Attention was understandably focused on Brexit developments (or lack thereof) yesterday, but mortgage approval figures for December were released. They showed that the number of mortgages approved last month dropped to 63,793, which was more-or-less in line with expectations of 63,000. It is the lowest number of approvals since April 2018, although the Christmas period is not the busiest time to buy houses anyway – Santa would likely drop the wrong presents down the chimney.
We also saw that UK consumer credit growth slowed to its weakest since late 2014 in December. Interestingly, the Bank of England reported that it found that UK households ‘significantly increased their deposits in interest-bearing instant access savings accounts in December’. It appears that instead of loading debt onto their credit cards, the British public decided to cut back and save their pennies. The economist, Samuel Tombs, noted that UK consumer credit is slowing at the fastest rate since the financial crisis.
At midday, we will see the Gfk consumer confidence reading for January. The reading is expected to slip further to -15 from -14 the previous month. We will also see the Nationwide housing prices for this month, which are expected to show monthly grow of 0.2% from the previous reading of -0.7%. Year-on-year, the figure is expected to come in at 0% from 0.5%.