Thursday, 21st July: Data in the UK today revealed that British retail sales fell at their sharpest rate in 6 months in June. In the 5 weeks to July 2nd, retail sales volumes fell by 0.9% with clothing stores reporting the sharpest annual drop in quarterly sales in 25 years. The blame? Would be easy to suggest Brexit but it seems stores are blaming the weather than the UK uncertainty. It does then leave the next question… what affect will the referendum result have on the UK economy, and is worse still to come?
In Europe, with many expecting Mario Draghi and the ECB to hold off till September before further easing…well they did just that. Interest rates have been left unchanged: the deposit rate stays at -0.4% (meaning banks pay to leave money with the central bank) whilst the rate on regular loans is still at a record low of 0%. However, Draghi did leave the door open to provide further stimulus, without fully committing to do so, for when they next meet in September. They believe that by then, the implications of the UK’s decision to leave the EU will be more clear , with growth prospects more transparent. The euro fell in afternoon trading from their intra-day highs against both the pound and US dollar and at the time of writing GBP/EUR is €1.20.
The fallout from the UK’s decision to leave the EU has been fully felt by low-cost airline carrier easyJet. In the 4 weeks since the vote the airline claim to have seen their cost rise by £40m as a result of the crash in sterling. The drop has made fuel purchases more expensive for the group as they pay for it in US dollars (sterling has dropped c.10% since June 24th), whilst the additional expense in travelling abroad is putting some British holidaymakers off. In the group’s 3rd quarter results passenger numbers have increased despite further geo-political unrest but revenue per seat fell 8.3%. The shares grounded themselves to the bottom of the UK’s blue chip index and ended the day -5.32%.
Markets in Europe ended mixed: the DAX ended +0.14% whilst the CAC and FTSE 100 ended in the red (-0.08% and -0.43% respectively).