The most important event affecting the UK economy for the last four weeks has been the football World Cup, with England’s progression in the competition accounting for an estimated £1.6bn in sales for the beleaguered leisure and retail sectors. This figure includes spending on flat-screen TVs, barbecues and the consumption of food and drink during games. It is thought that around £400m was spent during the semi-final alone. While the result was not what most of us wanted, the Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, suggested that the rise in consumer spending as a result of the “feel-good factor” could put pressure on the need to raise interest rates, which was postponed in May due to the winter slowdown.

Something else which now seems to be further away from ‘home’ is the Government’s deal on Brexit. Following the cabinet summit at Chequers on 6th July, Theresa May had to accept the resignations of David Davis, the UK’s Brexit secretary, and Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary due to their differing opinions on the Brexit plan; they have been replaced by Dominic Raab and Jeremy Hunt, respectively. Brexiteers, who had previously supported the Government in Commons votes are detailing changes to the Customs Bill with the hope that recalcitrant Conservative MPs, who want closer ties to the EU, are appeased. However, Donald Trump, who was visiting the UK last week for talks with Theresa May, added fuel to the fire by saying that the current Brexit plan would “probably kill any trade deal with the US.” President Trump, critical of the EU and a fan of hard-line trade policies, wants a hard Brexit deal. Nevertheless, talks last Friday afternoon indicated that the two leaders had agreed to pursue an “ambitious” trade deal with President Trump relenting and saying “whatever you do is OK with me” and suggesting that Theresa May should sue the EU rather than negotiate.

Helped by the World Cup, retail spending in June was up 2.3% compared to last year and the UK economy expanded by 0.2% for the three months to the end of May driven by strong growth in the services sector, which more than offset contractions in the manufacturing and construction sectors. With the economy improving and wage growth now outpacing inflation, it looks like the Monetary Policy Committee’s forecast of 0.4% GDP growth for Q2 could be met, with the likelihood of interest rates being raised in August.

UK house prices rose at their slowest pace since March 2013 in the year to June, according to the Halifax, by just 1.8%; and over the last three months, the cost of an average property has actually fallen 0.7%, the largest quarterly decline for over six years. Conversely, house prices across the Eurozone are rising at the fastest rate since before the global financial crisis.