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Brexit round-up: retail sales up in July

Here is a round-up of the top Brexit-related stories this week.

Retail sales exceed expectations

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that retail sales increased by 5.9% in July 2016 following the EU referendum. 

Compared with June 2016, volume bought increased by 1.4% and all sectors showed growth with the main contribution coming from non-food retailers.

Value spent increased by 3.6% from the previous year and by 1.6% compared with June 2016. Online shopping increased by 16.7% compared in 2015 and 1.2% compared with last month.

Ian Forrest, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said:

“It certainly shows that concerns about a big economic slowdown in the run-up to the referendum were overdone, and there are indications that consumers have not significantly changed their behaviour in the first weeks following the referendum.”

Rise in EU student applicants

The number of EU students applying for universities in the UK has increased by 11%. According to figures by UCAS, the number of students placed increased to 26,800 while international acceptances stayed at the same level as 2015 at 29,300.

Lower migration impact on wage growth

British workers expecting a wage boost from lower migration following Brexit will be disappointed, according to the Resolution Foundation. 

The report shows that reducing migrations by tens of thousands could boost wages between 0.2% and 0.6% by 2018. However this would clash with the 2% downgrade to average wage growth in wake of the referendum result.

Stephen Clarke, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“While reducing migration may not have a huge impact on the pay and job prospects of British-born workers, it will create major new challenges for many British-based firms. 

“These firms will need to invest in skills and new technology if they’re to stay afloat in a changed labour market.”

Surplus trade deficit of £1 billion in July

According to figures by the Office for National Statistics, public finances were in surplus by £1 billion in July.

David Gauke, chief secretary to the Treasury, said:

"With the public finances in surplus in July, our economy starts from a position of strength to face any economic turbulence follwing the vote to leave the EU."

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