Wednesday 21 March 2018

Central Bank's dim outlook clashes with public's positivity

THE bad news came on Monday with the Central Bank's warning that growth is set to stagnate for another year. But there was better news yesterday with three separate flash reports indicating some sort of pick-up in the economy in January.

While most of us tend to pay more attention to the Central Bank than the likes of the NCB Purchasing Managers' Index or the KBC Consumer Confidence Index we may well be missing a trick. The Central Bank itself pays a lot of attention to such indices because they are forward looking and far more timely than other reports from the likes of the Central Statistics Office.

The purchasing managers' index showed manufacturing output expanding at the fastest rate since the index was first compiled in 2000 while consumer confidence also showed signs of life, although confidence is still below the magic 50 mark. Happy manufacturers and happier consumers is good news. A fall in the number of redundancies last month compared with the same month last year is equally welcome.

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