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Retail sales rose in July despite Brexit slump fears, report finds
Total sales increased by 1.9%, according to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG’s latest survey, warmer weather helped Britain’s retailers sell more in July than during the same period last year.
A separate report, by Barclaycard, found spending in restaurants, pubs and cinemas continued to grow strongly in the month following the vote.
Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, found that consumer spending growth fell to 2.6% in July, down from 3.6% in May and June. Nevertheless, the warmer weather may have played a part in a 12.2% increase in spending in pubs and a 12.8% rise in what card-holders spent in restaurants, it said.
EU single market membership ‘boosts UK’s GDP’
Maintaining the UK’s membership of the EU’s single market could add an extra 4% to its economy, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). The think tank weighed up the benefits of staying in the single market compared with membership of the World Trade Organization alone.
The UK voted to leave the EU in the June referendum. Paul Johnson, IFS director, said there was a big difference between access and membership of the single market. “We’ve heard a lot of people saying of course we’ll have access if we leave the single market union. “Broadly speaking, yes, we will, as every other country in the world does. You can export into the EU wherever you are from, but there are different sorts of barriers to doing so.”
Rise in traffic threatens to push hard shoulder off the motorway
Britain’s motorways are bearing the effect of a record increase in traffic that has spurred demand for the hard shoulder to be turned into an extra lane. Official figures show that motorway traffic has increased twice as fast as on other types of road. Over the past two decades, it has soared by almost 60%, with vehicles travelling 67.4 billion miles over the past 12 months.
Experts said the rise was driven by improvements to the economy, with more hauliers and internet shopping delivery vans transporting goods long distances. It was also claimed that car drivers had been tempted back on to some of Britain’s busiest motorways such as the M1 and M25 after the completion of roadworks, which had led to “hideous” congestion.
The Financial Times
UK housing market sees measure of optimism return
Some optimism has returned to the UK housing market as the initial shock of the Brexit vote begins to wear off.
Bottom of Form
While predictions remain gloomy in the short term, particularly in London, the July Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors survey of estate agents and surveyors suggests market professionals are more optimistic about the outlook a year ahead.
Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said this suggested that “confidence remains more resilient than might have been anticipated”.
The recent cut in the main interest rate by the Bank of England — along with the clear signal that more rate cuts are on the horizon — should also help to reduce the cost of a mortgage.
Government sells debt at all-time record low interest rate in wake of Brexit vote
The Treasury’s Debt Management Office this morning sold debt at a new record low interest rate, underlining the massive appetite from investors for British Government bonds in the wake of the Brexit vote and sparking fresh calls for the Chancellor to take advantage by ramping up its infrastructure investment.
The Debt Management Office sold £850m of at yield of minus 1.72%. When the price of a bond rises its yield (or effective interest rate) falls, meaning that investors paid so much for this particular Gilt that the yield turned negative.
Today’s yield beats the previous record set on 13 July when a 10-year index-linked Gilt was sold with a yield of minus 1.58 per cent. The negative yield means the buyers are effectively paying the Government for the privilege of lending to it.
Many economists have encouraged ministers to exploit record low long-term government borrowing rates in the wake of the Brexit vote by ramping up spending on needed infrastructure projects.
GDP data from Germany, Italy, EU; IMF report on China
Europe’s biggest economy grew 0.4% in Q2, twice as fast as expected. It’s a slowdown from the first quarter though, when Germany expanded 0.7%. The Italian economy ground to a halt in the second quarter, disappointing analysts who had pencilled in 0.2% growth. In the first quarter, it grew by 0.3%.
In China, industrial production rose by 6% in July, down from 6.2% growth in June, but markets seem less concerned about the slowdown in China than they were at the beginning of the year.
Google’s Driverless-Car – How John Krafcik went from mechanical to digital and why he thinks you have to go fully autonomous.
Does Google want to build its own cars?
Google realized that it’s really hard to build a car. We built the little prototype that gave us a taste of the complexity. And we had [automotive engineering company] Roush and Conti [Germany’s Continental Automotive Systems] helping us. The 100 hybrid minivans from [our new partner] Fiat Chrysler more than doubles our test fleet.
What will transportation look like 20 years from now?
I do think one of the fundamental shifts the transportation world will pivot around is a movement by all the players to recognize that the unit of economic optimization will have moved sometime during this period from vehicles sold to trips provided. Fully autonomous cars are going to be more expensive. Society will find ways to better utilize those assets. Cars are used just 4 percent of their time—96 percent of the time they’re sitting in parking spaces, and each car has somewhere on the order of three or four parking spaces reserved in its name in our great land. That’s a shame, especially for cities.
Full interview: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-john-krafcik-interview-issue/