Thu. Jan 21st, 2021

Sweden ends negative interest rates; Bank of England decision looms – business live

Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news

9.56am GMT

Just in: UK retail spending has slowed sharply, suggesting that nervous consumers cut back ahead of the general election.

Retail sales fell by 0.6% month-on-month in November, the Office for National Statistics reports. That’s much worse than expected.

UK retail sales volumes down -0.4%q/q in the 3 months to November. Corresponds to a retail sector drag on GDP growth of c. -0.02%q/q. Non-store retailing, which is primarily internet retailers, saw a fall of -2.5%q/q. Growth for food (0.5%q/q) & household goods stores (0.6%q/q).

9.48am GMT

Andrew Sentance, a former Bank of England policymaker, says the hack of its press conference audio feed is “unprecedented” for a central bank.

Sentance, who is now senior adviser to Cambridge Econometrics, told us the Bank faces a lot of serious questions:

“Central banks pride themselves on confidentiality and making sure communication is well managed.

There has been an abuse of information here. The question in your mind will be, if this happened what else has happened? Are the Bank’s communications secure?”

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