British Consumers Continue To Feel The Pinch

Monday, 10th April: A survey out from Visa today shows just another way in which the UK’s decision to leave the EU is affecting consumers. Spending (on its credit and debit cards, accounting for c.1/3rd of consumer spending) increased 0.9% year-on-year in the 3-months to March, demonstrating the weakest quarter performance since late 2013, and down from 2.7% in Q4 of 2016. In March alone, spending dropped 0.7%, after being flat in February. The slowdown in consumer spending demonstrates the effect rising inflation (in part caused by sterling decline), combined with economic uncertainty is having on the everyday shopper. The next instalment of inflation data for the UK is released tomorrow.

The Barclays chief executive, Jes Staley, has been stepping on his compliance team’s toes. Today he has apologised for getting “too personally involved” in an attempt to find out the identity of a whistleblower at the bank. It has led to an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) over both his role, and the bank itself, as Staley tried to find out who wrote anonymous letters over concerns of a senior employee who had been recruited by Barclays earlier in 2016. As a consequence,  Staley looks set to lose out on £1.3m of his bonus, although this has yet to be decided, although his position as Chief Executive looks to be secure at the next AGM in May.

There are always rumours that airlines overbook flights, with the carrier hoping at least one passenger doesn’t turn up, and you, as a passenger, hoping it’s not you who gets declined to travel. But what happens if everyone does turn up for their paid flight? Well last night, this situation arose, and one passenger wasn’t happy. After refusing to give up their seats, United Airline randomly selected 4 passengers to vacate their seats for “personnel that needed to be at work the next day”, (turns out it was its own personnel). As one passenger refused to leave the plane voluntarily, video footage shows him being forced off the plan by security staff. All he wanted to do was get home, (and go to work the next day).

The FTSE 100 in the UK lacked any real direction at the start of this short week, closing -0.01%. In France the CAC 40 fell 0.54% as polls tightened slightly in the run up to the French Presidential elections over the weekend.