UK retail sales boosted by Black Friday

A shopper stands in the door of a shop advertising sale discounts on the main shopping district on Oxford Street in London. (AFP)
Updated 20 December 2018

UK retail sales boosted by Black Friday

  • Total sales jumped 1.4 percent compared to October

London: British retail sales rebounded strongly in November as shoppers bagged Black Friday bargains, official data showed on Thursday.
Total sales jumped 1.4 percent compared to October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) calculated, with non-food items helped by heavy price discounts.
That beat analysts’ consensus forecast for a modest 0.3-percent increase.
“Retailers reported strong growth on the month due to Black Friday promotions in November,” the ONS said in a statement.
On so-called Black Friday, retailers slash the cost of certain items at the start of the festive period to try and add sparkle to their Christmas performance.
Black Friday took place this year on November 23.


Saudi Arabia looks to cut spending in bid to shrink deficit

Updated 01 October 2020

Saudi Arabia looks to cut spending in bid to shrink deficit

  • Saudi Arabia has issued about SR84 billion in sukuk in the year to date

LONDON: Saudi Arabia plans to reduce spending next year by about 7.5 percent to SR990 billion ($263.9 billion) as it seeks to reduce its deficit. This compares to spending of SR1.07 trillion this year, it said in a preliminary budget statement.

The Kingdom anticipates a budget deficit of about 12 percent this year falling to 5.1 percent next year.

Saudi Arabia released data on Wednesday showing that the economy contracted by about 7 percent in the second quarter as regional economies faced the twin blow of the coronavirus pandemic and continued oil price weakness.

The unemployment rate among Saudis increased to 15.4 percent in the second quarter compared with 11.8 percent in the first quarter of the year.

The challenging headwinds facing regional economies is expected to spur activity across debt markets as countries sell bonds to help fund spending.

Saudi Arabia has already issued about SR84 billion in sukuk in the year to date.

“Over the past three years, the government has developed (from scratch) a well-functioning and increasingly deeper domestic sukuk market that has allowed it to tap into growing domestic and international demand for Shariah-compliant fixed income assets,” Moody’s said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“This, in turn, has helped diversify its funding sources compared with what was available during the oil price shock of 2015-16 and ease liquidity pressures amid a more than doubling of government financing needs this year,” the ratings agency added.