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Bars and festivals lift UK economy in August after July fall

UK economy

Bars and festivals lift UK economy in August after July fall

UK economy picked up in August after an unexpected fall in July as bars, restaurants and festivals benefited from the removal of most remaining pandemic restrictions.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product rose by 0.4% in August compared with the previous month as consumers increased their spending on leisure during the first full month without Covid controls in England.

However, the ONS cut its growth estimate for July from a monthly rise of 0.1% to a fall of the same amount after fresh economic data revealed a worse hit for car manufacturing caused by global supply chain problems and microchip shortages.

The latest snapshot showed activity in the accommodation and food service sectors, as well as arts, entertainment and recreation, contributed most to growth in the UK’s dominant service sector, which makes up about 80% of the British economy.

Analysts said a rise in holidaying in the UK while international travel restrictions remained in place helped to boost the accommodation sector, which grew by 23%, thanks to strong growth in sales at hotels and campsites.

Air transport continued to expand as restrictions on foreign travel were gradually lifted, taking off by 27.5% in August, although it still remains 75% below its pre-Covid level.

Growth in August was offset by a decline in the health sector amid a drop in testing and vaccinations for Covid-19. Retail sales fell, reflecting shortages on the high street and consumers switching more of their spending from goods to services after the easing of pandemic controls.

Production output – which includes manufacturing, energy and mining – grew by 0.8% amid an increase in crude petroleum and natural gas output after recent temporary maintenance closures at an oilfield.

Challenges from soaring prices and shortages of materials including steel, concrete, timber and glass hit the construction sector, with output falling by 0.2% in August after a 1% drop in July.

Overall, the ONS said the economy remained 0.8% below its pre-pandemic level in August.

Paul Craig, a portfolio manager at Quilter Investors, said supply problems would no doubt weaken growth expectations for the months ahead as disruption caused by the coronavirus and Brexit dragged on the economy.

“The creaking UK economy is taking its time to spring back to life. The problems lie now not with demand but with supply. Acute labour shortages in several pockets of the economy along with chronic skills shortages have the potential to frustrate the economic recovery, and could well dampen any expectations for a strong economic revival over the winter months,” he said.

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Business

35 illegal tax collectors facing prosecution in Benue

The Acting Chairman of the Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), Emmanuel Agena, has revealed that 35 persons involved in illegal tax collection in the state are currently facing prosecution.

Agena announced that the agency has set an ambitious target to generate over N16 billion in revenue for the year 2024 following the successful surpassing of its N14 billion target in 2023.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, Agena expressed concern over the activities of illegal tax collectors in the state, noting that many of them were supported by influential personalities.

He stated that his administration at the BIRS had put an end to the era of patronage by politicians, aiming to significantly reduce illegal tax collection activities.

The BIRS boss also condemned a recent incident in which a truck carrying palliatives from Adamawa to Anambra State was hijacked by youths in Aliade, Gwer East.

He disclosed that three suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.

“A truck was intercepted and the driver beaten while the windscreen of the vehicle broken and over N200,000 was stolen.

“Three persons have been arrested and are in police custody. They will be moved to DSS for thorough investigation.

“We aim to flush out or reduce illegal tax collectors to the barest minimum. Already, 35 people who engaged in illegal tax collection were arrested and facing prosecution.

“This has been a big challenge. We have constituted a team headed by the director of Tax collection. Prominent people in the state are involved in encouraging these boys,” he stated.

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Business

Nigeria’s Inflation rate hits 33.20% in March- NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics NBS says Nigeria’s inflation rate jumped to 33.20% in March 2024 compared to February 2024 headline inflation rate which was 31.70%.

A report released by the NBS on Monday, April 15, reads

“Looking at the movement, the March 2024 headline inflation rate showed an increase of 1.50% points when compared to the February 2024 headline inflation rate.

“On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.16% points higher compared to the rate recorded in March 2023, which was 22.04%. On a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate in March 2024 was 3.02%, which was 0.10% lower than the rate recorded in February 2024 (3.12%).

“This means that in the month of March 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is less than the rate of increase in the average price level in February 2024.”

 

The inflation report by the NBS followed the hike of Nigeria’s interest rate from 22.75% to 24.75% by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The March inflation rate was released at a time when measures by the apex bank to strenghten the naira against foreign exchange have seen some positive results.

The naira has appreciated against the dollar in recent weeks, gaining over 40%, from about N1,900/$ to about N1,100/$1 now.

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Business

NAFDAC seals popular Supermarket in Ibadan

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) has sealed a popular groceries and cosmetics supermarket, Pinnacle in Dugbe area of Ibadan over sale of fake products.

The supermarket, usually a beehive of activities was now a shadow of itself as the gate leading to the premises was shut with an inscription directing customers to its branch at Challenge.

Management of the supermarket cited technical issues as reason for its closure.

An inside source who pleaded for anonymity however revealed that problem started on Tuesday, 2nd April , 2024 when NAFDAC surveillance team stormed the mall to enforce total shutdown of the premises, thereby forcing shoppers out of the supermarket.

“The NAFDAC team came inside the mall and told us to close, even though people were many inside who wanted to do shopping but they couldn’t because the technical issue started and they all went away in disappointment”, the source said.

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