The broad-based major European indices closed lower in Thursday’s trading session, as banks weighed on markets. In economic news, Euro area annual inflation was 1.3% in July, flat compared with June, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In July, the rate was 0.2%. European Union annual inflation was 1.5% in July, which was also flat compared to June. A year earlier the rate was 0.2%. Eurostat also reported that euro area (EA19) exports of goods to the rest of the world in June 2017 was EUR187.2 billion ($219.6 billion), an increase of 3.9% compared with June 2016. Imports from the rest of the world stood at EUR160.7 billion, a gain of 6.2% compared with June 2016. As a result, the euro area recorded a EUR26.6 billion surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in June, compared with EUR28.9 billion in June 2016.
Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that retail sales increased by 0.3% in July, compared with the previous month, due to strong sales in food stores. All other sectors except food and household goods stores declined on the month for the quantity bought in retail sales. The quantity bought increased by 1.3% compared with July 2016; the 51st consecutive year-on-year increase in retail sales since April 2013. Online sales increased year-on-year by 15.1%, and by 0.3% on the month, accounting for approximately 16.0% of all retail spending.
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