UK wage growth lags inflation even as jobless rate hits new low

UK wage growth lags inflation even as jobless rate hits new low

However, recent rises in the pound can also be put down to fundamental data as economists anticipate an interest rate hike from the Bank of England (BoE), which has given clear signals that domestic inflationary pressures in the United Kingdom are building.

Office for National Statistics data showed United Kingdom wage packets rose by 2.8% during the three months to the end of February, which is unchanged from the rate of growth seen in the quarter to the end of January. The bank is tasked with setting policy to achieve an inflation rate of around 2 percent and updated figures due Wednesday are not expected to show much change in the annual rate in March.

The unemployment rate of 4.2%, down from 4.3% in the previous quarter, is the lowest since the three months to May 1975.

Though wages have picked up more slowly than many economists had anticipated, the Bank of England has positioned itself to raise interest rates again soon to keep a lid on inflation.

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The pound's value plummeted against both the dollar and euro after Britain voted to leave the European Union, experiencing the biggest single-day drop of any major currency in history on the day after the vote. An ONS spokesman said bonus payments in February were lower than a year earlier but it was too soon to draw conclusions about the bonus season as a whole. That means households should have a bit more in their pockets to spend following a period when price increases have eaten away at their purchasing power.

"We think that the MPC will judge that the upside news on pay growth and inflation cancels out the recent soft activity data - particularly since the latter has been distorted by a number of temporary factors of late".

"The pound was the standout performer yesterday and is now the best performing G10 currency versus the U.S. dollar on a year-to-date basis". The central bank said in February that it expected pay growth of 3.0 percent a year by the end of 2018, rising to 3.5 percent by the end of 2020.

Pay is one of the most closely followed measures...

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