Anyone who doubts that local authorities are still wasting ratepayers’ money on incompetents in pointless jobs need look no further than Kent’s police. A week ago, to much media fanfare, they hired a 13-year-old crime commissioner on a £15k salary. Unfortunately they failed to point out that her job was not actually to commission crime. Grasping entirely the wrong end of the stick the lass not only indulged in underage drinking and alleged drug use but wrote up her exploits on Twitter to encourage other youngsters to follow her example. Following complaints about her posts which included, for good measure, homophobic and racist comments, she has taken early retirement. The details of her payoff and pension have not yet been made public.
Nor is there any official word yet on Britain’s economic performance in the first quarter of 2013 but the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) offered its own provisional estimate yesterday. It reckons gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by an inflation-adjusted 0.1% in Q1. The news would have provoked celebration among the Conservatives, had they not been in sombre mood following the demise of Baroness Thatcher, and gloom on the Labour benches, save for the above. Today’s media are full of stories about how Britain has avoided a triple-dip recession but, in reality, three months of 0.1% growth after three of -0.3% contraction is not exactly an achievement to be trumped from the ramparts. For more information money transfer abroad services please click here.
That was the cautious view of investors yesterday afternoon. A few of them, perhaps out of a sense of moral obligation, bought sterling following the news but the majority felt no need to join in. That is not to say sterling had a bad day. It lost half a cent to the Australian dollar but otherwise is unchanged or firmer. Not a lot firmer though; the pound’s best performance was its gain of half a US cent. The main factor in sterling’s favour was the figures for industrial and manufacturing production, which were better – or at least not as bad – as expected. Manufacturing production grew by 0.8% in February while broader industrial production, which includes mining and energy, was up by 1.0% on the month. Year-on-year declines slowed to -1.4% and -2.2% respectively.
There were no data of any consequence from Euroland or the States but it is worth noting that consumer price inflation in Greece was a negative -0.2% while industrial production there fell more slowly, down by 3.9% on the year. There were surprises overnight from Australia, where an unexpected -5.1% fall in consumer confidence had only a momentarily dampening effect on the AUD, and China, which reported a trade deficit as exports slowed and imports shot up.
This morning France recorded a 0.7% monthly rebound for industrial output but the figures for Spain and Italy are likely to be less impressive. The only other European ecostats this morning relate to Portuguese inflation. Nothing is due from the United States or Canada except for the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The most important data tonight are those for Australian employment. For more information on Foreign Exchange please click here.