Metro Bank to cut hundreds of jobs after £925m rescue deal approved Business

Thanks for joining me. New experimental data from the Office for National Statistics indicates that unemployment may have been as low as 3.5pc in the three months to May.

The data, which statistician said is “very early” and “only indicative”, would put the percentage of jobseekers at the same levels as the lows of the 1970s.

5 things to start your day 

1) Selfridges shareholder Signa files for insolvency | Questions over department store ownership as cash crunch topples Rene Benko’s empire

2) Ottolenghi forced to cut restaurant opening hours amid chef shortage | Chain admits struggles hiring talented staff in wake of Covid and Brexit

3) Inside the scramble to save Saga from sinking under a mountain of debt | Chief executive Euan Sutherland’s departure comes at a crucial juncture for the business

4) Tom Stevenson: With a turbulent year ahead, investors can’t afford to sit on the fence | We indulge in scenario analysis without the benefit of a crystal ball

5) Why Sunak’s national security tsar Oliver Dowden may be the man to decide The Telegraph’s fate | Tory MPs are pressing the Deputy Prime Minister to intervene in Abu Dhabi’s takeover of this newspaper

What happened overnight 

Asian shares were mostly higher ahead of an update on US consumer inflation and a meeting of the Opec+ oil producers in Vienna.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 closed up 0.5pc, or 165.67 points, to end at 33,486.89, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.4pc, or 10.43 points, to 2,374.93.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was up 0.2pc at 17,024.43. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.2pc to 3,026.43.

South Korea’s Kospi was flat at 2,520.14. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.4pc to 7,062.90. In Bangkok, the SET fell 0.4pc. India’s Sensex lost 0.3pc and Taiwan’s Taiex edged 0.1pc higher.

The members of OPEC+, whose oil income props up their economies, are due today to try to forge a consensus on production cuts after postponing a meeting originally set for Sunday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading American businesses rose 0.04pc on Thursday to 35,430.42, while broader S&P 500 lost 0.1pc to close at 4,550.58. The Nasdaq Composite index, which heavily features technology companies, dropped 0.2pc to 14,258.49.

The yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasury bonds was down six basis points to 4.278pc, from 4.336pc late on Tuesday.

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This notice was published: 2023-11-30 07:36:58


Behind the curtain: meet the brains behind one of the UK’s most exciting and innovative TV production companies Business News

Content Kings is a Business Reporter client.

Content Kings co-founders Jonathan Levi and Gavin Hay are the driving force behind the company’s meteoric rise in the world of entertainment. With an impressive portfolio of groundbreaking shows and a reputation for crafting thought-provoking content that resonates across the globe, we look at how their unique skillset and creative prowess has resulted in multiple awards and a roster of TV shows across global markets.

Content Kings is one of the UK’s most exciting and innovative production companies, making programmes for top broadcasters and online platforms. Since opening its doors for business in 2020, Content Kings has worked both on and off screen with some of the world’s biggest names in entertainment, including Neale Whitaker and Ed Westwick.

Gavin Hay and Jonathan Levi originally joined forces thanks to their complementary skills, extensive expertise and vast industry network. This collaboration has empowered them to consistently create premium content across digital, TV and film. Their impressive portfolio includes some of the UK’s most prominent shows, and now they’re set to take the magic to the United Arab Emirates with the upcoming launch of the second Content Kings office in Dubai, with the new appointment of Darren Arturi as Director – Middle East and Asia Operations. Their first project is with a major US star.

Dream Team: Jonathan and Gavin originally joined forces thanks to their complementary skills, extensive expertise and vast industry networks

(Courtesy of Content Kings)

Dividing Content Kings into three main divisions – television, feature films and branded content – the duo has carved a niche in each area, producing content for global audiences.

One of the hallmarks of Content Kings’s success is its ability to create primetime content that leaves a lasting impact. Its impressive track record includes collaborations with major channels such as ITV, Channel 5, Paramount + and Sky History.

CEO Gavin Hay, who started Brighter Pictures in 1992 and later sold it to Endemol for a reported £10 million, shares his vision for Content Kings: “We are storytellers with a passion for both entertainment and enlightenment,” he says. “Our mission is to craft, shape and deliver premium content with a global reach that speaks to diverse audiences.

“We have a profound focus on real-life, emotionally charged human narratives. Our viewers are inherently inquisitive and intellectually curious. Whether it’s our historical and specialist factual programs such as Secrets of the Lost Liners or the poignant Princess Diana documentary we produced on the 25th anniversary of her passing that sold to 25 territories, we consistently strive to engage our audience with thought-provoking content. These are universal themes that transcend borders, resonating equally in Africa, the Middle East, or right here in the UK and Europe.”

Gavin Hay, CEO, Content Kings

(Courtesy of Content Kings)

Jonathan Levi, Managing Director, Content Kings

(Courtesy of Content Kings)

The duo was attracted to expanding into the UAE as it is a magnet for talent and investment from all over the world. They recognise a significant opportunity to infuse vitality into the UAE’s more corporate, commercial style of content. Content Kings aspires to introduce broadcast-quality storytelling and entertainment, heralding a pioneering approach to content creation and programme making in the region. One of their first commissions is a major entertainment show to be filmed in Saudi Arabia at the end of January 2024.

“The traditional thing for a UK production company might be to look over to the US and to set up in New York or LA, but those ponds feel very overfished,” says Managing Director Jonathan Levi, whose credits include ITV’s Broadmoor, Hatton Garden starring Timothy Spall, and Tulisa: The Price of Fame. “A lot of people have done that over the years, and there aren’t so many people looking east. It felt really exciting to us to build an infrastructure and forge fresh relationships, enabling us to extend our reputation for producing excellent content across genres to a brand-new audience within the Arabic and Middle Eastern region.”

The upcoming months and the outlook for 2024 promise to be a thrilling and busy period for Content Kings. With numerous projects in various stages, including an eight-part history series for Channel 5, a six-part series for Sky History, a three-part consumer series and a feature documentary for a major UK broadcaster. Content Kings is also engaged in funded development with Channel 4 for a new reality series, while series two of Secrets of the Lost Liners is already in the works. The production company is also working on an access documentary about a prominent comedian, delving into themes such as cancel culture, class, and the world of comedy.

But it’s not just the mainstream this dynamic duo can produce, they also have a new digital, first…

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This notice was published: 2023-11-29 16:52:40


Unleashing the power of customer data: the role of CDPs Business News

Zeotap is a Business Reporter client.

Business Reporter: Zeotap

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, understanding your customers has never been more critical. The ability to utilise data efficiently, optimise marketing budgets and provide customised customer experiences across all channels is the key to success. In a world full of information, having a clear vision of your customers is paramount. Without it, businesses risk wandering aimlessly in the data wilderness of an increasingly dynamic and demanding landscape.

In this scenario, where customer journeys are more complex than ever, brands face the challenge of showcasing return on investment while meeting ever-greater customer expectations for high-quality experiences. Marketers find themselves leaning heavily on data for strategic planning, precise audience definition, efficient resource allocation, holistic orchestration and effective evaluation.

Data is the key to uncovering customer preferences and digital journeys. However, given the increasing number of data sources, channels and direct-to-consumer options, brands must onboard new technologies and data management capabilities to cope with exponentially growing customer data silos. Nowadays, the issue at stake is not a lack of data but the ability to analyse the wealth of data that companies gather efficiently and turn it into actionable and valuable insights.

As a consequence, customer data platforms (CDPs) have emerged as a crucial foundational implement in the marketer’s toolbox, enabling businesses to keep track of their customers and deliver personalised experiences across an ever-expanding set of touchpoints.

Unravelling the data maze

CDPs are software that aggregate customer data from various sources, unify it into a central customer profile and share it with other marketing technology systems.

These platforms build customer profiles by combining data from a variety of sources, including first-, second- and third-party sources. They collect and organise data from a company’s customer relationship management system, data lakes or warehouses, websites or mobile apps and point-of-sale systems.

Marketers can then use these combined profiles to create audience segments and activate them across various channels such as paid media, SMS marketing, customer service tools and website personalisation. This ability to manage data compliantly and efficiently deliver targeted, personalised experiences enhances digital engagement and conversions.

The CDP in action: driving business growth

To illustrate the power of a CDP, let’s consider a real-world scenario. Meet Sarah, an avid online shopper.

Sarah frequently browses your e-commerce website and adds items to her cart but often abandons her purchase. She’s also subscribed to your newsletter and follows you on social media. With a CDP in place, you can track every step of Sarah’s journey.

When Sarah visits your website, the CDP identifies her, recognises her past behaviour and dynamically adjusts the content she sees. She receives personalised recommendations based on her browsing and purchase history, enticing her to complete her abandoned cart purchase. If she opens an email from your brand, the CDP ensures it’s tailored to her preferences.

In this way, the CDP enables you to engage with Sarah in a relevant and personalised manner, increasing the likelihood of conversion and strengthening her loyalty.

Leveraging the power of customer data

A CDP can harness the potential of your customer data by:

  • Creating a 360-degree view of the customer by stitching together online and offline data. This enables better marketing strategies, improved customer service and prevents customer churn. It also simplifies access to the latest customer data for business analysis and predictive modelling.
  • Defining the relevant audiences and creating better segmentation for optimising the media budget and reducing media wastage.
  • Ensuring data security and customer privacy compliance to avoid regulatory issues with significant consequences.
  • Enhancing data-driven marketing through machine learning, facilitating the identification of patterns and enabling marketers to cross-sell and upsell.
  • Improving customer understanding to offer unique, personalised experiences across preferred media platforms, even in real-time.
  • Enhancing loyalty and satisfaction through personalisation by identifying high-value customers, predicting potential churners and tailoring on-site promotions for different customer segments.

It’s crucial to recognise that not all CDPs are identical. While their core function of unifying and activating data remains consistent, their capabilities and features can vary significantly. In this ever-evolving MarTech ecosystem, it’s essential to choose a CDP that offers flexibility for brands to adopt the best-of-breed technologies in the long run.

Zeotap CDP: Your path to data-driven success

In this landscape, Zeotap CDP stands out as an accessible, user-friendly solution…

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This notice was published: 2023-11-29 16:53:25


Harnessing Industrial DevOps to minimise risk and maximise efficiency in industrial automation Business News

Copia Automation is a Business Reporter client.

For the manufacturing sector, these are the best of times and the worst of times.

While overall the state of the industry trends upward, there are challenges – both new and old – on the horizon. From inflation and a general sense of economic uncertainty to a scarcity of skilled labour, lingering supply chain issues and the threat of cyber-attacks, manufacturers are struggling to stay the course. Applying a DevOps model to the industrial automation process is a sound way for manufacturers to help address these challenges and to ensure many productive years ahead. Industrial DevOps is the perfect marriage of industrial automation with modern software development practices.

Keeping the wheels in motion

The most critical task of any manufacturer is to establish and maintain consistent production. Operational outages can be triggered without notice from socio-political unrest, natural disasters or any of the more localised problems mentioned above. Whatever the cause, the result is the interruption of productivity and the potential for crippling financial losses.

In digitised plants, where manufacturing is automated for speed and efficiency, the effects of halting production can quickly wreak havoc on stock value and corporate image. A major car manufacturer suffered a shutdown at several of its assembly plants due to a glitch in one of its parts-ordering systems. The cause was attributed to a software update – just one example of how the technology that helps us can also impede us.

As the CEO of Copia Automation, I see first-hand how easily manufacturing operations are disrupted. I also see how risks can be mitigated by equipping teams with the right tools, providing visibility into their code and code changes, and giving them the control to spot issues and recover quickly. By applying pertinent strategies of the software development model to industrial automation processes, plant operations can be managed more efficiently, increasing stability and security and enabling faster recovery from system outages.

What is Industrial DevOps?

DevOps is a widely used set of practices that has revolutionised the way software development teams perform their jobs, enabling them to work more quickly and efficiently. Aspects of a DevOps environment include collaborative tools and standards for dividing up the labour, planning and executing code development, storing files and testing and deploying software. All of these practices keep development moving forwards, and allow for quick identification and correction of errors.

Industrial DevOps applies these concepts to the industrial automation process, providing powerful tools and a highly defined, collaborative environment for managing automated manufacturing systems. From design and programming of automated components and storage and management of source code, to testing, production and troubleshooting, Industrial DevOps provides a single source of truth for overseeing your industrial automation workflow. It enables the faster deployment and maintenance of robotic devices, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and other equipment, and provides the ability to proactively anticipate and recover from crippling problems and outages.

What does Industrial DevOps look like?

An Industrial DevOps platform such as Copia provides a full-featured source control repository for your automation projects. For example, a factory may use PLCs to control how long cookies bake before heading to the cooling rack, or how thick a coat of paint is applied to a car door. Copia provides actionable visibility and precise control over PLC code development. When it comes time to deploy the newly programmed PLC, it can be swapped in, tested and further modified to exacting specifications within a single multi-vendor platform that offers an infallible source control/change management for PLCs and control devices.

Goodbye, tedious jobs: Industrial DevOps eliminates manual and repetitive tasks

(Courtesy of Copia Automation)

Any future tweaks to the code are automatically updated in the source control repository, avoiding any errors caused by manual updates, with automatic alerts for unauthorised changes. In the contemporary industrial landscape, safeguarding control data through robust backup strategies is of paramount importance. While IT departments have long prioritised business data backups, the intricate manufacturing environment has been heavily reliant on workers physically connecting PCs to PLCs with backups not happening on a regular and consistent basis. Even with these manual processes to backup machines and devices, in addition to diverse automation programs, there is no way to know if code was changed, when, why or by whom, leading to vulnerabilities in the system.

Industrial DevOps eliminates these manual and tedious tasks and enables the visualisation of code that is running on the plant floor to provide visual comparisons to previous versions….

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This notice was published: 2023-11-29 16:53:42


Our expert answers your questions Business

Jane Pourtney’s question is:To what extent are A level and university essay questions being redesigned to overcome AI assistance?”

Here’s what our experts says:

“One of the first clear impacts of ChatGPT has been a cheating epidemic. Thousands of students have turned in essays and homework generated by the system, leading some schools and universities to ban the software. 

“Others have turned to anti-cheating tools designed to check if something has been written by AI, although many produce errors, leading students who have written their own work being falsely accused of cheating.

“Teachers seem to be gradually adapting, rather than resisting, however. Some are moving essay writing to the classroom, where students cannot use ChatGPT. Others are allowing students to use the software, but adding interviews to show that students understand the subject. 

“The latter might prove more useful: like calculators and spell check, students are likely to continue using AI in the world of work.”

Another reader, Charlie Jones, asks:If you were a teenager soon to be making choices for university and future career, what would you seek or avoid with AI in mind?”

James replies: 

“This is a great question. The instinctual answer is computer science or maths: if AI is going to replace jobs, it seems a safe bet that at least the people developing it will be in employment. 

“Any skilled physical job is likely to be in demand for some time: while software has come on in leaps and bounds, robots remain a challenge. Lawyers will have no shortage of work either, judging by the frequent lawsuits against AI companies from people who say they have been libelled or had their data stolen.

“With some exceptions, however, many of today’s jobs are still likely to exist, just in different forms. AI is a tool that still requires human intervention.”

A question from Joe Jackson:Should we consider films based on tech, such as Will Smith in I, Robot being a very possible reality within the next 50 years?”

James answers: 

“Probably not. Hollywood movies such as The Terminator have done a good job of entertaining us but a pretty poor job of educating us about an AI future. For example, they often give AI human qualities – a lust for power – that we have no evidence they possess.

“50 years is a long time frame, and AI will undoubtedly make huge advances over the decades. 

“We should certainly be wary of the risks – but the most risky scenarios to do with AI are probably about humans incorrectly deploying them in areas like weapons systems than the typical Hollywood examples of a race of robots enslaving humans.”

Peter Mitchell asks: “Will AI be able to replace customer service operators?”

Our expert replies:

“This is something that is already happening. Go on many websites today and you’ll find yourself talking to an AI bot, rather than a human operator. Energy provider Octopus, for example, says that customers actually prefer communicating with AI than staff.

“AI is unlikely to be able to answer all queries for many years, but the number of cases it can deal with are likely to gradually increase until it is handling the majority of customer service issues. 

“For now, AI is better at answering chats and emails than phone calls, but voice recognition and replication technology means that is changing too, although some people may find it uncanny.”

Finally, reader Peo Rakata would like some advice: “As a finance and banking professional, how can one adapt to the new AI environment to avoid retrenchment?”

In response, James says:

“It is hard to predict, but the white collar jobs that are probably most at risk from artificial intelligence are those in repetitive or data-intensive tasks: data entry and analysis, compliance, and so on. Those that involve a lot of personal interaction are less likely to be affected. That is probably the case from finance to a lot of other office-based jobs.

“These changes tend to happen relatively gradually though, and employers often find new jobs for their workers. Computers and the internet have changed offices hugely, but we still have just as many people employed in them, even though we have fewer typists and secretaries.”

Do you have a question about AI? Please leave it in the comments section

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This notice was published: 2023-11-01 10:44:51


Blow for Sunak as OECD says UK to have second-slowest growth in G7 Business News

Rishi Sunak has suffered a major blow as a major international forecast showed that Britain is set to suffer the highest inflation and the second-slowest growth rate in the G7.

The Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has slashed its economic growth forecast for the UK while increasing its expected inflation rate.

The forecaster said the UK economy will grow by just 0.5 per cent this year – making it the worst-performing of all advanced economies in the G7 group bar Germany.

Growth will average just 0.7 per cent next year – downgraded from an earlier forecast of 0.8 per cent – followed by an expected economic uptick to 1.2 per cent in 2025.

Inflation – the rate at which prices are rising – is set to average 7.3 per cent across this year, compared with an earlier forecast of 7.2 per cent. It is then expected to fall to 2.9 per cent next year, and 2.5 per cent the year after.

The figures represent a big setback to Mr Sunak and his chancellor Jeremy Hunt just a week after they claimed the economy had “turned a corner”.

After cutting personal taxes in a pre-general election giveaway, the PM had claimed that there is “positive momentum” behind Britain’s recovery.

But the latest figures show British families will still be grappling with spiralling prices in the year ahead, while Britain’s economy is outgrown by G7 countries like France, Italy, the US, Canada and Japan.

In its report, the OECD said growth in the major European economies “is expected to remain weak in the near term but improve gradually as inflation wanes, monetary policy easing gets underway and real incomes recover”.

The organisation said GDP growth in the UK is “projected to be subdued, with higher fiscal pressure weighing on household disposable incomes, but to improve from 0.5 per cent in 2023 to 0.7 per cent in 2024 and 1.2 per cent in 2025”.

Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt cut taxes at the autumn statement in the hope of boosting growth

(PA Wire)

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor, said the OECD figures “blow a hole in Rishi Sunak’s claims that he has fixed the economy”.

She said Britain was “worse off after thirteen years of economic failure under the Conservatives, with low growth, high tax and prices still rising in the shops” – promising Labour would be “the party of economic growth”.

The Liberal Democrats’ Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said the Tory government had “condemned the UK to near the bottom of international league tables with all their chaos”, adding: “Jeremy Hunt has no plan to fix this mess.”

The grim forecast comes after the governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey said the UK’s growth outlook is the worst he has ever seen.

Mr Bailey offered a scathing assessment of immidiate future, saying interest rates will remain at 15-year highs for the foreseeable future. “It does concern me that the supply side of the economy has slowed. It does concern me a lot,” he said earlier this week.

The governor added: “If you look at what I call the potential growth rates of the economy, there’s no doubt it’s lower than it has been in much of my working life.”

Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves claim Labour is ‘party of growth’


The Bank of England kept interest rates at 5.25 per cent earlier this month and has insisted that it is too early to think about cutting rates.

There were some encouraging figures on the housing market from the Bank of England on Wednesday, however. The number of mortgages approved picked up last month after interest rates were held steady.

Bank of England figures showed that 47,400 mortgages were approved for house purchases in October, up from the eight-month low of 43,300 recorded in September.

Jason Tebb, chief executive of property platform, said: “Borrowers are daring to believe that base rate may have peaked, giving them a better idea of where they stand and what they can commit to when it comes to a property purchase.”

The OECD warned that the concerted push by central banks to tackle persistent inflation risks tipping Britain and other major economies into recession next year. The body said the chances of getting the balance on interest rates wrong was “pretty high”.

Higher borrowing costs are still weighing on the housing market and business investment, the OECD said. Meanwhile, the growing tax burden is squeezing household incomes.

Heightened geopolitical tensions are also adding to uncertainty about the outlook in the near term, with the Israel-Hamas conflict raising concerns over disruption to energy markets, according to the organisation.

A Treasury spokesman said: “While inflation is falling, now we are taking the long-term decisions needed for growth. As the chancellor set out at the autumn statement last week, we are making sure work always pays and backing…

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This notice was published: 2023-11-29 12:17:43


I am just being real about the economy, says Andrew Bailey Business

Thanks for joining me. Saudi Arabia will own 10pc of Heathrow after Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial announced it was offloading its 25pc stake in Europe’s busiest airport.

Ferrovial, which was the transport hub’s largest shareholder, said it has reached a £2.4bn deal to sell its remaining shares to the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Paris-based Ardian, which will take a 15pc holding.

The deal brings to an end Heathrow’s long association with Spanish company, which began with controversy in 2006 when Ferrovial launched a successful hostile bid for BAA, the UK airports operator.

The sale, first mooted in August last year, comes after Heathrow said it recorded its highest-ever September passenger numbers of more than seven million, which also marked the first time it exceeded pre-pandemic traffic figures.

Saudi Arabia’s PIF has become a major investing force around the world as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts to diversify’s the Gulf state’s economy away from oil. It aims to hold $2trillion (£1.6trn) in assets by 2030.

Luke Bugeja, head of Ferrovial’s airports business, said: “Over the last 17 years, we have been contributing to Heathrow’s transformation, together with our fellow shareholders, achieving some excellent milestones throughout our long-term role as investor.

“We are very pleased to have made Heathrow one of the world’s most connected airports and the busiest airport in Europe.”

5 things to start your day 

1) Downturn in tech and construction make London redundancy capital of Britain | One in six companies planning to cut staff as hiring sentiment among employers plunges

2) Taxi war cools as black cabs return to Uber for first time in six years | Taxi union says its drivers are unlikely to sign up due to company’s track record

3) Why the Bank of England’s doom mongers are a thorn in Rishi Sunak’s side | Growing divisions spell trouble for the Prime Minister gearing up for a difficult election

4) Warren Buffett’s right-hand man Charlie Munger dies aged 99 | The duo were famed for their long run of outperforming the American stock market

5) Jeremy Warner: The Brexit betrayal is complete: surging migration is becoming an economic burden | Without the promise to take back control of Britain’s borders, Leave would not have won

What happened overnight 

The S&P 500 index of 500 listed American companies was up 0.098pc yesterday at 4,554.89. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading US companies rose 0.24pc to 35,416.98, while the Nasdaq Composite index, which is skewed towards technology businesses, rose 0.29pc to 14,281.76.

The yield on 10-year US Treasury bonds declined five basis points to 4.33pc after comments by US Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller, who votes on US interest rates. He said: “I am encouraged by what we have learned in the past few weeks – something appears to be giving, and it’s the pace of the economy.” Economic data from October “are consistent with the kind of moderating demand and easing price pressure that will help move inflation back to 2pc”, he told a conference.

Asian stocks briefly made one-week highs on Wednesday, bonds rallied and the dollar sank on new hints at US interest rate cuts.

In New Zealand, the dollar jumped after its central bank said another hike may be necessary if inflation proves stubborn. The New Zealand dollar was last up 1.1pc at a four-month high of $0.6207, having blown past resistance.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.5pc in early trade before weakness in Hong Kong tech shares dragged it back to flat. Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.2pc. 

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This notice was published: 2023-11-29 09:17:05


Brexit red tape risks extending inflation crisis, retailers warn Business News

Rishi Sunak has been warned that his approach to Brexit red tape and the tax burden risk extending the UK’s cost of living crisis into 2024.

Britain’s biggest retailers said the hopes of cutting inflation next year was under threat because the cost of doing business was still too high.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the struggle with costly post-Brexit bureaucracy risked prolonging ongoing price rises in the shops.

The retailers’ umbrella body also said measures set out by chancellor Jeremy Hunt at the autumn statement could also fuel inflation.

The BRC’s measure for shop price inflation eased to 4.3 per cent in November, down from 5.2 per cent the previous month.

But the organisation pointed out that the easing only means that prices in the shops and supermarket shelves are only rising less rapidly.

And the BRC said “hidden costs” of complying with post-Brexit rules had made it more difficult for businesses to keep prices down.

“Retailers are committed to delivering an affordable Christmas for their customers,” said the BRC’s chief executive, Helen Dickinson.

“They face new headwinds in 2024 – from government-imposed increases in business rates bills, to the hidden costs of complying with new regulations,” she added.

Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have come in for criticism over high tax burden

(PA Wire)

Ms Dickinson said: “Combining these with the biggest rise to the ‘national living wage’ on record will likely stall or even reverse progress made thus far on bringing down inflation, particularly in food.”

The BRC also said Mr Hunt’s decision to keep a planned increase in business rates from April would cost companies £400m next year, despite some breaks for smaller firms.

It comes after Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey suggested the UK economy’s potential to grow was among the worst he had seen in his lifetime.

The governor repeated his warning that interest rates would not be cut in the “foreseeable future” – having declared it was “much too early” to say inflation had been beaten.

It comes as Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) chairman Richard Hughes told MPs that Mr Hunt’s autumn statement’s implied spending plans – which are set to involve major public spending cuts – were “a very big fiscal risk”.

The watchdog chief told the Treasury committee on Tuesday that it was “very difficult to assess the credibility of the government’s spending plans, because after March of 2025 the government doesn’t have any spending plans”.

Jeremy Hunt delivered some tax cuts, but faced criticism for overall tax burden and public spending cuts ahead


A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “It is thanks to our action that we’ve achieved our target of halving inflation this year, but we are continuing to stay the course to get inflation all the way back down to 2 per cent.”

“The OBR have confirmed that our policies will reduce inflation next year while boosting growth and rewarding people for their hard work.”

Meanwhile, in other Brexit news, foreign secretary David Cameron is expected to try to meet EU Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic as he heads to Brussels for a two-day summit.

In his first trip to the EU capital since his fateful Brexit referendum, Mr Cameron will join a Nato meeting of foreign ministers set to discuss the Ukraine war.

But Lord Cameron is reportedly ready to raise the issue of post-Brexit tariffs set to be imposed on the automobile industry into force in January if he meets Mr Sefcovic this week.

Mr Sunak’s government is pushing the EU Commission to agree to delay the costly new “rules of origin” set to damage the electric vehicle (EV) market due to come in at the start of 2024 as part of Boris Johnson’s trade deal.

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This notice was published: 2023-11-28 13:51:24


UK inflation ‘becoming more home grown’ warns Bank of England deputy governor Business

Thanks for joining us. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement has imposed measures which could increase food price inflation, retail chiefs have warned.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said changes to pay and taxes introduced by Jeremy Hunt in the Autumn Statement risk sending prices higher.

She pointed to increases in the minimum wage and business rates for supermarkets, which will increase costs for the businesses.

5 things to start your day 

1) Central bank spending is like ‘heroin’ for households, says Jamie Dimon | JP Morgan boss says US economy is addicted to debt

2) Twitter loses 3 million monthly UK visitors after Musk takeover | Users switch to rival platforms amid concerns over looser moderation and falling quality

3) Sunak’s net zero backsliding ‘deeply damaging’ for Britain, warns Lord Stern | Interview: Former chief economist on why the PM’s climate policy is a diplomatic disaster

4) The OpenAI soap opera is a lesson in why greed is good | The ChatGPT creator’s radical experiment in corporate governance has unambiguously failed

5) Crazy environmental standards risk turning Britain into a nation of green ghost towns | Heavy-handed regulation is accelerating a downturn in commercial property

What happened overnight 

Shares were mixed in Asia after Wall Street benchmarks edged lower as investors waited for updates on inflation and how American consumers are feeling about the economy.

Tokyo and Hong Kong fell while Shanghai, Seoul and Sydney gained.

Later, the Conference Board will issue its latest report on consumer confidence, which has remained solid throughout the year. Economists polled by FactSet expect another solid reading for the October report.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong slipped 0.6pc to 17,419.42. Sensetime’s shares sank 5.6pc, having fallen as much as 9pc, after short-seller Grizzly Research accused the artificial intelligence software company of inflating its revenue figures. 

In a notice to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Sensetime said the allegations were “without merit” and showed a lack of understanding of the company’s business and its financial reporting.

Elsewhere, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.1pc at 33,408.39, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.2pc to 2,376.71.

South Korea’s Kospi jumped 0.8pd to 2,514.45 and the Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1pc higher, to 3,034.80.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3pc to 7,011.10 and India’s Sensex was up just 18 points at 65,980.48. Bangkok’s SET gained 0.4pc.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading American companies dropped 0.2pc on Monday to 35,333.47. The S&P 500 – much loved by index fund investors looking for a broad base of American companies – dipped 0.2pc to 4,550.43, while the Nasdaq Composite index, which is heavily skewed towards technology companies, dropped 0.1pc to 14,241.02.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury bonds were down nine basis points to 4.394pc.

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This notice was published: 2023-11-28 09:10:06


Interest rates will not fall for ‘foreseeable future’ insists Bailey Business

Thanks for joining me. Gold prices have started the week by hitting a six-month high after a slump in the value of the dollar.

The safe-haven asset hit $2,017.82 an ounce as the value of the dollar continues to slide amid bets on money markets that the US Federal Reserve will not increase interest rates again.

5 things to start your day 

1) Bank of England’s net zero focus ‘jeopardises’ inflation fight | A “democratic deficit” has emerged at the Bank, the Economic Affairs Committee has warned

2) The UK knows how to throw a party but investors won’t be fooled | Pomp and ceremony won’t distract from the sorry reality of Britain’s decline

3) Global firms pledge £30bn to UK economy ahead of Sunak summit | Microsoft and BioNTech provide boost for Prime Minister as global executives gather

4) How Israel is interfering with Hamas’s route to victory | Microsoft and BioNTech provide boost for Prime Minister as global executives gather

5) Supermarkets at risk of British beef and lamb shortages | Farmers begin reducing livestock numbers as post-Brexit overhaul starts to bite

What happened overnight 

Asian markets dipped Monday as investors look ahead to the release this week of key US inflation data that could provide a guide for the Federal Reserve’s plans for interest rates going into the new year.

With Wall Street seeing little action at the back of last week owing to the Thanksgiving break, traders had few catalysts to drive action, though analysts were upbeat about the end of the year.

The retreat in equities comes after a recent run-up across world markets fuelled by bets the US central bank has finished lifting interest rates as inflation comes down and the jobs market comes off the boil.

The main focus this week is the release Thursday of the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, the Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation.

In Asian trading, Tokyo stocks shed earlier gains and ended lower, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index down 0.5pc, or 177.86 points, to 33,447.67, while the broader Topix index fell 0.4pc, or 9.18 points, to 2,381.76.

After a tepid half-day of business Friday in New York, Asia drifted lower.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1pc to 17,382.28, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.8pc to 3,017.79.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.4pc to 7,009.50. South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.2pc to 2,491.20.

Still, observers were upbeat about the outlook, with the latest weakness blamed on traders taking a breather after a strong month.

Eyes are also on developments at Opec after the group and its allies delayed a meeting aimed at agreeing production quotas, with some African countries said to be baulking at Saudi Arabian calls for more cuts.

The group is thought to be close to reaching an agreement that could see the Saudis and Russia extend output reductions into the new year.

Crude prices have fallen in recent weeks as demand is seen coming down owing to slowing economies, particularly China’s, and the Middle East crisis appears to be contained. 

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This notice was published: 2023-11-27 08:59:33