Continuous coverage of the latest economic and financial news as investors bet on the potential of the vaccine from Oxford/AstraZeneca.
Almost 105,000 new mortgages were authorised by British lenders in November, the highest number since the August 2007 global financial crisis.
This was an improvement from more than 98,300 in October and, according to newly released Bank of England data, surpassed Reuters estimates of 82,500 total approvals.
This comes as homebuyers are scrambling to take advantage of the exemption from stamp duty before it expires on 31 March.
Non-secured loans, however, dropped by £ 1.5 billion as borrowers made bigger debt payments.
This follows a net repayment in October of £700 million. The majority of repayments is paid for by credit cards.
In November, households fortunate enough not to have been affected by work cuts and losses of income were also able to set more money away. Data shows that deposits increased in November by £ 17.6 billion, compared to £ 12.7 billion in October.
Joe Weisenthal Weisenthal
Markets start in the green for the year. It’s all up to https://t.co/gjiQkbxY4U pic.twitter.com/R3YnMspxDLL
4th Jan, 2021
The FTSE 100 is up nearly 3 percent this morning, leading European stock markets, all of which are still in positive territory.
However, before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, it is worth noting that the blue chip index is already about 1,000 points below where it was in January 2020.
DATA FLASH: Last month, UK production activity grew to its highest level since November 2017.
In December, the manufacturing PMI rose to 57.5, up from 55.6 the previous month.
A reading above the expansion of 50 signals.
This happened as factories hurried to complete work on December 31, before the end of the Brexit transition era. Experts cautioned, however, that this level of activity will not last, so weaker readings in the early months of 2021 are expected.
Howard Archer by Howard Archer
#PMI shows that, despite restrictions being lifted by replenishment before the end of the UK-EU transition period, #manufacturing operation in the UK was at a 37-month high in December.
There is also a positive effect on lengthening supply chains. PMI at 57.55 percent (flash 57.3; 55.6 in November). Growth in production slows; new orders increase.
4th Jan., 2021
Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit, which produces the survey, said:
In December, the manufacturing PMI rose to its highest level in more than three years, mainly due to a last-minute planning boost ahead of the end of the Brexit transition phase.
Customers, particularly those based in the EU, made their purchases, which temporarily boosted their sales.
In the first months of 2021, it seems likely that this boost would reverse, which would mean a slow start to the year. It should also be noted that, prior to border closures, the December PMI data was obtained, which could have caused several businesses to further interrupt logistics and production.
This morning, the pound is losing ground against the euro, dropping more than 0.5% to about 1.11266 this morning.
Not only is the euro benefiting from strong PMI output numbers, but the pound is also primed for a rally after the Brexit agreement. News that the United Kingdom and the EU have signed a last-minute trade deal has sent the pound soaring.
Against the US dollar, the euro is also gaining ground, rising 1.2 percent to about 1.2296.
DATA FLASH: Eurozone manufacturing PMI rose to 55.2 in December from 53.8 in November.
It was slightly below flash estimates of 55.5, but since May 2018, it is still the highest reading. The bloc’s performance was boosted by manufacturing activity in Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland.
Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said it was an “encouragingly strong” year-end reading for the sector, with output growth at one of the highest levels in the last three years.
The solid performance of manufacturing amid the tightening of COVID-19 restrictions in the final months of 2020 is a big contrast to the closures earlier in the year, with factories acting as a crucial pillar of the economy while the service sector is hit by harsh social distancing measures.
The strong growth of the manufacturing sector is largely due to booming demand for German goods, which account for most of the productio