Retail sales drop unexpectedly in the run-up to Christmas

Retail sales drop unexpectedly in the run-up to Christmas

It may have been the first Christmas unaffected by covid since 2019, but shoppers didn’t give retail sales the usual boost last month.

Retail sales fell 1% compared to November and fell 5.8% from a year earlier.

Retail sales, excluding fuel, were down 1.1% and fell 6.1% in the previous December.

5 things to start the day

1) Reed Hastings will step down as head of Netflix after 25 years | The Netflix co-founder will step down as chief executive after 25 years in the role, capping what the company admitted was a “difficult year.”

2) Labor will end investment in the North Sea, says Sir Keir Starmer | The opposition leader has vowed to stop investing in new British oil and gas fields if Labor wins the next election.

3) Biden clashes with Republicans as US hits $31 trillion debt limit | He has started a countdown to a potential US default after the government hit its borrowing limit, amid clashes between President Joe Biden and Republicans.

4) Bitcoin is an “overblown fraud,” says JP Morgan boss | JP Morgan billionaire Chairman Jamie Dimon has called Bitcoin an “overblown fraud” and the financial equivalent of a “pet rock” as financial chieftains turn against digital currencies.

5) Tax cuts are needed to reach ‘sunlit highlands’, says Sir Martin Sorrell | The government must cut taxes and eliminate red tape if it wants to boost long-term growth and “reach the sunlit highlands”, Sir Martin Sorrell has said.

what happened overnight

Most Asian stock markets rose and the US dollar remained near its weakest level since May.

US Treasury yields remained elevated in Tokyo after rebounding overnight from four-month lows. Yields on Japanese government bonds remained low, two days after the Bank of Japan defied investor pressure to further loosen yield curve controls.

Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.2 percent, while Australia’s benchmark index rose 0.1 percent, though South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.8% and mainland blue chip titles gained 0.3%.

It came after London’s FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indices were hit by jitters in global markets.

The FTSE 100 of the biggest companies, mostly mining, energy companies and banks, closed down 1.1 percent, its biggest drop in more than a month, while the more market-focused FTSE 250 country, fell 1.6 percent at the end of trading.

Zeroavia, an Anglo-American startup, has flight-tested its hydrogen engine on a 19-seater plane, the largest gas-powered plane at an “important time” for green travel.

The company flew its Dornier 228 test aircraft for six minutes over the Cotswold countryside, powered by a hydrogen electric engine on one wing and a jet-fuel turboprop engine on the other.

Hydrogen is considered a logical choice to replace kerosene as a green fuel, since it can be made by detecting water molecules using electricity from wind turbines, solar power, and other zero-carbon sources.

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