Thursday, 2 Feb 2023

Oil Prices Mixed As Investors Digest China Data

China House Prices Fall Further On Subdued Demand

China’s average new home prices declined further at the end of the year amid lower demand as well as tight financial conditions at developers’ side amid ongoing pandemic woes, reports said Monday, citing data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

New house prices in 70 large and medium sized cities fell 1.5 percent year-over-year in December, following a 1.6 percent decrease in the prior month. 

Nonetheless, as a result of the country’s easing anti-COVID measures, the rate of decline improved slightly.

Despite the signs of recovery, the property market remains uneven and more supportive policies are needed to restore sentiment, analysts said.

On a monthly basis, house prices dropped at a steady rate of 0.2 percent in December.

New home prices declined in 55 out of 70 cities in December, four more than in November, the NBS said in a statement.

Last year, some buyers boycotted mortgages due to as debt-ridden developers failed to complete stalled projects.

Experian Q3 Total Revenue Up 4%

Global information services company Experian plc (EXPN.L) reported a third quarter total revenue growth of 4% at actual exchange rates and 7% at constant exchange rates, with organic revenue growth of 6%.

Brian Cassin, Chief Executive Officer, said, ” We delivered a good performance in Q3, in line with our expectations, driven by new products, new business wins and consumer expansion..”

The company still expects full year organic revenue growth to be between 7%-9%, total revenue growth of between 8%-10% and modest margin accretion, all at constant exchange rates and on an ongoing basis.

Experian’s North America business unit, which represents 68% of group revenue, delivered organic and total revenue growth of 5% in the third quarter. B2B organic revenue growth was 2% reflecting good progress on new products, partially offset by mortgage decline and strong prior-year comparables in short term lending and health. Consumer Services organic revenue growth was 9%, reflecting growth in marketplace, premium services and partner solutions.

Experian’s Latin America business unit, which represents 14% of group revenue, delivered organic revenue growth of 16% in the third quarter. At constant currency, total revenue growth was 17%, including contributions from acquisitions in Consumer Services, and from new bureaux in Chile and Panama.

Experian’s UK & Ireland business unit delivered organic and total constant currency revenue growth of 6% in the third quarter.

Organic revenue growth and total revenue growth at constant exchange rates across EMEA/Asia Pacific was 1%.

Ocado Retail Q4 Retail Revenue Up 0.3%

Ocado Retail Ltd, a joint venture between Ocado Group plc (OCDO.L) and Marks & Spencer Group plc (MAKSY.PK,MAKSF.PK,MKS.L), reported fourth-quarter retail revenue of 549.4 million pounds, up 0.3% from last year. Average orders per week were 382,000, up 1.9% year-on-year.

Full-year revenue was 2.2 billion pounds, down 3.8% from the prior year. Average orders per week were up 5.8%.

The Group said it has started fiscal 2023 strongly with record Christmas sales, up 15% over the five days before Christmas, and orders up 13%.

The Group expects that the first half of 2023 will see lower basket sizes than those of the first half of 2022. EBITDA will be negative in the first half and positive in the second half, reflecting trends in volume growth, Ocado Retail noted. The Group expects full year revenue growth in 2023 to be in the mid-single digits.

Ocado Retail stated that the improving trajectory forecast for the second half of 2023 is expected to underpin a strong recovery in 2024.

In the medium term, Ocado remains confident sales and EBITDA margin will recover strongly. The Group anticipates a recovery to high-mid single digit EBITDA margins.

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RPS Group Sees Q4 Results In Line With Its Expectations

RPS Group plc (RPS), a multi-sector global professional services firm on Tuesday said that performance in the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2022 remained strong and in line with the Board’s expectations.

Fee revenue in the fourth quarter of 2022 was 147.6 million pounds versus 122.5 million pounds in the fourth quarter of 2021 and 126 million pounds in constant currency.

Fee Revenue was a growth of 17 percent at constant currency over the fourth quarter of 2021.

Year-to-date Fee Revenue was up 15 percent at constant currency at 559.9 million pounds versus 476.1 million pounds in 2021 and 487.9 million pounds at constant currency.

For the year to 31 December 2022, the company said that margins have improved by approximately 170 basis points compared to the year to 31 December 2021, and that the business was on track to achieve a double-digit operating margin in the medium term.

Shares of RPS Group closed Monday’s trading at 221 pence, down 1 pence or 0.45 percent from the previous close.

Oil Prices Mixed As Investors Digest China Data

Oil prices traded mixed on Tuesday as investors react to a slew of data from China, the world’s top crude importer.

Benchmark Brent crude futures climbed 0.6 percent to $84.9 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 0.4 percent at $79.83.

Official data showed that China’s GDP grew an annual 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, faster than the 1.8 percent increase economists had expected.

Nonetheless, this was weaker than the 3.9 percent expansion seen in the third quarter. In the whole year of 2022, GDP growth was 3.0 percent, missing government’s target of around 5.5 percent.

Last week, the World Bank said activity in China remains vulnerable to a prolonged drag from the real estate sector and continued pandemic-related disruptions. The lender forecast China’s economy to expand 4.3 percent in 2023 and 5.0 percent next year.

Separate data showed that China’s retail sales dropped only 1.8 percent annually in December, much better than economists’ forecast of -8.6 percent.

Industrial production climbed 1.3 percent from last year, bigger than the 0.2 percent expected growth.

During January to December 2022, fixed asset investment advanced 5.1 percent from the last year, again better than the 5.0 percent expected expansion.

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