U.K. retail sales unexpectedly surged in the month after Britain voted to quit the European Union, as hot weather bolstered sales of clothing and footwear and a drop in the pound encouraged tourists to snap up watches and jewelry.
The volume of goods sold in stores and online jumped 1.4 percent, after dropping 0.9 percent in June, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed on Thursday, exceeding a prediction of 0.1 percent. Sales excluding auto fuel advanced 1.5 percent.
The report suggests the economy started the third quarter on a strong footing, even after the Brexit referendum knocked confidence and prompted the Bank of England to revise down its growth forecasts. The ONS collected the data between July 3 and July 30, making this the first full report since the vote.
“This relative resilience in spending is not too surprising since the fundamentals — such as low interest rates, inflation and a strong jobs market — remain supportive,” said Ruth Gregory, an economist at Capital Economics in London. “But we would be wary about reading too much into the jump” because the figures can be volatile and the weather effect may prove temporary, she said.
Warm days and promotions at department stores helped propel sales in so-called non-specialized shops by 3.9 percent, the most since December 2013. Food sales were up 0.6 percent, after sliding 1 percent in June. Textiles, clothing and footwear increased 3.5 percent.
“Better weather this year could be a major factor,” said Joe Grice, the ONS’s chief economic adviser. “There is also anecdotal evidence from respondents suggesting the weaker pound has encouraged overseas visitors to spend.”
The pound has dropped more than 12 percent against the dollar since the Brexit vote, making goods cheaper for overseas buyers. Sales of watches and jewelry climbed 3.1 percent on the month and 16.6 percent from a year earlier, the most since November 2014.
Sterling jumped 0.8 percent after the data, rising to $1.3152 at 9:37 a.m. London time.
Thursday’s data may provide a fillip to the outlook, with consumer spending being a key driver of growth since the financial crisis. Even with confidence slumping in the aftermath of the referendum, the British Retail Consortium said its gauge of retail sales rose the most in five months in July.
Still, some economists say it will take time for the full effects of the decision to leave the EU to be fully felt. The BOE unveiled a package of stimulus earlier this month to cushion any slowdown. The measures included cutting interest rates to a record low 0.25 percent and fresh asset purchases.
Measured by the deflator, prices at stores — including petrol stations — fell an annual 2 percent in July, marking the 25th month in which retailers cut prices.
Coronavirus – Africa: IMF Staff Completes Staff Visit to Senegal
IMF Visits Senegal to Assess COVID-19 Impacts
End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board.
The Senegalese economy is expected to contract this year as a result of disruptions in economic activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recovery is underway, but uncertainty regarding its speed and extent remains significant; execution of the revised 2020 budget is proceeding largely in line with expectations, with a robust implementation of the Economic and Social Resilience Program (PRES) to address the COVID-19 pandemic; the authorities and the IMF team made considerable progress on key parameters for the draft 2021 budget, ahead of the second PCI review mission planned for late October 2020.
A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Ms. Corinne Deléchat, conducted a virtual mission from September 9-18, 2020, to update macroeconomic projections, discuss 2020 budget execution and plans for the 2021 budget. At the conclusion of this mission, Ms. Deléchat issued the following statement:
“The Senegalese economy has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with real GDP growth now expected to contract by 0.7 percent this year, reflecting the larger-than-anticipated disruptions in economic activity stemming from the pandemic and strict containment measures. A gradual recovery started in May with the lifting of most COVID-19-related restrictions, followed by the reopening of borders in July. Senegal’s strong health response is showing encouraging signs with a steady decline in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past four weeks. In 2021, output is projected to rebound back to above 5 percent, boosted in part by favorable prospects for agriculture. This projection is however subject to significant downside risks, reflecting uncertainties around the speed of the global recovery and the evolution of the pandemic, which could continue to affect important sectors of the economy such as tourism, transport and hospitality.
“Budget execution through end-August 2020 was broadly satisfactory, and the objectives for the remainder of the year set in the revised 2020 budget remain within reach. Uncertainties related to the mobilization of programmed resources however remain. Therefore, the mission encourages the authorities to continue with their prudent approach in order to maintain the deficit at around 6 percent of GDP as envisaged in the 2020 revised budget. The mission commends the authorities for the strong and transparent implementation of their Economic and Social Resilience Program (PRES). Most of the planned COVID-19 measures have already been executed, as detailed in the June 2020 quarterly budget implementation report. The mission welcomes the recent repeal of the decree on derogatory procurement procedures for COVID-19 related spending, which will from now on follow the normal procurement procedure. The authorities have also finalized a new recovery plan which aims to support a return to strong and inclusive private sector-led growth, focusing on accelerating the structural transformation process and enhancing the economy’s resilience through diversification of the productive base.
“The mission and the authorities made significant inroads in discussing the contours of the draft 2021 budget. Given high uncertainty and lingering effects of the pandemic on some sectors of the economy, the draft 2021 budget should aim to strike a balance between supporting the recovery, including through a robust investment plan on the one hand, and fiscal and debt sustainability also consistent with the WAEMU’s external stability on the other. To that effect, the 2021 fiscal stance should continue to signal a strong commitment to return gradually to a budget deficit of 3 percent of GDP by 2022, in line with the WAEMU convergence criterion, as the situation normalizes. Discussion on the draft budget will continue in the coming weeks.
“The second PCI review mission will take place in late October 2020, with a Board meeting tentatively planned for December 2020.
“The mission wishes to thank the authorities for the frank, open and constructive dialogue.”
Over 60% of The global Gold Demand is for Jewelry and Investment
More Than 60% of Global Gold Demand is for Jewelry, Investment
Data presented by Buy Shares indicates that jewelry and investment account for 37.29% and 26% respectively of the total global gold demand. As of September 2020, the total global demand for gold stood at 5.29 million kilograms or 186.8 million ounces.
Gold’s role as a safe haven for investment
Central bank’s demand for gold accounts for 12.14%. Other notable sectors in gold demand include bar demand (7.45%), industry (6.07%), electronics (4.86%), coin (3.85%), medals (1.13%), other (0.92%). Dentistry recorded the least demand at 12,587 kilograms or 0.23%.
The research highlighted the growth of gold as an investment avenue. According to the research report:
“Gold as an investment is subject to cyclical volatility since many investors speculate on its value. The high demand for gold for investment can be linked to the fact that the precious metal is considered a safe haven in the event of market volatility. This year, the market experienced the highest volatility rate due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In general, gold can be used in portfolios to protect the purchasing power, reduce volatility, and minimize losses during moments of market shock.”
The Buy Shares research also overviewed countries with the highest demand for gold. The research reviewed 15 top countries with the demand totaling to 2,042,725 kilograms as of September 2020.
China has the largest share at 700,442 kilograms, while India is second at 625,561 kilograms. The United States is a distant third with its goal demand almost five times less than China at 148,316 kilograms. Turkey and Germany emerged fourth and fifth at 100,380 kilograms and 90,472 kilograms.
US 2020 Election: Leading Organisations Donate Over $255m for Campaigns
Top 1o Leading Organisations Donate Over $255m Towards US Election campaigns
Ten leading global business organisations have donated over $255 million towards the US 2020 election campaigns, according to recent data compiled by Buy Shares.
The data indicates that the top ten organisations contributed a combined $255.20 million towards the U.S elections campaign as of September 8, 2020.
The report also noted that the Democratic Party receives the largest donations at $135.59 million while the Republican Party followed with $119.61 million.
Across both parties, Uline Inc led with $40.09 million contributions towards the Republican Party campaign.
Other top donors towards the Republican Party include Blackstone Group ($31.97 million), American Action Network ($19.88 million), Las Vegas Sands ($14.06 million), and Adelson Clinic for Drug AbuseTreatment & Research ($13.59 million).
On the other hand, Fahr LLC is the largest contributor towards Democratic Party campaigns at $39.65 million. Other leading donors include Sixteen Thirty Fund ($34.33 million), Paloma Partners ($21.76 million), Senate Majority PAC ($21.41 million), and Carpenters & Joiners Union ($18.42 million).
According to the research report: “There is still debate if the organization’s donations influence politics. According to experts, successful companies usually bet their contributions towards the winning candidates. On the other hand, small firms are likely to back candidates who will lose. Political pundits argue that big companies are in a better position at foreseeing future events. To a large extent, the company’s usually support candidates or political parties that are likely to support their priorities. Additionally, in some incidents, stocks of companies that backed the winning candidate might rise after the election. The boost in stock prices tends to attract investors.”
Campaign contributions are used to cover the cost of travel, political consulting, and other the direct costs of communicating the party’s agenda.
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