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  • The Markit/CIPS PMI, released on Monday, confirmed the findings of the latest Glenigan Index published last week (see lead article above). Construction activity as measured by the Markit/CIPS PMI continued to decline in January, posting 48.7 (seasonally adjusted) in January, unmoved from December’s six-month low and falling short of analysts’ expectations of 49.1. Any reading below 50 indicates a contraction in activity.
    • The weakest sectors were noted to be the housing and civil engineering sectors, with civils experiencing the first fall since August 2012. Commercial activity remained unchanged from December after having contracted in the previous 5 months.
  • The Bank reported that the number mortgage approvals for house purchase rose to 55,800 in December from 54,000 in November; the number of approvals was the highest it has been since January 2012. The rise suggests that the Funding for Lending Scheme is helping stimulating lending to individuals.  
  • House prices in January, as measured by Nationwide increased by 0.5% compared to December, however prices were flat compared to January 2012.

UK Economy

  • Overall net lending to individuals was £1.7bn in December after being flat in November, with £0.7bn of this accounted for by credit card lending. M4 money, the broader measure of how much money was in the economy, increased by 5.7% in the final quarter of last year compared to the same period last year, the sharpest increase since the second quarter of 2008.
  • Consumer confidence as measured by the GFK/NOP survey increased by three points in January to -26. Nick Moon of GFK commented "There’s a definite note of optimism in these findings, with clear changes in how people view the general economic situation in the past year and looking to the coming 12 months.”
  • The Purchasing Managers Index for manufacturing showed that activity was still expanding in January with a reading of 50.8, however the rate at which had slowed slightly from December when the index measured 51.2, any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

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