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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Did Brexit boost retail sales?

    woman looking in shop window

    Analyst Howard Archer warns of a false positive in March's retail sales figures.

    "It is very possible that retail sales could have gained a lift in March from some stockpiling of goods by consumers wary of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March," he says.

    If we all spend April using up our stockpiles of tinned beans and toilet roll retail sales will suffer.

    He does think in general consumers have been "resilient" when it comes to Brexit worries but he reckons retailers will be wary that that could change in the next few months.

  2. UK shoppers holding back

    UK retail spend graph

    UK shoppers are not splashing the cash "with continued Brexit uncertainty being the main culprit" according to data analytics company GlobalData.

    Some of us may have been waiting for Easter, falling late this year, but the outlook still isn't particularly sunny the firm says.

    “Physical stores held up better than the online channel in March, bolstered by consumers purchasing items for Mother’s Day in stores due to shoppers making last minute purchases and the nature of the main products bought, especially flowers and chocolates,” says Emily Salter, GlobalData's retail analyst.

  3. Accountancy: It takes two

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    KPMG office front

    The competition regulator, the CMA, has published a report calling for the big four accountants to give ground and for the path to be eased for "challenger" audit firms to compete with them.

    Alarm bells have rung over recent accountancy blunders, such as Carillion and Patisserie Valerie.

    The report proposes having firms audited by two accountants at a time, so that smaller firms start to build up more capacity.

    CMA chair Andrew Tyrie says that in the end, the UK should be in a position where we can afford a big four firm to go under.

    "We’ve got to get to the point where there's more resilience in the market. We're suggesting five, six or maybe seven [big accountancy firms] as a minimal level," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

  4. In the papers

    The Guardian front cover

    In the papers today - the Guardian reports that half of England is owned by only 1% of the population.

    Major owners include the Queen, the Duke of Buccleuch and entrepreneur James Dyson.

    And Tesla has published its first sustainability report, in which it reveals that it has saved over 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere since it started selling cars.

    Plus, Deutsche Bank faces fines and legal action over its alleged role in a $20bn Russian money laundering scheme, the Guardian reports.

    In other news, a senior source close to Crossrail has told the BBC that the new railway could be delayed until 2021.

    And finally, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recommended a major shake-up of the UK's accountancy market.

  5. John Campbell

    BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

    The Gateway offices are occupied by Citi

    John Campbell

    BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

    The financial services firm says the decision to buy demonstrates a long-term commitment to Belfast.

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  6. UK house prices grow by 0.6%

    For sale signs

    UK house prices grew by 0.6% for the year to February 2019, compared to the year to January 2019, when prices fell 1.7%.

    Average house prices in the UK fell by 0.8% between January and February 2019, compared with an increase of 0.3% in average prices during the same period in the previous year.

    In London, prices fell by 3.8% over the year to February 2019, from a fall of 2.2% in January 2019.

    The average price of a property in the UK for the month of February was £226,234.

  7. China growth of 6%?

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    china

    In January to March, China's economy grew by 6.4% from a year earlier.

    The figure suggests the country is much more resilient than many had feared when it comes to the trade war with the United States and slowing demand for China's many exports, as global growth is tepid.

    But market-watchers often treat official Chinese growth statistics with a dash of scepticism.

    Iris Pang, China Economist at ING Bank in Hong Kong, says growth and investment in new 5G mobile data networks could have helped the data seem better.

  8. China GDP beats forecasts

    Woman in works in a factory in China

    China's economy grew slightly faster than expected in the three months to March, official figures released Wednesday showed.

    The economy expanded at 6.4% in the first quarter from a year earlier, ahead of a Reuters forecast of 6.3%. The result was in line with the 6.4% rate posted in the last three months of 2018.

    "There is no denying that China's economy ended the first quarter on a stronger note," Capital Economics China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said.

  9. Tim Harford

    Presenter, 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy

    An engraving of the 1744 sinking of the Victory by artist Peter Monamy and engraver Pierre Charles Canot published in 1744/5

    Tim Harford

    Presenter, 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy

    When HMS Victory sank, she took with her an early prototype of the gyroscope, crucial to modern technology.

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  10. Kevin Peachey

    Personal finance reporter

    Booking a hotel

    Kevin Peachey

    Personal finance reporter

    Firms cannot automatically keep a large deposit if a customer cancels owing to unavoidable circumstances.

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