The invitations are out. The guest list, this week, revealed to the nation. And final rehearsals are underway in preparation for what is set to be the most watched event in history.
For many, the Royal Wedding is a unique occasion in which to celebrate, don a Union Jack bowler hat, and indulge in a clotted cream and jam filled scone, or two. But whatever your take on the upcoming wedding, many will be thankful for the additional public holiday it has warranted.
So, as we embark on the second instalment of this month’s public holiday extravaganza, the question remains (aside, of course, from the mystery that surrounds Kate’s elusive dress): What does a second consecutive 4-day weekend entail for our financial markets and the British economy?
The LSE will cease all operations but OTC trade reporting over the Royal Wedding and May Day holiday weekend. But at the same time, shares in Rolls Royce (LON:RR), British Airways (LSE: BAY), and beverage giant Diageo plc (DGE:LSE), are all topping the lists of this week’s share pickings in the media, apparently boosted by the royal nuptials.
It is reported that each of our public holidays costs the UK economy around £6 billion in lost productivity; undoubtedly magnified by this year’s attractive eleven days off in exchange for just three working days taken as holiday. Put into perspective, the overall cost is around 1.5% of the UK economy’s overall output for the quarter. Of this, around £520 million will be clawed back in sales from royal wedding merchandise, alcohol, and the subsequent boost in tourism as 600,000 pour into the streets of London to catch a glimpse of the happy couple. Of course, in the current economic doom and gloom, some might say that a morale-boosting day off is nothing short of priceless.
The good news is set to continue as next June marks the milestone 60th year of the Queen’s reign. With a momentous Diamond jubilee on the horizon, an additional public holiday is sure to follow.
The long-term financial impact of the Royal Wedding holiday season remains to be seen. More predictable, perhaps, is the forecasted April showers over Friday’s celebrations. All the more British, I suppose…