Sunday, September 26

UK business activity in the four-month low due to staff shortages amid “pingdemic” – live | Deal

Good morning and welcome to our ongoing coverage of the global economy, financial markets, the eurozone and business.

Retail sales in the UK saw a small recovery in June, increasing 0.5% from the previous month, when sales fell 1.4%, due to an increase in people leaving when bars, pubs and restaurants reopened indoors. The reading is slightly better than the 0.4% gain predicted by economists.

The Office for National Statistics said Sales were boosted by a 4.2% increase in grocery stores as people bought more food and drink at the start of the Euro 2020 soccer tournament.

The Olympics, also delayed from last year, open today in Tokyo. You can read more here:

UK gasoline and diesel sales also increased in June, by 2.3%, the ONS said, as people traveled more, but remain 2.1% below pre-pandemic levels of the February 2020 coronavirus. Non-food stores recorded a 1.7% drop in sales volumes, due to falls in furniture and clothing stores. Household items suffered their first decline that was not driven by the lockdown since the start of the pandemic.

Online purchases are still much higher than before the pandemic, but have receded as more people go to physical stores. The share of online sales fell to 26.7% in June, from 28.4% in May.

The outlook is brighter for the past three months through June, when retail sales rose 12.2% from the prior three months, driven by a strong rally in April, when non-essential retailers were allowed to reopen after the latest coronavirus lockdown.

Overall, retail is in very good health: June sales were 9% above pre-virus levels.

Retail sales in the UK.

Retail sales in the UK. Photograph: Office of National Statistics

This morning, we are also receiving the Quick reads from IHS Markit July Industry Surveys. Sara Johnson, Executive Director of Global Economics at Market, says:

In the face of headwinds from the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus, global economic expansion is advancing, albeit more tentatively than a month ago. Prospects in advanced countries with high vaccination rates remain bright, but short-term prospects in emerging and developing countries with low vaccination rates are more murky.

Asian stock markets are mixed after a volatile week in which traders have been torn apart by hopes of a global recovery and fears about the spread of the Delta variant. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 1.1%, Singapore’s Straits Times Index is down 0.2% and the Australian market is flat.

Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK, says:

Monday’s sell-off recovery continued apace yesterday, with the FTSE-100 being the notable spoiler … while the rest of Europe closed higher for the third day in a row.

US markets, and tech stocks in particular, led the way, with the Nasdaq 100 closing at a new high, while the S&P 500 fell short. This positive ending should translate into a higher European open despite a weaker Asian session and with the Japanese markets closed.

Yesterday’s meeting of the European Central Bank did not generate much enthusiasm with ECB President Christine Lagarde once again talking a lot and talking very little.

The new advance guidance simply outlined that the ECB would likely be ultra-accommodative for a long time to come, and if anything, it was the equivalent of giving a pretty battered old car a new paint job and a quick engine overhaul. It looks better, but it’s still the same old bang underneath.

The agenda

  • 8.15am BST: France Markit Manufacturing / Services / Composite PMI for July
  • 8.30 a. M. BST: Markit Manufacturing / Services / Germany Composite PMI for July
  • 9:00 a.m. M. BST: Markit Manufacturing / Services / Eurozone Composite PMI for July
  • 9.30am BST: UK Markit Manufacturing / Services / Composite PMI for July
  • 2.45pm BST: US Markit Manufacturing / Services / Composite PMI July

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