LONDON: The UK cost of living squeeze has unexpectedly eased, albeit only marginally. According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, average weekly earnings grew by 2.1% year on year in the three months to June, much better than the 1.8% analysts had been forecasting. But, even with inflation holding steady at 2.6% rather than rising, that still means a 0.5% fall in real wages. As for the jobs figures, the unemployment rate fell to 4.4%, marking the lowest level since early 1975.
The pound recovered from early losses after the data, although not many analysts believe the figures make an imminent UK interest rate rise any more likely. Over in the eurozone, second quarter GDP rose by 2.2% on a year on year basis, slightly better than expected, and by 0.6% compared to the first three months of the year.