SYDNEY (Reuters) – A measure of Australian business conditions rose in July as the service sector rebounded from a national lockdown, but confidence was badly hit by a renewed outbreak of coronavirus in the second most populous state of Victoria.
National Australia Bank’s
index of business conditions bounced to 0 in July, from -8 in June. That was up from a low of -34 in April at the height of the pandemic and nearer to the long-run average of +6.
However, the survey’s measure of business confidence fell back to -14 in July, from 0 in June, though it remained well above the April trough of -46.
The index of sales firmed to +1, from -6, and profitability to +2 from -8. Employment improved to -2, from -11 in June.
“Conditions have now recovered to be broadly around their pre-COVID level with improvements across the country,” said NAB Group Chief
Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc said Covid-19 has prompted consumers and companies to make lasting improvements in their cleaning routines, boosting prospects for future sales of its disinfectants and sanitizers.
Lysol sales surged about 70% in the first half in North America, and professional demand has been so strong that the U.K. consumer-goods maker set up a business to meet demand from new clients including Hilton, Avis and Delta.
A new era of cleanliness has begun, according to the company. Once a consumer adopts new behaviors such as consistent and thorough hand washing for more than two months, the habits stick.
“Covid-19 is likely to be with us for the foreseeable future and, as a society, we are embedding new hygiene practices to protect our way of life,” Chief Executive Officer Laxman Narasimhan said.
Reckitt said Tuesday it expects the boom in its cleaning brands, which also include Sagrotan handgel, will
Buy now, pay later service Klarna has seen a boom in business during Britain’s lockdown.
That includes a 105% increase in the number of running shoes purchased using its services, a 60% hike in beauty product sales and “significant uplift” in purchases of bicycles and cycling accessories.
“We saw our volumes increase during that period just reflecting the increase in digital transactions generally,” Luke Griffiths, Klarna’s vice president, told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money.
However, as sales increased but more shoppers faced the financial uncertainty of lockdown, the company did tighten its rules on lending.
“Obviously with people’s financial circumstances changing during this period, we have constantly reviewed our policies around the type of customer that we accept,” Mr Griffiths said.
He says the firm is now only accepting customers who it believes will and can repay on time.
As a result, he does not believe Klarna
Credit card spending in April dropped by 50% to £8.7bn ($11bn), compared with April 2019, new data from UK Finance reveals.
The number of credit card transactions by UK cardholders also saw a notable fall of 46% to 163 million, the lowest level in over nine years, as borrowers cut down on credit card spending as the coronavirus pandemic hit the country.
Outstanding balances on credit cards fell by £4.7bn in April, the largest monthly drop in over a decade, and more than double the £3.1bn fall in outstanding balances in March, as many consumers chose to make repayments rather than spend on their credit cards.
Spending on debit cards, however, remained strong in April, with the total value of transactions increasing by 0.9% to £51.8bn. This is despite the number of debit card transactions falling by 5.1%
Credit cards spending dropped by nearly half at the start of lockdown as people played safe with their finances and shunned big purchases.
A total of £8.7bn was spent on credit cards in the first full month of lockdown in April, half the level of April last year, UK Finance said.
The banking trade body said this was the lowest level of spending seen since the last economic downturn.
The cancellation of holiday plans is one likely reason for the fall.
Consumers often use credit cards to pay for summer getaways or major purchases such as household appliances, owing to the extra protection available if something goes wrong.
Many people uncertain about the coronavirus effect on their jobs and finances would have put off buying these items, UK Finance said.
The temporary closure of shops and travel restrictions would also have meant many people put these buying decisions on
Two-thirds of UK adults now rely on mobile and online banking technology to manage their money, as lockdown prompts the wholesale shift to digital financial management.
Since March, a study of thousands of British adults has found almost 90 per cent check their accounts, 80 per cent transfer money, and 35 per cent even withdraw investment funds using fintech, as physical banking options remained closed.
Others have opened savings accounts, applied for credit cards and extended overdrafts. More than a fifth of fintech users said they have successfully secured new financial products during the lockdown without having to speak to a single human being, according to a new study seen exclusively by The Independent.
Almost half of consumers plan to continue using tech much more, even as bank branches reopen, and now say their technology offering is a “key consideration” when choosing a financial services provider.
News in the retail sector is gloomy right now, with headlines about falling sales and much-loved brands going into administration. But some small businesses have been clever and nimble enough to make the best of extraordinary circumstances…
Solid gold personalised name bracelet, £550; Vermeil name bracelet, £140; Oval huggies, from £60-£140, all Otiumberg
As chosen by Lisa Armstrong
When the UK went into lockdown, 31-year-old Rosanna and 35-year-old Christie Wollenberg, the sister-duo behind Otiumberg, the stylishly understated source of irresistibly pretty jewellery, had three hours to clear their new showroom of stock.
“I ended up moving hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of jewellery to my small flat in south London without proper insurance. It was either that or lose access to it and we didn’t know how long that would be for,” recounts Rosanna. Fortunately, because they specialise in small, delicate pieces, the haul was
The UK economy grew 1.8 per cent in May but has shrunk by a quarter since the coronavirus pandemic began, official figures show.
The small rise was well below economists expectations of a 5 per cent rise, with activity remaining subdued despite lockdown restrictions beginning to ease.
Manufacturing and housebuilding began to recover as workers returned to work during the month, the Office for National Statistics.
However, manufacturing remained 22.3 per cent below its level in February. The vital services sector, which makes up more than three-quarters of Britain’s economy, is 24.2 per cent down.
Overall economic output was 24.5 per cent down, leaving the UK on track for its deepest recession in more than a century.
The numbers suggest that hopes the country will rapidly bounce back from its record slump
The UK’s economy shrank by 19.1% in the three months to May, as the full impact of lockdown was felt, the Office for National Statistics has said.
The economy actually grew by 1.8% in May, but this was not enough to make up for the fall of 6.9% in March and the record 20.4% decline in April.
Manufacturing and house building showed signs of recovery in May as some businesses saw staff return to work.
Despite this, most of the economy was “in the doldrums”, the ONS said.
“The economy was still a quarter smaller in May than in February, before the full effects of the pandemic struck,” said Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS.
“In the important services sector, we saw some pick-up in retail, which saw record online sales. However, with lockdown restrictions remaining in place, many other services remained in the doldrums,
Dulux has been forced to limit paint purchases after a surge in demand due to lockdown renovations.
The company introduced a strict limit on the number of items that can be bought after they were flooded with orders.
Only tester pots can now be purchased online – and there is even a strict limit on those.
A message on the Dulux website reads: “We are now taking new orders for testers only via this website, however to manage continued exceptional demand, we are limiting the number of orders taken each day.
“If our daily capacity has been reached you will see a message displayed when trying to add items to your shopping cart, and we ask you try again the next day.”
Last week the company had to suspend