Retail sales rise in November In an encouraging sign of continuing economic growth, the quantity bought in the retail industry in the UK was estimated to have risen in November by 1.7%, compared with the previous month, and up 5% from the same month in 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is, therefore, the 31st consecutive month of increase seen year-on-year. In more detail, the ONS estimated online sales to have risen by as much as 12.7% in November, compared with the same month in 2014 and by 4.9% compared with October 2015. Interestingly, average store prices, including those at petrol stations, saw falls of 3.3% from the previous year, which is the 17th consecutive month of year-on-year falls. Commenting on this data, Chris Willamson, Chief Economist of research organisation ‘Markit’, said: “Retailers may see some pay-back after the Black Friday promotions led shoppers to pull- forward spending that would otherwise have taken place in December, but the underlying sales trend looks set to remain strong as we head into 2016.” He went on, however, to add that it was not just a matter of discounting that drove this increase in sales: “Households are benefiting from improved job security, low inflation and falling energy prices, the latter helping free-up more income to boost retail sales.” Markets – December (Data supplied by The Outsourced Marketing Department) The global equity markets had a bumpy ride in December. In London the FTSE100 started well for two days, then, because of the heavy weighting of commodity and mining shares in the index, encountered a fall of 546.8 points (8.52%) over the next 8 trading days, before recovering in the second half of the month to close at 6,242.30, for a final loss of 1.79% on the month. As a result of this the FTSE saw a fall over 2015 of 4.93%. The wider FTSE250 fared better, thanks to its diversification, finishing December at 17,429.8 for a marginal gain of 0.05%, with the junior AIM market following suit with a 0.2% rise to 738.8. Following the much anticipated rise in interest rates announced by the US Federal Reserve, the Dow Jones Index lost a little ground falling 1.66% to 17,425.03 and the NASDAQ losing a similar 1.98% to 5,007.41. The European markets also lost investor appeal with the Eurostoxx50 ending the month down 221 points, or 6.35%, at 3,267.52. Whilst in Japan, despite the continued fiscal stimulus from the Bank of Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 3.61%, as it fell 713 points, after the past two months of gains, to close the year at 19,033.71. On the foreign exchange markets, the mighty greenback benefited further from the US interest rate rise, gaining 2.65% against Sterling to $1.47. Sterling itself lost ground against the Euro slipping 4.93% to €1.35. All eyes remained on the price of oil, with the world’s largest producer, Saudi Arabia, confirming it will keep its wells pumping, further increasing global oversupply. As a result, the Brent Crude benchmark price fell to $37.28 a barrel for a monthly fall of 16.4% and marking a fall for the year of 34.9%. Gold managed to hold its ground in the month, closing at $1,072.31 a troy ounce, a marginal gain of 0.61%, but still down 10.57% since the beginning of the year. Download full report here

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