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NatWest swoops on retailer Sainsbury's banking business
  + stars: | 2024-06-20 | by ( )   time to read: +2 min
The disposal by Sainsbury's mirrors this year's deal by rival supermarket chain Tesco to offload most of its banking activities to Barclays for 600 million pounds. The assets acquired include 1.4 billion pounds in unsecured personal loans, 1.1 billion pounds in credit card balances and about 2.6 billion pounds of customer deposits. The deal is expected to close in March 2025 and NatWest will receive an additional 125 million pounds payment from Sainsbury's at completion. Argos Financial Services (AFS) is also excluded from the deal, the retailer said, adding that its plans for this business will be announced at a future date. Sainsbury's expects to return excess capital of at least 250 million pounds to investors after the disposal and its future model for AFS is in place.
Persons: Jose Sarmento Matos, Paul Thwaite, Thwaite, Sainsbury's, Simon Roberts Organizations: National Statistics, Bloomberg, Getty, NatWest, Sainsbury, NatWest Chief, Tesco, Barclays, Argos Financial Services Locations: London
Shoppers on the high street in the Kingston district of London, U.K.U.K. inflation fell to the Bank of England's target of 2.0% in May, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday, in the last print of the key economic measure ahead of national elections in July. The headline reading declined from 2.3% in April and came in line with the 2% expectations of economists polled by Reuters. Core inflation, excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, dipped to 3.5% from 3.9% in April. Unseasonably bad weather led to the slowest increase in grocery sales in two years, new figures from U.K. market research firm Kantar showed Tuesday. Grocery sales rose 1.0% in the four weeks to June 9, marking the sixteenth consecutive monthly decline in food inflation, according to the index.
Persons: Sterling, BOE, Kantar Organizations: Bank of, National Statistics, Reuters Locations: Kingston, London,
CNN —Ecuador is temporarily suspending a visa waiver agreement with China, citing evidence of irregular migration flows of Chinese citizens through the small South American country. A statement from the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said that about half of Chinese citizens who entered the country in recent months did not leave through “regular routes” or within the 90 days they were permitted to stay. In 2023, Ecuador documented 48,381 entries by Chinese nationals and about 24,240 exits, leaving a difference of 24,141 – the highest number of any nationality, according to data from the national statistics institute. By contrast, Ecuador documented around 13,000 Chinese nationals entering in 2022. Ecuador said it is committed to the security of visitors to prevent them from being victims of human trafficking as well as ensuring “adequate national immigration control.”Asked about Ecuador’s decision to suspend visa waivers, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said, “Since the China-Ecuador Mutual Visa Exemption Agreement came into effect in August 2016, it has played a positive role in bilateral personnel exchanges and practical cooperation in various fields.”Lin added that China “firmly opposes any form of smuggling activities” and that its law enforcement agencies have “vigorously cracked down on illegal crimes that impede border management.”
Persons: zou xian ”, , Lin Jian, ” Lin, China “ Organizations: CNN, Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry, Ecuador Locations: Ecuador, China, Quito
A staff wanted sign in the window of a restaurant in the Soho district of London, U.K., on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021. LONDON — U.K. unemployment unexpectedly rose to its highest level in two and a half years, data showed Tuesday, amid a heated general election campaign in which the economy is a key battleground. Simultaneous strong wage growth divided opinions from market-watchers mulling the timing of an interest rate cut from the Bank of England. While market pricing on Tuesday suggested next to no chance of a rate cut at the BOE's June meeting, and a 36% shot in August, that probability rises to nearly 60% for the September deliberations. Consultancy Capital Economics said that, while the stickiness of wage growth would be a "lingering concern" for the BOE, the rate should soon be on a "firm downward path" as unemployment rises.
Persons: Richard Carter, Cheviot, BOE, Capital's, Ruth Gregory, Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer, Sunak, We've, it's, Starmer Organizations: LONDON, Bank of England, National Statistics, Reuters, Consultancy Capital Economics, Conservative Party, Labour, Conservatives Locations: Soho, London
UK general election: Why the economy is the key issue
  + stars: | 2024-06-04 | by ( Hanna Ziady | )   time to read: +7 min
Sunak will likely point to falling inflation and a strengthening economy as proof that his plan to “restore economic stability” is working. Here’s what data shows has happened to wages, living standards, the value of the pound, house prices and waiting times for medical treatment on the NHS. “Poor income growth has been an unfortunate feature of economic life in the UK over the last 15 years. On average, households now spend more than 29% of their after-tax income on rent, up from 24% in 2010, according to Zoopla, a property company. NHS waiting lists have grown steadily since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, contributing to worker shortages in the UK.
Persons: Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer, Tony Blair, Sunak, YouGov, Labour Party Keir Starmer, Jeff J Mitchell, Alastair Grant, Tom Waters, , , Nick Ridpath, Liz Truss, “ Brexit, Clare Lombardelli, Brexit Organizations: London CNN, Conservative Party of, European Union, Labour Party, Labour, National Health Service, Conservatives, Britain's, Institute for Fiscal Studies, Conservative, Bank of England, Office, National Statistics, NHS Locations: Ukraine, United Kingdom, , United States, Germany, Britain, England
British retail sales plunge 2.3% in April, missing estimates
  + stars: | 2024-05-24 | by ( Jenni Reid | )   time to read: +1 min
People walk in the rain over the London Bridge in central London on March 12, 2024. Lucy North - Pa Images | Pa Images | Getty ImagesLONDON — U.K. retail sales volumes dropped 2.3% in April as wet weather deterred shoppers, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. "Sales volumes fell across most sectors, with clothing retailers, sports equipment, games and toys stores, and furniture stores doing badly as poor weather reduced footfall," the ONS said. Sales were up 0.7% across the three months to April compared to the previous three months following a weak December and holiday season, but were down 0.8% year on year. watch nowKris Hamer, director of insight at the British Retail Consortium, pointed to bright spots in the data in cosmetics and computer sales.
Persons: Lucy North, Kris Hamer, Hamer, GfK Organizations: National Statistics, Reuters, British Retail Consortium, Bank of England's Locations: London
For those outside the Westminster bubble, the announcement felt less like a starting pistol than a final gasp. But unlike Sunak, who with his wife Akshata Murty is worth an estimated £651 million ($828 million), most of us can’t afford it. The British economy never fully recovered from the 2008 recession and, consciously or not, most people still feel the sting every day. As Sam Knight recently noted in the New Yorker, the average British worker is estimated to be £14,000 ($17,800) worse off per year now than they would be if earnings had risen at pre-crisis rates. Her disastrous mini-budget wiped £30 billion off the UK economy that autumn, according to independent think tank Resolution Foundation, and sent interest rates rocketing.
Persons: Holly Thomas, Katie Couric, Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer, Tony Blair, Akshata Murty, Sam Knight, Brexit, Liz Truss, It’s, there’s, , Boris Johnson, Johnson, who’d, that’s, Blair Organizations: Katie Couric Media, CNN, London CNN —, Conservative, Westminster, Labour, British Medical Association, BMA, Commission, Yorker, Evening, Office, National Statistics, Tory, Foundation Locations: London, Westminster, England, British, Europe, Rwanda
U.K. inflation came in hotter than expected with a drop to 2.3% in April, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday, prompting traders to pull back from bets on a June interest rate cut from the British central bank. Core inflation, excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, dipped to 3.9% in April from 4.2% in March. A dramatic drop in the headline rate was widely expected because of the year-on-year decline in energy prices. Investors were instead set to focus on core and services inflation, after BOE policymakers indicated they would be willing to cut interest rates some time in the summer, but stressed that the timing would depend on fresh data. Following the print, money markets slashed the probability of a June rate cut to just 15%, down from 50% earlier in the day.
Persons: BOE Organizations: National Statistics, Bank of England's, Reuters Locations: Russia, Ukraine, British, U.K
Britain’s inflation rate slowed last month to its lowest level in about three years, approaching the Bank of England’s 2 percent target. Consumer prices rose 2.3 percent in April from a year earlier, down from 3.2 percent in March, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. The rate, which declined slightly less than economists expected, was the lowest since July 2021. Food inflation also slowed to 2.9 percent, from 4 percent. The steep decline in headline inflation, closing in on the central bank’s target, signals a new phase in British policymakers’ battle against inflation.
Organizations: Bank of England’s, National Statistics Locations: Ukraine
Wealthy Americans are starting to spend more carefully
  + stars: | 2024-05-19 | by ( Bryan Mena | )   time to read: +7 min
A robust stock market coupled with rising home values have boosted Americans’ wealth from 2019 through 2022, according to a Federal Reserve report on household finances. There’s been some evidence of wealthy Americans growing cautious in the latest round of company earnings results. Federal Reserve officials Michael Barr, Christopher Waller, Philip Jefferson and Raphael Bostic deliver remarks. Federal Reserve officials Christopher Waller, John Williams, Raphael Bostic, Michael Barr, Loretta Mester and Susan Collins deliver remarks. The Federal Reserve release minutes from its May policymaking meeting.
Persons: they’ve, , ” Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson, There’s, ” Jonathan Akeroyd, Moet, The Beverly Hilton, Michael Kovac, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, , Jacobson, ’ Ariel Barnes, Barnes, ” Barnes, Baby Boomer, Xers, Matt Egan, Read, Michael Barr, Christopher Waller, Philip Jefferson, Raphael Bostic, John Williams, Loretta Mester, Susan Collins, Robin, Ralph Lauren, Booz Allen Hamilton, Buckle Organizations: CNN Business, Bell, Washington CNN, Federal, Fed, Hartford Funds, CNN, Burberry, The Beverly, The Beverly Hilton Hotel, Walmart, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Jackson State University, Federal Reserve Bank of New, Palo Alto Networks, Urban Outfitters, NVIDIA, National Statistics, National Association of Realtors, Reserve, Intuit, US Labor Department, Chicago Fed, Global, US Commerce Department, Atlanta Fed, Booz, University of Michigan Locations: Washington, British, Americas, Beverly Hills , California, Jackson , Mississippi, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Palo, Ross, Burlington
Gen Z is getting hit hard by inflation
  + stars: | 2024-05-12 | by ( Krystal Hur | )   time to read: +8 min
For Gen Z, it was the Covid-19 pandemic. Why are we seeing that Gen Z is tapping into their credit more than their Millennial counterparts 10 years ago? Most Gen Z consumers are not homeowners. And so I think that’s been a big cause of what’s been driving a lot of that financial strain that Gen Z consumers have seen. The key is to not use the personal loans to pay off credit card debt and then run your credit card bills right back up after you do that.
Persons: TransUnion, Zers, Millennials, Gen Zers, Bell, Charlie Wise, we’ve, haven’t, You’re, Rishi Sunak, Hanna Ziady, Anna Cooban, Philip Jefferson, Loretta Mester, Jack, Neel Kashkari Organizations: CNN Business, Bell, New York CNN, Gross, Office, National Statistics, Bank of England, P, Federal, Cleveland Fed, Depot, US Labor Department, Cisco Systems, US Commerce Department, National Association of Home Builders, Index, Minneapolis, Walmart, Applied, Co, Baidu, Board Locations: New York, Kingdom, Wells Fargo
The increase follows falls of 0.3% in the fourth quarter and 0.1% in the third quarter of last year. The Bank of England now expects UK GDP to expand by 0.5% this year, double the pace forecast in February, according to projections published Thursday. A growing economy could, however, delay the interest rate cuts widely expected this year. “Stronger GDP growth raises the risk of stronger demand pressures on inflation,” analysts at Nomura wrote in a note, adding that Friday’s GDP release “casts doubt” over a cut in June. Annual UK inflation came in at 3.2% last month, a sharp slowdown from a rate above 10% about a year ago.
Persons: Rishi Sunak, Sunak, Nomura, , Andrew Bailey, Bailey Organizations: London CNN, Gross, Office, National Statistics, Conservative Party, Labour Party, The Bank of England, P Global . Service, Bank of England Locations: United Kingdom
Invigorating growth is critical: When the economy expands, it improves standards of living, promotes innovation and makes households wealthier. Economic growth in Spain and France was stronger than expected last year. But the US is outperforming mainly for one key reason: Robust productivity growth. Productivity growth came in well below expectations in the first three months of the year, according to Labor Department data released last week. A “course correction” isn’t an even stronger US economy: Economic policymakers around the world need to address a range of key issues.
Persons: ” Kristalina Georgieva, ” Georgieva, ” Stephen Gallagher, Gallagher, , , Hande Atay Alam, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Israel Katz, John Williams, Neel Kashkari, Lisa Cook, Krispy Kreme, John’s, Austan Goolsbee Organizations: Washington CNN, Monetary, IMF, European Central Bank, Labor Department, Societe Generale, CNN, Reuters, Palantir Technologies, Tyson Foods, Marriott Worldwide, New York Fed, Disney, UBS, Duke Energy, Suncor, Bros, Minneapolis, Toyota, Uber, Anheuser, Busch InBev, Airbnb, Fox Corporation, News Corporation, Duolingo, Icahn Enterprises, New York Times Company, AMC Entertainment, Honda, Warner Bros Discovery, Warner Music Group, Hyatt, Hilton, Bank of England, US Labor Department, United Kingdom’s, National Statistics, University of Michigan, . Chicago Fed, China’s National Bureau of Statistics Locations: Europe, China, United States, Spain, France, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Israel, Gaza, Olesya, “ Turkey, Lyft, TripAdvisor
“During some periods both the cost of buying (down payments) and the cost of owning (mortgage repayments) have been high. Mortgage rates biteThe average mortgage repayment has rocketed since late 2021 as the Bank of England, along with other major central banks, began jacking up official interest rates to bring down inflation. (The interest rate on some government bonds is used to set mortgage rates). On Monday, the average rate on a two-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at 5.82%, according to data from product comparison website Moneyfacts. “An election is due within the next year and a new government, committed to helping prospective first-time buyers, might start by acknowledging the challenges younger generations face not just in housing but more generally,” the BSA said.
Persons: Liz Truss, Organizations: London CNN, Building Societies Association, BSA, Office, National Statistics, Bank of England, UK Finance Locations: United Kingdom, London, England, Wales
Food prices provided the biggest downward drag on the headline rate, the ONS said, while motor fuels pushed it higher. The core figure, excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, came in at 4.2%, compared with a projection of 4.1%. Services inflation, a key watcher for U.K. monetary policymakers, declined from 6.1% to 6% — again above the expectations of both economists and the BOE. This week, investors have been monitoring signs of a cooling U.K. labor market, with unemployment unexpectedly rising to 4.2% in the period between December and February. The central bank's own forecast is for inflation to "briefly drop" to its 2% target in the spring before increasing slightly.
Persons: BOE, BOE Governor Andrew Bailey Organizations: National Statistics, Bank of England, Reuters, Federal Reserve Locations: U.S
Consumer prices in Britain rose at the slowest rate in two and a half years, the country’s Office for National Statistics reported on Wednesday. Inflation was 3.2 percent in the year through March, down from 3.4 percent in February but a touch higher than the 3.1 percent economists expected, a sign that the path to cooler inflation could be bumpy. Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, was 4.2 percent, down from 4.5 percent the month before. Economists expect inflation to continue to slow over the next few months, possibly going below the Bank of England’s target of 2 percent, as household energy bills fall. Britain’s unemployment rate rose more than expected in its latest reading, published this week.
Organizations: National Statistics, Bank of Locations: Britain
LONDON — U.K. gross domestic product rose 0.1% in February, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday, providing another sign of a return to sluggish economic growth this year. The economy contracted in the third and fourth corners of 2023, putting the U.K. in a technical recession. Construction output, which boosted growth at the start of the year, fell 1.9% in February. The reading "all-but confirms the recession ended" last year, Paul Dales, chief U.K. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note. British inflation fell more than expected in March, to a nearly two-and-a-half year low of 3.4%.
Persons: Paul Dales Organizations: Street, LONDON, National Statistics, Capital Economics Locations: London, England, U.S
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 31 points higher at 7,949, Germany's DAX up more than 100 points at 18,051, France's CAC 47 points higher at 8,064 and Italy's FTSE MIB 150 points higher at 33,212, according to data from IG. European markets are set to open higher on Friday morning as investors parse through U.K. economic data and reflect on a somewhat murky U.S. inflation outlook. The market moves come after the pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed lower in the previous session. Stateside, investors digested fresh inflation data in search of clues on exactly when the U.S. central bank may start cutting interest rates. In Europe, Britain's economic output increased by 0.1% in monthly terms in February, in line with expectations, according to figures published Friday by the Office for National Statistics.
Persons: Germany's DAX, Dow Jones Organizations: CAC, IG, European Central Bank, U.S, U.S . Federal, Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dow, Office, National Statistics Locations: U.S ., U.S, Europe
But a resurgence in the industry could complicate the Federal Reserve’s ongoing inflation fight, either delaying the first interest rate cut or resulting in fewer cuts this year, some economists say. Interest rates have been at a two-decade high since July, after the Fed raised rates aggressively over the prior year and a half. The economy picking up further strength would spook Wall Street because of what it means for interest rates — and some manufacturers say they’re optimistic about the future. The Bank of Canada announces its latest interest rate decision. China’s National Bureau of Statistics releases March inflation data.
Persons: Joe Biden, , Tom Barkin, , Mary Daly, ” Daly, Jerome Powell, Neel Kashkari, ” Kashkari, ” Richard de Chazal, Blair, they’re “, Amazon’s, It’s, Ramishah Maruf, Amazon, haven’t, Read Organizations: Washington CNN, Institute for Supply Management, Congress, Fed, ” Richmond Fed, ” San Francisco Fed, Minneapolis, Dow, Blair Equity Research, Amazon, Fresh, Delta Air Lines, US Labor Department, Index, Bank of Canada, Federal Reserve, National Bureau of Statistics, Constellation Brands, European Central Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, State, National Statistics, The University of Michigan Locations: Richmond , Virginia, ” San, Las Vegas, India, Wells Fargo, Progressive, BlackRock
Is it last orders for London’s nightlife?
  + stars: | 2024-04-06 | by ( Anna Cooban | )   time to read: +9 min
London CNN —It’s Thursday, 11.00 p.m., and on a street in London’s Soho district, there’s a loud clatter. “People haven’t got the money,” she told CNN. “That’s when their bills started coming through, the first heating bills from the winter,” he told CNN. Even before the ravages of the pandemic, the number of London’s nightlife venues was in steady decline. They don’t just go out for the sake of going out now,” she told CNN.
Persons: London CNN —, Lesley Lewis, haven’t, , Michael Kill, Grazyna, ” Kill, , , that’s, Kill’s, Jeremy Joseph, Freddie Mercury, ” Joseph, Jack Henry, Henry, Lutz Leichsenring, Fabian Sommer, Leichsenring, London’s, Sadiq Khan, Amy Lamé, Lamé, Khan, Lamé “, Charlie Fenemer, It’s, Becky Lam, Lam, ” Chris Lau Organizations: London CNN, Staff, CNN, Time Industries Association, York Minister, London, , , German Commission, UNESCO, United Nations, Office, National Statistics, City Hall, Labour, Shady Locations: London’s Soho, London, Wales, Soho , London, Hoxton, London’s, Berlin, “ Berlin, Hong Kong, Soho, Hong, Beijing
People walk along Waterloo Bridge past the City of London skyline, the capital's financial district, on a sunny and mild day. LONDON — U.K. gross domestic product grew 0.2% in January, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday, as construction output jumped unexpectedly. It follows a 0.1% contraction in December, while the U.K. economy entered a shallow recession in the second half of last year. Construction output was 1.1% higher in January, the ONS said, but fell 0.9% over a three-month period. Services recorded 0.2% growth in January, providing the biggest contribution to growth, as production output fell 0.2%.
Organizations: LONDON, National Statistics, Reuters, Services Locations: London, U.K
Vinyl records are now so hot they move UK inflation
  + stars: | 2024-03-11 | by ( Hanna Ziady | )   time to read: +3 min
London CNN —The prices of vinyl records will feed into UK inflation statistics for the first time since 1992, highlighting a surge in their popularity among British consumers driven in part by Taylor Swift. UK inflation has slowed from 11.1% to 4% but remains above the central bank’s 2% target. LPs — which dropped out of the UK inflation basket more than three decades ago, owing to the rise of CDs and cassettes — have made a huge comeback in recent years. Last year, 6.1 million vinyl records were sold in Britain, the highest number since 1990, according to data from the British Phonographic Industry, an association of UK record companies and labels. Air fryers, rice cakes reflect healthier habitsOther new items in this year’s inflation basket highlight the wider adoption of healthier lifestyles.
Persons: Taylor Swift, Matt Corder, , Taylor Swift’s, Jo Twist, fryer, sanitizer, Organizations: London CNN, National Statistics, Bank of England, British Phonographic Industry, BPI Locations: Britain
Overall, consumer prices rose 0.3% in January 2024 from December 2023, according to the latest Consumer Price Index. The Labor Department releases its Consumer Price Index for February on Tuesday. The drivers of services inflation have been threefold: Vehicle insurance, hospital insurance, and financial services. The US Labor Department releases its Consumer Price Index for February. The US Commerce Department releases February figures on retail sales in addition to January data on business inventories.
Persons: don’t abate, Price, it’s, Bell, Saira Malik, They’ve, I’ve, Biden, Joe Biden, I’m, , Biden’s, Read, Guess Organizations: Washington CNN, Federal Reserve, Labor Department, Oracle, Asana, Vail Resorts, US Labor Department, US Treasury Department, National Statistics, Adobe, Dollar, Sporting Goods, Getty, US Commerce Department, The New York Fed, Manufacturing Index, University of Michigan Locations: Nuveen, Thursday’s State, America
A cut to national insurance — a levy paid by people who work — costing around £10 billion ($12.7 billion) is likely, according to multiple UK media reports. But soaring government debt, crumbling public services and a lackluster economy leave the chancellor with very little room for further substantial giveaways. Christopher Furlong/Getty ImagesOther so-called “unprotected” areas of the national budget, such as social care and the police force, are also at risk. “That seems unlikely when public services are creaking,” they added. OBR chair Richard Hughes said in January that the government had provided no detailed breakdown of departmental spending plans beyond March next year, giving only headline figures.
Persons: Jeremy Hunt, Rishi Sunak’s, Hunt, , Laura Kuenssberg, Jeff, Christopher Furlong, , Richard Hughes, ” Hughes Organizations: London CNN —, Bank of England, Treasury, “ Conservatives, ” Hunt’s Conservative Party, Labour Party, Reuters, Office, National Statistics, Local Government Association, House, National Health Service, Capital Economics, Locations: Ukraine, Birmingham, England
UK posts record budget surplus in January
  + stars: | 2024-02-21 | by ( Elliot Smith | )   time to read: +2 min
Jeremy Hunt, UK chancellor of the exchequer, holding the despatch box as he stands with treasury colleagues outside 11 Downing Street in London, UK.. Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesLONDON — The U.K. logged a record £16.7 billion ($21.1 billion) net budget surplus in January, according to official figures released on Wednesday. The Office for National Statistics noted that the country's public finances usually run a surplus in January, unlike during other months, as receipts from self-assessed annual income tax payments come in. Combined self-assessed income and capital gains tax receipts totaled £33 billion in January, the ONS said, down £1.8 billion from the same period of last year. Total government tax receipts came in at a record £90.8 billion, up £2.9 billion compared to January 2023. The figures on Wednesday mark the final set of public finances data before Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt delivers his Spring Budget, which outlines the government's fiscal policy for the year, on March 6.
Persons: Jeremy Hunt, Laura Trott, Hunt Organizations: Bloomberg, Getty, National Statistics, Finance, Labour Party Locations: London, Covid, Ukraine
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