Chancellor will have little scope for giveaways

Cyber Monday promises to be more calm and dignified than Black Friday. Picture: Reuters
Cyber Monday promises to be more calm and dignified than Black Friday. Picture: Reuters
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All eyes will be on George Osborne this week as he delivers his final Autumn Statement before the general election.

Predictions of what he might offer range from a sovereign wealth fund from the proceeds of shale gas extraction to new legislation attempting to tie future governments to a cyclically balanced Budget. What commentators do agree upon is that he has little scope for giveaways given that he is already over budget for the year and needs to preserve credibility.

Elsewhere, those who lacked the backbone for the action of Black Friday can get stuck into the bargain-hunting frenzy from the comfort of their own desks, on “Cyber Monday”.

WEEK AHEAD

Today

• Aberdeen Asset Management – RBC analyst Peter Lenardos expects the wealth manager’s full-year profits to come in a fraction under £500 million, and said the firm could deliver better-than-expected synergies as it integrates Swip operations.

• Manufacturing PMI – The industrial sector kicks off the latest set of forward economic indicators, both in the UK and abroad.

Tomorrow

• Construction PMI – Economist Howard Archer, at IHS Global Insight, expects the UK building sector to have eased off slightly to a six-month low of about 61, still a high PMI score by historical standards. l Merlin Entertainments – The Edinburgh Dungeon and Madame Tussauds owner is due to publish a pre-close trading update, with the City focused on the group’s ambitious global expansion strategy.

Wednesday

• Autumn Statement – A big moment in the limelight for Chancellor George Osborne, but he has little room for grand gestures.

• Services PMI – Business confidence has recently come off peak levels seen earlier in the year but Britain’s dominant sector has also shown itself to be resilient and capable of springing upside surprises.

Thursday

• Interest rates – The Bank of England’s December monetary policy committee meeting is likely to be a sedate affair, but things might get a bit more heated at the European Central Bank, which is under considerable pressure to start its own belated programme of quantitative easing. Could this be the day?

• Greene King – Plans for its £774m acquisition of Spirit Pub Company will be under the spotlight when the brewer presents its half-year results.

• Tui Travel – Thomas Cook’s warning that its growth is likely to moderate in the coming year due to Europe’s economic woes placed added pressure on rival Tui ahead of its full-year results.

Friday

• Inflation expectations – The Bank of England’s projections will the strongest clues around as to a likely date for eventual interest rate rises.

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