Figures released on Friday showed the continuing effects of Brexit anxiety on the UK economy, with the latest services PMI reading showing that optimism among services companies has dropped to its lowest levels since the financial crisis. Although the figure actually came in better than expected at 51.2, the rate of increase in business activity was one of the slowest since 2016’s Brexit vote.
Still, the news was enough to send sterling soaring as it rallied against the dollar and climbed above the $1.27 mark to somewhere near where it began the year. It has already been a volatile week for the pound, with a 2.5-cent swing in three days. Hold on to your hats, as this is a trend that could continue in light of the debate on May’s Brexit withdrawal proposals. We also saw Nationwide’s housing prices, which showed annual growth of just 0.5% – the slowest since February 2013.
Today kicks off with the new car sales figures for December. Last time, the reading showed sales contracted by 3% from the same month the previous year, so it will be hoped the figures are more positive this time around. Tomorrow we will see the Halifax house price index for December and on Wednesday, the labour productivity figures for the third quarter of 2018 will be released.