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Retail sales rebound in August, says shopping trade body
Retail sales rebounded last month despite shoppers facing pressure from higher inflation, according to an industry report. The British Retail Consortium, working with consultancy KPMG, said like-for-like sales rose 1.3% in August, against a 0.9% fall for the same month in 2016. Sales of autumn fashion ranges and back-to-school kit were big contributors to the rise, it said. But the body warned belt-tightening by consumers was still a risk. Household finances have been squeezed by tepid wage growth and higher inflation, leading to an expansion of credit and a decline in savings. The cost of living held steady at 2.6% in July, as a drop in fuel prices offset the rising cost of food, clothing and household goods. Wages are growing at a slower 2.1% rate.
VW recalls 1.8 million cars in China
More than 1.8 million Volkswagen cars are being recalled in China because of a faulty fuel pump.
China’s consumer watchdog said the recall affected vehicles made by VW and its two Chinese joint ventures with SAIC and FAW. The defect can cause the engine to stall due to an electronics failure in the fuel pump. The makers will replace the fuel pump control modules free of charge starting in December. It was not immediately clear whether it was part of a previously announced global recall.
Brexit: David Davis to update MPs returning after summer break
Brexit Secretary David Davis is to update MPs on last week’s negotiations with the European Union later.
Mr Davis will make a statement in the House of Commons about the progress of the third round of Brexit talks.
It comes after the prime minister said the UK was ready to “intensify” talks rather than stick to its one-week-a-month schedule. EU officials have warned over the progress of negotiations and said the UK must “start negotiating seriously”. As the Commons returns after the summer recess, MPs will also hear about plans for science and innovation in the UK post-Brexit and debate the government’s EU withdrawal bill.
Classic cars hold on to pole position in ‘passion assets’ league table
Classic cars may have fallen out of favour in 2016, but they remain the top-performing asset over the long term for the super-rich investing in “passion assets”. According to the Coutts “Objects of Desire” index, while classic cars – which include vintage Ferraris and Porsches – may have tumbled in value by 10.4 per cent in 2016, they are up by more than 330 per cent over the 12 year-life of the report. The overall value of the cars tracked by the index fell despite the most expensive sale of a Ferrari 250 GT in 2016 after a 1961 SWB California Spider that had been found in a barn went for $18.2m.
Manufacturing buoyant as orders soar to historic highs
Britain’s manufacturers continue to defy official statistics, with the number of companies reporting booming output, orders and exports returning to historic highs in the third quarter, according to the EEF, the sector’s representative body. In what is likely to be welcome news for the government ahead of it unveiling its long-awaited industrial strategy, the buoyancy recorded by manufacturing industry appears to be spread across the country. For the first time in two years, the balance of companies planning to increase investment was positive across all UK regions.
Petrol slips back as US refineries restart
US benchmark petrol prices slid more than 4 per cent on Monday as refineries began to gradually restart operations after tropical storm Harvey struck the heart of the country’s energy sector. Torrential rainfall and flooding along the US gulf coast hurt the operations of almost one-third of US oil refineries and curtailed flows along major fuel pipelines last week, driving up petrol prices to two-year highs. As several refiners — alongside terminals, drilling platforms and other facilities — sought to resume operations, Nymex RBOB futures contracts for October fell 4.2 per cent to $1.67 a gallon after reaching $2.17 a gallon last week.
UK car sales fall for 5th month running
Breaking! Britain’s car industry has suffered its fifth monthly fall in sales. New car registrations shrank by 6.4% in August, extending a sales decline that began in April and has fuelled worries over the UK economy. It means that sales in 2017 are 2.4% lower than a year ago, with 1,640,241 new cars joining British roads since January.
How city traffic has slowed to a crawl: Average in London is now just 5mph with speeds in eight other major cities also falling
Traffic in central London has slowed to an average speed of little more than 5 miles an hour, a report shows. Speeds have come down in nine of ten cities in a major study – only Bradford showed an increase. Experts blame the slowdown on increased traffic, more cycle and bus lanes and expanded pedestrian zones. The measures are part of an attempt by councils to cut air pollution and discourage driving. London was the slowest city with vehicles within one mile of the centre moving at an average speed of 5.13mph this year compared with 6.35mph in the same three-month period last year.