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On Thursday, Brussels kicked off a two-day European Union leaders summit which saw Ukraine be formally accepted as a candidate to join the bloc.

 

On Friday, EU leaders are expected to continue their talks focusing on soaring prices and weakening economies. In addition, EU leaders are anxious Russia will cut off gas supplies as flows significantly declined recently.

Talks will also focus on inflation, which in the 19 countries sharing the euro currency, has shot to an all-time high of above 8% meanwhile the European Commission has slashed its economic growth forecast to 2.7% so far this year from the 4% expected before the invasion.

On Thursday the Commission noted that a dozen of European countries were affected by cuts to gas supply from Russia.

Speaking on the sidelines of the summit, Hungary noted that there should be no more sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia as the country is heavily dependent on Russian gas and oil.

Oil prices were slightly higher on Friday, despite worries over low supply. Brent Crude futures were higher by just 0.10% valued at $110.16 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose by 0.12% costing $104.28 a barrel.

The United Kingdom’s National Office of Statistics published UK retail sale volumes which dropped by 0.5% in May going back from a rise of 0.4% the previous month. The decline was mostly impacted by slowing grocery food sales which fell by 1.6% in May. Retail sales were 4.7% lower on a year-to-year basis.

Meanwhile in Spain, first-quarter economic growth data grew by 0.2%, slowing from a 2.2% growth rate in the last three months of 2021, final official data showed on Friday. On a yearly basis, the economy expanded by 6.3% after rising 5.5% in the fourth quarter of 2021.

European markets opened higher on Friday morning despite economic data pointing to a slowdown. The DAX was 0.19% in early trade on Friday, the CAC 40 earned over 1.0% and the FTSE 100 surged by 0.81%.

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