The UK retail sector had its worst September since records began in 1995. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG’s Retail Sales Monitor showed sales decreased by 1.3 per cent last month, with pressure continuing to pile onto high street shops as consumers tighten their belts.
BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said, “With the spectre of a no-deal weighing increasingly on consumer purchasing decisions, it is no surprise that sales growth has once again fallen into the red.” Her comments highlighted that many consumers were holding off from non-essential purchases until they had more clarity on Brexit.
Meanwhile, Germany showed further signs that it could be heading for recession. Europe’s largest economy’s factory orders data revealed a 6.7 per cent year-on-year drop in August. Orders have fallen for 15 consecutive months.
Across the Atlantic, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell pushed back on the latest pressure from President Donald Trump to slash interest rates aggressively, quoting former Fed chair Marriner Eccles that “the management of the central bank must be absolutely free from the dangers of control by politics”.
Trump has often posted negative Twitter messages about the Fed and has repeatedly urged it to slash interest rates much faster than the current loosening cycle of a quarter of a percentage point twice since July. Financial markets are pricing in a further 25-point cut later this month, against the backdrop of weaker manufacturing and labour data, as well as the ongoing trade war.
Boris to seek Supreme Court ruling on no-deal