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Economy in Brief

UK Retail Sales Swing Widely
by Robert Brusca  July 19, 2012

In all likelihood celebration for the Queen’s Jubilee is responsible for erratic path of sales pushing them up then sending them crashing back to normal levels when the merry-making was over. Even accounting for that there is little in the pattern of UK retail sales volumes to like.

In the quarter to date retail sales volumes are off at a 2.6% annual rate –and this statistic is now for the just completed quarter ended in June.

As the table shows what good news there is comes from the HICP which has broken lower for two months in a row softening the blow from sharply declining nominal retail sales and giving the band of England some breathing room at last, if precious little of that.

The UK economy is struggling and the Bank of England has amid a split vote approved more securities purchases (quantitative easing). It has launched a special program to incent banks for lending to the public. It is starting to dig deeper into its bag of tricks and to do things that in the US would be derided as ‘fiscal policy’ and opposed by many if not even prohibited for the Fed to do by its new constraints imposed since the financial crisis.

After a hiatus and a period of rising European stock markets, we have Spanish bonds in the soup again with yields rising above 7% (the imaginary line that demarcates stress). The UK can’t help but get caught up in the problems of Europe as a special member of the EU with full integration except for the common currency. The UK will be at risk the problems that befall Europe. And that is not the kind of blow it needs to suffer at the moment.

UK Real and Nominal Retail Sales Quarter
Nominal Jun-12 May-12 Apr-12 3-MO 6-MO 12-MO YrAGo 2-date
Retail Total -0.5% 1.0% -3.1% -9.9% -1.1% 2.0% 3.9% -5.2%
MV and Parts
Food Bev & Tobacco -1.1% 0.4% -0.6% -5.4% -2.9% 1.5% 1.9% -2.6%
Clothing footwear 1.2% 3.5% -6.5% -8.2% -2.8% 2.3% 6.0% -7.0%
Real
Retail Volume:all 0.1% 1.5% -2.7% -4.6% 0.6% 1.6% 0.8% -2.6
Memo:UK HICP -0.2% -0.1% 0.2% -0.3% 0.8% 2.5% 6.9% 1.3%
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