Denmark set to lose millions following halal slaughter ban

Updated 23 February 2014
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Denmark set to lose millions following halal slaughter ban

Denmark is likely to lose millions of dollars in trade and tourism revenues following its ban Monday on slaughtering animals in accordance with Islamic standards.
Halal (Islamically slaughtered) beef and poultry products are imported in large quantities by Saudi Arabia and neighboring Gulf countries. In fact, around 55 percent of Danish exports to the Kingdom are food-based.
The controversial decision is poised to have a drastic effect on the Danish market since the country is likely to come under a comprehensive boycott as it has on more than one occasion in the past.
The Danish government has already come under fire by religious rights groups in Denmark. Danish Halal, a nonprofit group, has described the ban as a “clear infringement of religious freedom.” The ban has also been branded “anti-Semitic” by Jewish leaders.
Dan Jorgensen, Danish food minister, responded to the criticism on Denmark’s TV2, saying “Animal rights come before religion.”
The decision effectively ends the sale of halal products, much to the anger of residents across the Kingdom.
Sources at the the media department of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) have said that the ban should be lifted with immediate effect, saying that it would strain bilateral trade between the two countries, estimated at SR6 billion.
Fahd Mohammed Al-Hammady, chairman of the National Committee for Contractors at the CSC, told Arab News that he staunchly opposes the ban on halal stuff.
“This is sheer hypocrisy on their part. They slaughter giraffes in public to feed lions, yet they ban the slaughter of meat in accordance with religious standards, which is a clear infringement of religious freedom,” said Taha bin Saeed, a Saudi citizen.
A tour operator at the Fursan Group said that Denmark could have received a large number of tourists thanks to the Schengen visa, which enables non-EU nationals to travel freely to 25 European countries. The ban, however, will definitely make Saudi and Arab tourists reluctant to visit the country and will have a negative effect on tourism, said one agent.
The Danish Embassy in Riyadh could not be reached for comment during the weekend.


UK shoppers rein in spending as Brexit nears

Updated 28 min 31 sec ago
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UK shoppers rein in spending as Brexit nears

  • Retail sales volumes fell 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter after a 0.2 percent rise in the three months to November
  • Businesses are also cutting investment before Britain’s scheduled departure from the EU in late March

LONDON: British shoppers cut back on spending in the three months to December for the first time since last spring, adding to evidence of a consumer slowdown as Brexit approaches, data showed on Friday.
Retail sales volumes fell 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter after a 0.2 percent rise in the three months to November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Friday’s data chimed with other signs that consumer spending is cooling after a strong summer.
Businesses are also cutting investment before Britain’s scheduled departure from the European Union in late March, leaving the overall economy growing at a snail’s pace.
In December alone, retail sales fell 0.9 percent, recoiling after November’s Black Friday splurges, but were 3.0 percent higher than a year earlier. Both readings were below economists’ forecasts in a Reuters poll.
“A major concern for retailers will be that already cautious consumers further limit their spending in the near term at least due to the heightened uncertainties over Brexit,” economist Howard Archer from the EY ITEM Club consultancy said.
Sterling and British government bonds were little changed after the data.
The ONS said the value of sales fell for the first time in three years in the three months to December, underlining a squeeze on retailers’ profit margins as they battle for customers.
A survey last week from the British Retail Consortium showed retailers failed to increase Christmas sales for the first time since the depths of the global financial crisis a decade ago.
Supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Morrison missed Christmas sales forecasts though Tesco beat them. Clothing retailer Next and department store John Lewis reported a late surge in demand.
The ONS data showed a drop in sales of carpets and floor coverings, possibly reflecting a stalling housing market.
While disarray over Brexit has weighed on consumer confidence, there has been some comfort for households recently with the fastest underlying pay growth since 2008 and inflation falling to an almost two-year low of 2.1 percent.
Highlighting the easing of inflation pressures, the ONS’s measure of annual price increases in stores cooled to 0.6 percent in December from 1.3 percent in November, the smallest uptick in more than two years.