Thursday, 2nd June: Despite a lengthy bidding process, administrators have decided no offer was deemed acceptable and so after 88 years, BHS stores will be no more on the British high street. All 163 BHS stores will close, whilst 11,000 jobs are to be lost. BHS were put in to administration in April and follows Austin Reed who this week announced they were due to close all of their 120 stores by the end of June. The winding up of BHS is the biggest high street collapse since Woolworths closed its doors in 2008.
Little surprise from Mario Draghi today as the ECB announced they are to keep interest rates unchanged, holding the benchmark interest rate at 0%. The deposit rate has also been held at -0.4%. It upgraded its growth and inflation forecasts for the year but warned of global economy related risks, and you guessed it, the upcoming “Brexit” vote. Growth had previously been forecast at 1.4% in March for 2016, and today this was increased to 1.6%. Forecasts for 2017 remained the same whilst forecasts were slightly reduced for 2018. Inflation is forecast to increase in the second half of the year. The Euro weakened in afternoon trading against both the pound and US dollar.
Also failing to surprise markets was the results of the OPEC meeting, which was also held in Vienna today. Members of OPEC once again made no change to its oil output policy. The last time the output policy was changed was in December 2008. Brent oil, which has been trading around the $50 a barrel mark for the last few days, initially fell on the back of the announcement but regained those losses to trade at $50.04 at the time of writing.
In Asia the Japanese PM Abe delayed the scheduled sales tax increased for another two years, driving the Yen stronger where it currently stands at ¥108.70. The Nikkei ended Thursday’s trading -2.32%, adding to Wednesday’s losses. This is the second time the sales tax has been delayed, adding to investors’ concerns surrounding economic uncertainties.
It was another day in the red for UK markets as the FTSE 100 ended -0.10%. The CAC closed -0.21% whilst the DAX clung on to marginal gains, ending the day +0.04%. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 are both trading so slightly in the red.