remarkable calm has descended on the markets after Hurricane Kwasi blew through the City last week.
Gilt yields have fallen substantially, sterling has edged back from the parity precipice and now even the energy markets – the source of many of the nation’s economic woes – have eased significantly. Gas that was priced at nearly £8 a therm during the August panic is now well below £3.
Despite the calming in the gilts market the Bank of England is certain to hike its benchmark rate by at least a full percentage point, perhaps more, when it plays catch up in November. That will add huge costs to business – an often overlooked victim of interest rate hikes – as well as homeowners.
Renters, another group that do not get as much attention as they might, will be particularly badly hit as buy to let mortgages are seeing bigger rises than any other category of home loans.
Figures today from respected analysts Cornwall Insight served as a timely reminder of just how stretched the public finances will be in the years up to the next election. Even in a best case scenario the Energy Price Guarantee for households will cost the Chancellor £72 billion, but the bill could easily be twice that.
Meanwhile today’s PMI data shows the services sector stagnating at its weakest level for 19 months.
So lets enjoy this mild calm spell – both meteorological and financial – while it lasts.
Winter is coming.