UK retail sales surge as consumers ignore Brexit and keep shopping – business live | Business

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UK retail sales surge as consumers ignore Brexit and keep shopping – business live | Business
UK retail sales surge as consumers ignore Brexit and keep shopping – business live | Business


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

Is Europe’s economy still stuck in a rut, or turning a corner? Investors will get fresh clues today when data firm IHS Markit releases its ‘flash’ surveys of purchasing managers in France, Germany, and the rest of the eurozone for this month.

March was pretty grim, with eurozone factories suffering their biggest drop in output in six years as trade conflicts between the US and China caused global ripples.




Reminder: last month’s PMI report was dragged down by a manufacturing slump

Reminder: last month’s PMI report was dragged down by a manufacturing slump Photograph: IHS Markit

These new PMI reports, due by 9am, may show that activity is picking up in April. That would be a welcome sign, especially after China posted stronger growth than expected yesterday (6.4% in the first quarter of 2019).

Germany’s manufacturing PMI is expected to rise to 45.2 from 44.1 — that’s still a low figures, indicating factories kept contracting. But its services sector will probably keep growing (with a PMI of around 55, down from 55.4 in March)

The French data isn’t expected to sparkle. France’s factory PMI is tipped to rise from 49.7 to 50 — which would show stagnation. The services PMI could rise from 49.1 to 49.8 (a small contraction).

Jasper Lawler of London Capital Group explains why investors will be watching:


There is a feeling in the markets that the global economy is just starting to stabilise. Traders will pay particular attention to Germany’s manufacturing sector, which suffered a sharp contraction across recent months.

Investors are slowly starting to believe that the second quarter could be an improvement on the first, economically. However, more economic data is needed to confirm these suspicions. Today’s eurozone and US PMI data could go a long way to confirming or disproving such beliefs.

Also coming up today

The latest UK retail sales figures are released. They’re expected to show that British consumers spend less in the shops in March, with retail sales (excluding fuel) down by 0.3%.

Konstantinos Anthis, head of research at ADSS, explains:


Brexit uncertainty during the past month, as the UK was scrambling to get an extension from the EU, should be reflected on the consumer spending figures.

In the City, consumer good giant Unilever and pest control firm Rentokil are releasing financial results. They’ve both posted solid sales growth.

Chris Bailey
(@Financial_Orbit)

UK RNS today #1 –

Unilever – underlying sales +3.1% with 1.2% from volume and 1.9% from price with the underlying sales in emerging markets +5.0%. Sales growth still lower half of 3-5% range for FY but better noises around margin/cash flow


April 18, 2019

Chris Bailey
(@Financial_Orbit)

UK RNS today #3 –

Polymetal – gold equivalent production +27% yoy in Q1 and reiterates FY outlook. Pox-2 project rollout continues

Rentokil – ‘good start to the year’ with 4% organic revenue growth driven by Pest Control


April 18, 2019

The board of pizza chain Domino faces a shareholder revolt over its pay policies at its AGM today.

Plus, Pinterest will be floating on Wall Street.

CNBC’s Street Signs
(@StreetSignsCNBC)

Today on #StreetSignsEurope:
– Eurozone April Flash PMIs
– Weakness in Asian Markets
– Pinterest/ Zoom IPOs with Richard Clode, @JHIAdvisorsUS
– UK Retail Sales
– Easter trends with @Fortnums
@nbctracie previews Mueller Report release


April 18, 2019

The agenda

  • 9am BST: Eurozone ‘flash’ PMIs for manufacturing and services in April
  • 9.30am BST: Bank of England credit conditions survey
  • 9.30am BST: UK retail sales for March
  • 1.30pm BST: US retail sales for March





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