The impact of early retirement and sickness on Britain’s labour force could mean inflation will prove more persistent in the UK than in other countries, a top Bank of England official will warn.
Huw Pill, Threadneedle Street’s chief economist, is expected to say that the UK is facing a ‘distinctive’ combination of problems, which may make inflation tougher to bring down than elsewhere.
The warning comes even as the chief economist said there are signs of the labour market turning.
One key factor is the shrinking workforce, which together with the energy crisis and supply chain issues increases the risks of price rises persevering
He will say that a decline in participation rates, particularly among people aged 50-65, is causing the tight labour market:
“The reasons behind this decline remain the subject of debate, but the impact of the pandemic on early retirement and long-term health, as well as underlying demographic developments, all seem to have played a role,” Mr Pill is expected to say.
The UK is almost unique among advanced wealthy economies in having a workforce that is smaller than before the pandemic.
“The distinctive context that prevails in the UK – of higher natural gas prices with a tight labour market, adverse labour supply developments and goods market bottlenecks – creates the potential for inflation to prove more persistent,” the chief economist will warn.
It signals that rate-setters on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee may have to go further to cool price growth even with the labour market slowing.
Read the latest updates below.
Tesla shares leap as US markets open
Shares in Tesla jumped nearly 8pc in trading in the US as markets react to signals that demand in China has picked up after a months long slump in the electric car maker.
Tesla has been battling to boost demand in China, which accounts for around a third of all its sales, against challengers such as local electric carmaker BYD. In June last year, BYD overtook Tesla to become the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer.
Price cuts announced on Friday appeared to stoke demand. Waiting times for deliveries of new Tesla vehicles increased from between one to four weeks to two to five weeks, according to its China online store.
China’s announcement on Sunday that it would scrap Covid quarantine requirements for the first time in three years also sent US stocks higher.
Tesla has been facing protests from disgruntled customers at showrooms across China as buyers demand refunds after the electric carmaker slashed prices.
Right, that’s all from me today. My esteemed colleague Matthew Field will take you from here.
Curious Brewery snaps up Wild Beer Co brands
Luke Johnson’s Curious Brewery is set to expand after snapping up the brands of the Wild Beer Co brewery which collapsed last month.
Curious Brewery, which had been owned by wine firm Chapel Down until it was sold to the hospitality entrepreneur’s Risk Capital Partners private equity firm in 2021, said it will double in size as a result of the deal.
Mark Crowther, chairman of Curious, said the move will bring “impressive distribution” in retail and hospitality as well as “a significant direct-to-consumer e-commerce operation”.
The Wild Beer Co business was founded in 2012 and raised £1.8m through crowdfunding in a process which valued the firm at £25 million in 2017, but tumbled into administration last month blaming adverse trading conditions.
US markets extend gains
Wall Street stocks advanced in early trading, extending a positive trend ahead of key inflation data and corporate earnings later in the week.
Major indices jumped more than 2pc on Friday following mixed economic figures that included still-solid job growth, but a moderation in wage inflation.
This week’s calendar includes the December consumer price index report that will be scrutinized for its implications for US monetary policy, as well as results from JPMorgan Chase and other banks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 0.4pc to 33,758. The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.7pc to 3,929, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1.7 percent to 10,747.
Among individual companies, Lululemon Athletica tumbled 10pc as it said it now expects lower profit margins in the fourth quarter after earlier projecting an increase. The statement is the latest to show a drag from higher operating costs.
Macy’s dropped more than 9pc as it said net sales in the fourth quarter would be at the low end of its earlier predicted range.
The retailer expects consumers “will continue to be pressured in 2023, particularly in the first half”.
Former McDonald’s boss to pay $400,000
Former McDonald’s chief executive Stephen Easterbrook has agreed to pay $400,000 (£328,000) over allegations from US regulators that he failed to disclose improper relationships with employees at the company.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said today that Mr Easterbrook did not fully disclose violations of company policy leading up to hisdeparture in 2019.
The terms of his exit from the company let him maintain “substantial equity compensation,” the agency said in a statement.
Mr Easterbrook did not admit or deny the SEC’s allegations as part of the settlement.
The penalty is the latest twist in a years-long saga over Mr Easterbrook’s tenure.
In late 2021, he agreed to return $105m (£86m) in cash and equity awards to settle a lawsuit by the fast-food chain.
Wall Street rises at the open
US markets have enjoyed a strong open amid hopes that the US Federal Reserve will slow the pace of rising interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.4pc to 33,751 at the open, while the broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.5pc to 3,913.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged by 1pc to 10,670.
Apple follows Mark Zuckerberg into the metaverse with plan to launch VR headset
Apple is poised to follow Mark Zuckerberg into the metaverse with the launch of a virtual reality headset in the coming months.
Senior technology reporter Matthew Field reveals what we know:
The iPhone maker is expected to reveal a headset that can plunge users into computer-generated worlds in the spring, Bloomberg reported.
The headset has been in the works for years as Apple looks for its next big innovation after the success of the iPhone.
Apple’s plans for a virtual reality headset will draw comparisons to Mr Zuckerberg’s decision to rebrand Facebook as Meta and invest billions in research into so-called metaverse technologies.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has previously poured scorn on Mr Zuckerberg’s metaverse concept.
Read what he has said.
Danone faces legal action over plastic use
Environmental groups have taken legal action against French bottled water and dairy group Danone over its plastic use.
The company has been accused of failing to sufficiently account for all the plastic used along its production cycles.
Danone, the world’s biggest yoghurt maker which also produces infant formula and the popular mineral water brand Evian, said in a statement that it was “very surprised by this accusation which we firmly refute”.
The case, brought at a Paris civil court on Monday, comes as a growing number of non-governmental organisations are acting against large companies by using a 2017 French law establishing a “duty of care” along supply chains to avoid harm to human rights and the environment.
It is now up to a judge to decide whether or not to open a lawsuit.
Gas prices rise in Europe
European natural gas prices are up 3pc today even as prolonged warm weather curbed heating demand and ensured stockpiles remain fuller than normal.
Benchmark Dutch futures stood at €71.70 per megawatt-hour this afternoon.
It comes as it emerged Norway will be able to sustain gas production at last year’s elevated level until at least 2026 thanks to 300 billion Norwegian kroner (£24.9bn) of investment in new offshore fields.
Norway has become the most important supplier of natural gas to Europe, following Russia’s decision to squeeze gas supplies to the continent after its invasion of Ukraine.
Tortilla shares surge as revenues grow 20pc
Mexican restaurant chain Tortilla has revealed that sales jumped by a fifth over the past year despite the impact of train strikes and poor weather.
Shares in the group have risen 14.5pc today after the 85-strong chain revealed that revenues grew 20pc to £57.7m over the 12 months to January 1, compared with the same period last year.
It said it was boosted by the opening of 18 new restaurant sites, including in Durham, Canterbury and Coventry.
Tortilla’s growth plans were also buoyed by its takeover of smaller rival Chilango in May last year.
The hospitality firm told investors it has a “strong pipeline” of new venues to open next year, including sites in Derby and Greenwich, south-east London.
Pound rising against the dollar
The pound has risen by 0.4pc against the dollar as traders expect the US Federal Reserve to slow the pace of interest rate rises.
Sterling is worth more than $1.21 after latest data showed wage growth in the US slowed, softening concerns about rising inflation.
The pound had been up 0.7pc but lost some of its gains after the European Central Bank predicted wage growth will be “very strong” in the coming quarters, strengthening the case for more interest-rate hikes. It is flat against the euro at 88p.
Investors are also awaiting a speech by the Bank of England’s chief economist Huw Pill later in New York.
Credit card rates reach record high
Shoppers taking out new credit cards face record-high interest rates on their bills.
The average annual percentage rate for the products is now 30.4pc, according to Moneyfacts, which began compiling the data in June 2006. That includes fees and is up from 26pc a year ago.
Shoppers in Britain are putting more money on their credit cards as the highest inflation in 40 years erodes savings built up during the pandemic.
They splurged on their cards before Christmas, spending £1.2bn in November, triple the amount of the previous month.
US markets poised to open higher
Wall Street is expecting a positive start to the week amid optimism around China reopening its borders.
US stock index futures edged higher, with investors also boosted by signs of a cooling labour market, which boosted bets on a slower pace of rate increases by the US Federal Reserve.
The benchmark S&P 500 and the Nasdaq snapped four weeks of declines on Friday.
Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were all up 0.3pc.
Credit Suisse nears deal for Klein’s boutique firm
Credit Suisse is reportedly close to an agreement to buy Michael Klein’s advisory boutique after several rounds of tense negotiations.
The bank will value the firm founded by the incoming head of its First Boston spinout at around a few hundred million dollars as part of the expected agreement that has been hashed out in recent days, Bloomberg reported.
Credit Suisse is seeking to draw a line under years of losses and scandals and is carving out its dealmaking businesses under the storied First Boston brand.
The First Boston Corporation was a New York-based bulge bracket investment bank, founded in 1932 and acquired by Credit Suisse in 1988. It was fully integrated into Credit Suisse in 2006.
It is tapping ex-Citigroup banker Mr Klein to try to return them to their former glory. He is expected to take an eventual stake in First Boston using proceeds from the sale of his M Klein & Co company.
Higher interest rates to hit 1.4m households renewing mortgages
Almost 800,000 households are expected to see their mortgage rates more than double this year as they come off low fixed-rate deals.
In all, more than 1.4m borrowers will face higher interest rates in 2023 as they come to renew their mortgage.
Of these, 57pc are on deals of less than 2pc, while the average variable rate mortgage is currently 4.4pc, with fixed rate deals starting at around 5pc.
The Office for National Statistics said that, based on Bank of England data, a peak in fixed deals ending is expected between April and June this year.
A typical fixed-rate borrower faces a £250 increase in their monthly payments if their deal expires this year.
A string of Bank of England base rate hikes have taken place over the past year, but borrowers on fixed-rate mortgages have been cushioned from their immediate impact. Some may get a bill shock when they come to renew.
Oil bounces back on hopes of Chinese demand
Oil rallied to begin the week amid optimism about China’s demand recovery and gains in wider markets.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, has risen by 3pc to more than $80 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate futures surged 3.2pc above $76 a barrel, rebounding from last week’s 8.1pc drop.
It comes as a Chinese central bank official said the nation’s growth would be back on track soon as Beijing provides more financial support to households and companies, according to an interview with People’s Daily, used as a mouthpiece by the Chinese Communist Party.
Keshav Lohiya, founder of consultant Oilytics, said:
China reopening remains the major bullish catalyst story out there.
We are generally on the oil bull side, but the price rise will not be a straight line as it was in 2004-2008.
Britain to join space race with first rocket launch from home soil
A reminder that Britain is set to join an exclusive club of 10 countries capable of launching rockets into orbit tonight when it sends up the first satellite payload from Spaceport Cornwall.
Science editor Sarah Knapton has the details:
Virgin Orbit is scheduled to make its first UK flight shortly before 10pm, in a historic lift-off that could open the door to human spaceflight from British soil.
Unlike vertical launches, the LauncherOne rocket containing nine satellites is attached to a wing of a former Virgin Atlantic 747 passenger plane – dubbed Cosmic Girl.
The plane takes off as normal, and at around 35,000ft the rocket detaches and launches into space, discharging its cargo when it reaches orbit.
View a graphic of the four-hour voyage.
N Brown settles PPI dispute with Allianz for £50m
Catalogue retailer N Brown, owner of brands including Simply Be and JD Williams, has settled a legal dispute with Allianz Insurance for £50m.
The case dates back to January 2020, when Allianz was forced to pay £27m to JD Williams customers that were mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).
N Brown does not admit liability under the settlement.
It said it had set aside £25.5m for the claims in its balance sheet on August 27 last year.
It added it has sufficient liquidity to meet the cash flow requirements of the settlement, including net cash of £82.9m and access to a revolving credit facility of £100m and overdraft of £12.5m, which are both fully undrawn.
N Brown said in a statement: “The settlement removes a significant element of uncertainty and distraction for JD Williams and allows the company to focus on creating shareholder value through its core business activities as it continues its transformation.”
Britishvolt in sale talks
Britishvolt, an electric car battery start-up once championed by Boris Johnson, is in discussions to sell the majority of the company to a consortium of investors.
In October, the company fought off collapse with an 11th hour rescue package from investors after the Government refused to hand it a £30m lifeline.
The firm says the talks “aim to secure legally binding terms” that will allow the company to continue building an electric car battery gigafactory in Blyth.
Government proposes electricity supply reforms
The Government has announced new proposals aimed at securing the future of Britain’s electricity supply.
Ministers hope the measures will ensure the national network meets peak demands and safeguards against the possibility of blackouts.
Energy and climate minister Graham Stuart said: “The plans set out today will deliver this reliable energy and ensure the scheme that sits at the heart of Britain’s energy security is fit for the future.”
The government will begin by consulting on its plans for the capacity market reforms.
Fresh Tube strike threat
The Tube drivers’ union is reportedly preparing to hold a series of “hard hitting and protracted strikes” that would shut the London Underground.
Aslef will this week give notice to Transport for London that it plans to ballot its 2,000 members over feared changes to pensions and working conditions, the Evening Standard reported.
The result is due on February 15 – meaning the first walkouts could start in early March.
Ministers are meeting with rail union chiefs today in a bid to settle the long running disputes which brought the national railways to a halt last week.
Crossrail services will be brought to a standstill as staff strike for the first time since opening earlier this year.
Members of the TSSA will walk out on the Elizabeth Line on January 12 in a dispute over pay and pensions.
Roll-Royce sales hit 118-year high after boost from Middle-Eastern buyers
Rolls-Royce has exceeded annual sales of more than 6,000 cars for the first time in its 118-year history, the company announced.
It said it achieved “particularly strong year-on-year growth” in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, the USA and Europe.
A “single-digit” drop in sales was recorded last year in Greater China – which includes mainland China and areas such as Hong Kong – due to “ongoing headwinds” but this was “successfully counterbalanced by increased sales in other markets”, according to the car maker.
Some 6,021 cars were delivered to customers last year, a rise of 8pc compared with 2021.
The value of bespoke commissions also reached record levels in 2022, with clients “willing to pay around half a million euros (£440,000) for their unique Rolls-Royce motor car”, according to the BMW-owned company.
Demand for all models “remains exceptionally strong” with advance orders “secured far into 2023”, it added.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos described 2022 as a “momentous year” for the company, which is based in Goodwood, West Sussex. He said:
Not only did we reveal Rolls-Royce Spectre, our marque’s first ever fully-electric series model to the world, it was also the first year we ever delivered more than 6,000 cars in a single 12-month period, with strong demand across our entire product portfolio.
But as a true house of luxury, sales are not our sole measure of success: we are not and never will be a volume manufacturer.
Bespoke is Rolls-Royce, and commissions were also at record levels last year, with our clients’ requests becoming ever more imaginative and technically demanding – a challenge we enthusiastically embrace.
This success has not been achieved overnight.
In 2023, we mark the 20th anniversary of the home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood, during which time we’ve transformed our business through a long-term strategy based on continuous and sustainable growth, careful management and planning, an unwavering focus on profit and a respectful but forward-thinking reinvention of the Rolls-Royce brand.
More than 150 new jobs were created at the company’s headquarters in 2022, bringing the site’s total workforce to 2,500.
Goldman Sachs to cut 3,200 jobs this week
Goldman Sachs is expected to cut 3,200 jobs this week in what would be one of the biggest rounds of redundancies in its history.
The financial services giant is expected to begin the process mid-week and the total number of people affected will reportedly not exceed 3,200.
More than a third of those will likely be from within its core trading and banking units, it was first reported by Bloomberg.
It comes as the bank is expected to unveil pre-tax losses of more than $2bn (£1.7bn) for a new unit covering its credit card and instalment-lending business.
Under chief executive David Solomon, headcount has jumped 34pc since the end of 2018, climbing to more than 49,000 by the end of September last year.
Slowdowns in various business lines, including mergers and acquisitions, have left the bank facing a 46pc drop in profits, on about $48bn (£39.5bn) of revenue, according to analysts.
Minister arrives for meeting with rail unions
Rail minister Huw Merriman has arrived at Department for Transport headquarters in London ahead of a meeting with rail unions.
The RMT is among the unions in the talks which also include rail operators.
Apple’s exports from India surge in shift away from China
Apple exported more than $2.5bn (£2bn) of iPhone from India from April to December, nearly twice the previous year’s total.
The figures underline the US tech giant’s shift away from China as geopolitical tensions rise and amid issues with its supplier Foxconn.
The world’s most valuable company only began assembling its latest iPhone models in India last year, breaking from its past practice of doing much of that at its giant Chinese factories.
Corporate insolvencies up 65pc in first week of January
At least 289 companies filed for insolvency in Britain last week.
That is an increase of 65pc on the same week a year ago, according to notices filed to the Gazette.
FTSE 100 continues march
The exporter-heavy FTSE 100 hit a more than three-year high in early trading, led by commodity-linked stocks.
The 0.2pc rise for the blue chip index to 7,717 comes as China’s reopening of its borders reinforces hopes for a rebound in the world’s second-largest economy.
Thse FTSE 100 is at its highest since July 30, 2019, while the more domestically focused FTSE 250 mid-cap index rose 0.4pc to 19,586.
Industrial metal miners gained 1.4pc, while oil majors Shell and BP also advanced as oil prices climbed on China demand prospects.
Game developer Frontier Developments crashed 42.4pc after downgrading its 2023 guidance.
Devolver Digital, another gaming stock, slumped 9.4pc after the company reported weaker-than-forecast sales volumes for December and a lower-than-expected performance for the second half of 2022 financial year.
Treasury to confirm slash to business energy bills support
A reminder that later today a new scheme to support businesses with their energy bills will be announced.
It is expected to be significantly cut after Jeremy Hunt warned existing spending is “unsustainably expensive”.
The Telegraph revealed on Friday that the Chancellor will cut energy bill support for businesses by 85pc.
The revised scheme, which will be announced to MPs later, is expected to offer help with bills for a further year, until March 2024.
Ship refloated after causing hold up in Suez Canal
A ship in the Suez Canal carrying Ukrainian grain to China had to be refloated after causing a traffic jam of up to 20 ships in the vital trade route.
The M/V Glory has resumed its voyage after causing the delays that briefly conjured memories of the six-day blockage in 2021 when the Ever Given ran aground.
The bulk carrier is just over half the length of the Ever Given. The Suez Canal Authority said navigation in the waterway would return to normal.
AstraZeneca buys US start-up in $1.8bn deal
AstraZeneca has revealed it will buy the biopharmaceutical company CinCor Pharma in a $1.8bn (£1.5bn) deal.
Its takeover at $26 a share is a 206pc premium on the business behind a new hypertension treatment.
Shareholders will receive another $10 per share if the company achieves regulatory submission for its blood pressure drug baxdrostat.
FTSE 100 continues to rise
The FTSE 100 opened up 0.9pc as the UK’s blue-chip index aims to continue the rally that took it to a four-year high on Friday.
The internationally-focused index has reached 7,703 points, while, the midcap FTSE 250 has begun the week up 0.6pc to 19,581.
Lidl sales surge by nearly a quarter in run-up to Christmas
Discount supermarket Lidl has revealed its sales jumped by almost a quarter over the key festive period as it said it was buoyed by shoppers switching from rivals amid budget concerns.
The retailer said sales increased by 24.5pc over the four weeks to Christmas Day, compared with the same period last year.
It added that it welcomed 1.3m more customers to stores over the week prior to Christmas compared with the previous year.
This included the supermarket chain’s “busiest-ever day of trading in 28 years” on Friday December 23 as shoppers sought to buy last-minute Christmas groceries.
Sunak to hold crunch talks with union bosses
Rishi Sunak is due to hold talks with the union leaders today as the threat of more widespread industrial action hangs over Britain.
Commuters will get a mild respite from rail strikes this week after a series of stoppages brought the railways to a standstill last week.
Employees on the Elizabeth Line, as well as ambulance workers, still have walkouts scheduled.
Trade-union leaders from various sectors have been invited to talks today in a bid to avert further strikes by NHS, rail and other workers.
Tesla owners in China protest at fresh price cuts
Disgruntled Tesla owners swarmed showrooms in China over the weekend to complain about missing out on another round of price cuts as the company tries to boost sales at the world’s biggest electric-vehicle market.
Posts on Chinese social media showed Tesla owners at different stores and distribution centres voicing their frustration about the cuts, which followed discounts made in October.
At a Tesla Experience Center in Chengdu, the capital of southwest China’s Sichuan province, owners ransacked facilities and put up a handwritten list of four demands signed with their names and fingerprints, including a request for warranty extensions of two to four years and rebates for using Tesla Superchargers.
The impact of the slowdown in deals in the City last year is being felt amid reports Goldman Sachs will cut 3,200 of its staff this week.
It comes as the investment bank is forecast to suffer a 46pc drop in profits, on about $48bn (£39.5bn) of revenue, according to analysts.
More than a third of the job losses will likely be from within its core trading and banking units, according to Bloomberg.
5 things to start your day
1) Mortgage surge to eat up an eighth of household incomes | Homeowners with mortgages will suffer a 12pc hit from higher interest rates
2) Manufacturers brace for emergency shutdowns as energy bills support cut | Almost two-thirds of factories say they fear blackouts as costs keep rising
3) Rishi Sunak has no plan for growth, says former Bank of England chief economist | Prime Minister is allowing pessimism to hold back recovery, suggests Andy Haldane
4) Taxpayer-backed satellite champion shuts Alaska site amid battle with Elon Musk | US telecom executives say OneWeb’s service is ‘too costly’
5) Roger Bootle: Foreign rivals have bought up Britain – now we are at their mercy | Decades of neglect have left us heavily indebted to other countries
What happened overnight
Asian shares rallied as hopes for less aggressive US rate hikes and the opening of China’s borders boosted the outlook for the global economy.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 2pc to a five-month top, with South Korean shares gaining 2.2pc.
Chinese blue chips grew 0.7pc, while Hong Kong shares rose 1.4pc and China’s yuan firmed to its highest since mid-August under 6.8000.
Japan’s Nikkei was closed for a holiday but futures were trading at 26,215, compared with a cash close on Friday of 25,973.
S&P 500 futures added 0.2pc and Nasdaq futures 0.3pc.