Breaking News

Time to wrap up.

UK factories are struggling with the worst supply chain crunch since the 1970s, as fears over shortage of raw materials, parts and staff continue to soar.

Consumers have been hit in the pocket too, with Unilever hiking prices on its stable of food, personal care and cleaning products by 4% in the last quarter.

More increase are coming, as the marmite, PG Tips and Dove producer plans to keep passing on its rising costs.

UK government borrowing has undershot forecasts so far this year, giving chancellor Rishi Sunak more ammunition ahead of next week’s budget.

But economists suspect the chancellor will keep spending tight, in the hope of building up a fiscal warchest ready for the next election.

Shares in the struggling property giant China Evergrande tumbled after plans to offload a stake in one of its units for $2.6bn collapsed.

The failure increases the pressure on the group that has just days to avoid an official default on its debt.

Worries about Evergrande weighed on the London stock market, with mining shares sliding as investors worried about the knock-on impact on China’s economy.

Over in New York, WeWork has finally gone public, after its 2019 IPO collapsed.

US jobless claims have dipped to a new pandemic low…

…but eurozone consumer confidence has taken a knock this month.

Bitcoin has dipped back from yesterday’s record highs, but is still outperforming gold as a protection against inflation this year.

Hospitality bosses have warned that pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels would be driven under if the government imposes “plan B” restrictions to curb the rise in Covid-19 cases, which have hit a three-month daily high over 50,000 this afternoon.

The Turkish lira has slumped to a record low after a shock 200-basis point rate cut, following pressure from president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey’s inflation rate is already near 20%, and the weak lira will push up import costs.

Adeline Van Houtte, European analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit, explains:

The weakness of the lira will exacerbate upward pressures on the prices of imported and internationally traded goods and services.

Combined with higher global commodity prices, including energy raw materials prices, and ever-rising inflationary expectations, this may keep the annual rate of inflation at around current levels over the next few months, notwithstanding a favourable base effect in the closing months of 2021.”

Barclays has brushed off concerns over rising inflation and the supply chain crisis, after almost doubling profits in the last quarter.

Households have been warned that Britain’s gas crisis will keep driving energy bills higher until 2023, and could leave only five or six of the strongest suppliers standing.

FirstGroup has announced the sale of its Greyhound bus service in the US to become fully focused on UK transport, as its Lumo train service operated its inaugural journey from London to Scotland.

And a consultation launched on regulating UK’s buy now, pay later credit industry:

Goodnight. GW