UK economy shrinks as Brexit looms

Britain will exit from the European Union later this month. (AFP)
Updated 10 October 2019

UK economy shrinks as Brexit looms

  • Gross domestic product — the combined value of all goods and services produced in the economy — slid 0.1 percent in August from July

LONDON: Britain’s economy contracted in August, official data showed Thursday ahead of the nation’s exit from the European Union later this month.
Gross domestic product — the combined value of all goods and services produced in the economy — slid 0.1 percent in August from July, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.
That contrasted with upwardly-revised monthly expansion of 0.4 percent in July.
On a brighter note however, the ONS also revealed that the economy grew 0.3 percent in the three months to August compared with the previous quarter.
“Growth increased in the latest three months, despite a weak performance across manufacturing, with TV and film production helping to boost the services sector,” said Rob Kent-Smith, head of GDP at the ONS.
Sterling barely budged on the monthly reading, which was only moderately worse than market expectations of zero growth.
“The most recent GDP readings from the UK have shown a contraction in month-on-month terms — but taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, it does not appear quite so bad,” noted XTB analyst David Cheetham.


Walmart’s Flipkart to spin off digital payments business

Updated 39 min 24 sec ago

Walmart’s Flipkart to spin off digital payments business

  • Flipkart will continue to be PhonePe’s majority shareholder
  • India’s digital payments market expected to more than double in size to $135 billion in 2023

NEW DELHI: Walmart-controlled Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart said on Thursday it was partially spinning off PhonePe to widen the digital payments platform’s access to capital to fuel its growth.
PhonePe, which competes with Alibaba-backed home-grown payments pioneer Paytm and Google Pay, will raise $700 million in primary capital, Bengaluru-based Flipkart said in a statement.
The money will be raised from existing Flipkart investors led by Walmart, giving PhonePe a valuation of $5.5 billion including the fundraising, the statement said.
Flipkart will continue to be PhonePe’s majority shareholder, it added.
“We are really excited to have access to dedicated long-term capital to further our ambitions in the financial services distribution sector as well as creating large innovative growth platforms for India’s micro, small and medium enterprises,” PhonePe CEO Sameer Nigam said.
PhonePe is eyeing profitability by 2022 and a public listing the following year, Nigam has previously said.
The fintech firm has more than 100 million monthly active users which helped it clock nearly one billion digital payment transactions in October.
India’s digital payments market, expected to more than double in size to $135 billion in 2023 from 2019 levels, has also attracted the likes of Amazon.com and Facebook, which have come up with their own systems to woo users.
That rapid growth in fintech has driven India’s flagship payments processor, the National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI), to cap the share of digital transactions some companies can account for.
The NPCI’s move, announced last month, is expected to hinder the growth of payments services offered by Facebook, Google and PhonePe, while boosting the likes of Reliance’s Jio Payments Bank and Paytm, which have niche bank licenses.