UK card spending returns to pre-Christmas levels

Photo: AP

Fast vaccine rollout and economic revival spurred credit and debit card spending in the UK, Reuters reported. Households and individuals were behind the robust growth which pushed up the sector development to the pre-holiday levels. Total household spending surged by 88 percent in the first week of April to reach highest level since the week preceding Christmas, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The figures are not seasonally adjusted, and the ONS said some of the increase was driven by end-of-month spending on households bills and food shopping.But they add to signs that the economy is beginning to pick up as coronavirus restrictions being to ease following the roll-out of vaccines to more than half of Britain’s adult population.

Payment processor Barclaycard said that spending at golf courses jumped five-fold last week after they reopened to the public, and also reported more contactless payments which it linked to people buying picnic supplies. Construction activity last month recorded its biggest jump since 2014, as businesses restarted mothballed projects in anticipation of shops, pubs and restaurants reopening next week, and recruiters reported the biggest increase in hiring of permanent staff in six years.

This week the International Monetary Fund revived up its growth forecast for Britain this year to 5.3%, but it does not see Britain’s economy recovering its pre-crisis size until next year, much slower than the US and Japanese economies.

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