Financial and Monetary Systems

UK economy returns to growth and other economics stories to read this week

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A view of the City of London and Canary Wharf.

The UK economy grew by 0.2% in January. Image: REUTERS/John Sibley

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • This weekly round-up brings you the latest stories from the world of economics and finance.
  • Top economy stories: UK economy returns to growth; India retail inflation rises quicker than expected; US producer prices rise more than predicted.

1. UK economy returns to growth

The British economy grew in January, after dipping into recession in the second half of last year. UK gross domestic product grew 0.2% month-on-month, compared to a drop of 0.1% in December.

"The economy picked up in January with strong growth in retail and wholesaling," said Liz McKeown, a director at the Office for National Statistics. "Construction also performed well with house-builders having a good month, having been subdued for much of the last year."

However, that doesn't yet mean the UK economy is out of recession. GDP shrank 0.3% in the last quarter of 2023 and 0.1% in the previous quarter, meeting the technical definition of a recession.

UK economy returns to growth in January
An uptick in UK growth. Image: Reuters

2. Retail inflation in India rises quicker than expected

Annual retail inflation in India rose more quickly than expected last month, as food prices increased. The annual figure did slow compared to January, reaching 5.09% in February, down slightly from 5.10%.

But a poll of economists by Reuters had predicted a 5.02% rise.

Food inflation, which accounts for nearly half the consumer price basket, reached 8.66% in February, compared to 8.3% in January.

India's retail inflation eases slightly in February
India's retail inflation eases slightly in February Image: Reuters

Indian wholesale prices rose 0.2% year-on-year in February, according to new government data. It represents a slowing compared to previous months, largely as a result of a fall in manufactured products and power prices.

3. News in brief: Stories on the economy from around the world

The French central bank has said the country's economy will grow slightly less than had previously been forecast in 2024, as a result of weaker investment and consumer spending.

Argentinian inflation slowed more than expected in February to hit 13.2%. While the rate remains high, it marks a drop from 20.6% in January and 25.5% in December.

US producer prices increased by a larger-than-expected amount in February, amid a surge in food and gasoline prices. Meanwhile, retail sales rebounded at a smaller rate as consumer spending appeared to be slowing.

Saudi Arabian annual inflation rose to 1.8% in February, up from 1.6% in January, driven in part by increasing housing rents, according to new government data.

Foreign investors have significantly increased their purchases of Japanese bonds, reports Reuters, as a result of growing expectations of an interest rate rise.

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Related topics:
Financial and Monetary SystemsGeo-Economics and PoliticsEconomic Growth
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Contents
1. UK economy returns to growth2. Retail inflation in India rises quicker than expected3. News in brief: Stories on the economy from around the world4. More on finance and the economy from our blog

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