidence