Yesterday morning the Confederation of British Industry published its August distributive trades survey; it was very negative indeed. From July’s -16 reading, it slumped to -49, retail sales collapsing at the fastest rate since December 2008’s -55 record low. For a series going back to 1984, previous bearish readings in the 1990’s were no lower than -11 and in the 2000’s -13. In the US August Markit sentiment readings, with a far shorter history, saw the manufacturing sector move into contraction at 49.9 for the first time since the financial crisis, services slip from 53.0 to 50.9 and the composite from 52.6 to 50.9 also.
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