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British consumers spend less in January compared to the same period a year ago, causing spending last month to mark its first decline since 2013, according to a survey.

Visa, whose debit and credit cards are utilized for a third of payments in the UK, reported on Monday that consumers had a stronger control on spending for the traditional post-Christmas sales in the previous month.

Household spending declined by 1.2 percent in January against the same month in 2017, with spending in shops falling by 4 percent, Visa reported.

A decline in car sales affected the overall sales numbers too. But things were more upbeat for hotels and restaurants, as well as for hair salons and beauty product sellers, as consumers looked for little luxuries for themselves.

Britain's economic growth has fallen behind the more solid expansion in other affluent countries in 2017 as higher inflation since the Brexit vote and weak growth squeezed consumers' spending power.

Annabel Fiddes of IHS Markit said worries regarding Brexit were affecting consumer confidence. However, spending could gain momentum later this year as inflation is anticipated to retreat will wages increase more quickly, she added.

Related news

The U.S. trade deficit slid to a seven-month low in April as exports climbed to a record high, bolstered by an increase in shipments of industrial materials and soybeans.

The Commerce Department said the trade gap fell 2.1 percent to $46.2 billion, the smallest deficit since September. Data for March was revised to show the trade deficit declining to $47.2 billion, instead of priorly reported $49 billion. Economists polled by Reuters had estimated the trade deficit unchanged at $49 billion in April.

Goods trade deficit with China increased 8.1 percent to $28.0 billion in April. The deficit with Mexico fell to 29.8 percent to $5.7 billion in April. The U.S. had a $0.8 billion goods trade deficit with Canada in April. Exports to China dropped 17.1 percent during the period.

In April, exports of goods and services rose 0.3 percent to a record $211.2 billion. Exports were propped up by a $1.3 billion increase in deliveries of industrial supplies and materials such as fuel oil and petroleum products.

Exports of industrial supplies and materials were the highest on record in April. Soybean exports increased $0.3 billion and corn shipments also rose by a similar amount. But exports of commercial aircraft tumbled $2.8 billion.

Imports of goods and services edged down 0.2 percent to $257.4 billion in April. Imports of consumer goods dropped $2.8 billion, weighed by a $2.2 billion decline in imports of cellphones and other household goods. Motor vehicle imports slid $1.0 billion.Crude oil imports rose $1.0 billion during the month. Imports from China were unchanged in April.

When adjusted for inflation, the trade gap fell to $77.5 billion from $78.2 billion in March. The real trade deficit stood below its $82.5 billion average in the first quarter.

If the trend in the real trade deficit is maintained, trade could add to gross domestic product in Q2 after having a neutral effect in the January-March period.

Solid data ranging from manufacturing to consumer spending and the labor market prompted the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to project that economic growth in the second quarter will surpass a 4.0 percent annualized rate. The economy expanded at a 2.2 percent pace in the first quarter.

Wall Street index climbed on Wednesday, receiving a boost from financial stocks as investors focused on solid economic data and trade war concerns went to the background while the Nasdaq notched its third consecutive record closing high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 346.41 points, or 1.4 percent, to 25,146.39. The S&P 500 rose 23.55 points, or 0.86 percent, to 2,772.35 and the Nasdaq Composite increased 51.38 points, or 0.67 percent, to 7,689.24.

Late in the trading day, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that U.S. President Donald Trump will meet French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a G7 summit this week.

While he said that Trump is not retreating from the tough stance he has taken on trade, the comments seemed to reassure investors.

Earlier reports citing people privy to the matter said that U.S. officials were considering an offer by China to import an additional $70 billion of American gods over a year as the Chinese government attempts to prevent a possible trade war.

Last week, Trump pushed on with imposing tariffs- 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum on Canada, the EU and Mexico, with Mexico responding by hitting back with tariffs on American products including steel, pork and bourbon.

The S&P financial sector, which advanced 1.8 percent, was the S&P's biggest gainer as bank stocks rose along Treasury yields. Higher interest rates tend to boost bank profits. The bank index edged up 2.3 percent as the sector was also helped by an increase in mortgage applications for the first time in seven weeks.

The 10-year Treasury note yield increased close to a two-week high after data indicated that the U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly declined to a seven-month low in April, supporting the outlook for an acceleration of domestic economic growth in the second quarter.

Mexico has announced new levies on U.S. imports in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to impose hefty tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.

The peso fell on Tuesday after Mexico imposed tariffs on U.S. products including bourbon, apples, potatoes, cheese, and pork in retaliation to the steel duties.

Mexico's peso was down 1.4 percent at 20.35 to the dollar in early trade.

The announcement of tariffs ranging from 15 percent to 25 percent came as the future of the NAFTA trade deal came under new pressure from the White house. The list of U.S. products subject to fresh tariffs did not include the top two US agricultural exports to Mexico: Corn and soybeans. This would enable the animal feed products to continue to enter Mexico's domestic livestock and poultry industries.

The new tariffs came after the Trump administration restated its desire to push for bilateral talks on NAFTA with Mexico and Canada. According to Larry Kudlow, economic adviser to Trump, Washington was now inclined towards such change, saying that countries that are different potentially deserves varying deals. Mexico has opposed such attempts to split the NAFTA allies.

Jaime Zabludovsky, one of Mexico's original Nafta negotiators, said Trump's desire to negotiate separately was senseless and also put the interests of US private sector at risk.



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