Bitesize Blighty: August 12, 2016
- Rio is on everyone’s minds this week with the Olympics dominating conversations around the world. Here in London, there is a lot of excitement after Team GB secured six gold, six silver and six bronze medals this week. The team has done better in the first five days this time around than they did in the London 2012 games. It may not sound comparable to the sixteen gold, twelve silver and ten bronze medals Team USA has won so far, but it sounds better when you realize the US population is five times the size!
- Several European countries released GDP reports today, shedding light on the state of European economies in Q2 of 2016. Overall, the Eurozone had a y/y growth rate of 1.6% and q/q growth rate of 0.3%, consistent with the forecast. There were several positive surprises, with Germany hitting a y/y growth rate of 3.1% compared to the forecasted 2.8%, and a q/q growth rate of 0.4% compared to the forecasted 0.2%. Greece showed significant improvement with 0.3% q/q growth, when -0.2% was expected. Italy did not face the same good news, showing 0% growth this quarter, below the 0.2% expectation. The country will continue to run near stagnation according to analysts, seeing GDP growth of only 2% compared to 16 years ago at the turn of the century.
- Earlier this week, the Competition and Markets Authority took measures to regulate British banks and give retail customers more choices and better deals. Under the news rules, banks must send alerts to customers when their account dips below zero and to give them a grace period to avoid charges. Unarranged overdraft charges and similar fees rake in around £1.2 billion a year for banks, making up roughly one-third of their retail value. Britain’s goal with these measures, along with efforts in past years, is to foster greater competition in retail banking and small business lending. There is, however, speculation that the new rules do not address the root of the problem.
- Also worth noting, the UK’s Investment Association has come under fire from various quarters for its ‘weak’ response to new, more exacting corporate governance laws currently in consultation.