Money Minute Thursday 19 September: UK retail sales and interest rates

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This morning in the UK, we get the official retail sales data for August.

Recent surveys from industry bodies such as the CBI and British Retail Consortium have been somewhat gloomy. However, official data has so far suggested that retail sales are holding up just fine, and that the surveys are perhaps being skewed by the respondents’ fears over Brexit. As long as the labour market remains buoyant, and wages continue to rise, consumption is unlikely to weaken significantly.

Then, at mid-day, the Bank of England releases its latest monetary policy decision. The bank rate is currently sitting at 0.75% and that is not expected to change. The reality is that until Brexit is resolved one way or another, the Bank is likely to remain on hold, almost regardless of what happens with the economic data.

Meanwhile, in the US, in the afternoon, we have the usual weekly jobless claims figures. So far there are no real signs of US labour market weakness, despite market fears of recession.