FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live

LIVE – Updated at 17:31

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters People walk through the City of London financial district today

Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news.

FTSE 100 posts biggest one-day jump since July

17:31

With risk appetite returning to the City, the FTSE 100 index has closed 109 points higher at 7169 points.

That’s a surge of 1.5% today, its biggest one-day rise since 21st July as worries about the Omicron variant recede.

Gains in banks, oil and mining stocks led the index higher, along with travel companies such as IAG (+3.4%).

The smaller FTSE 250 index jumped by 1.75%, with travel and hospitality stocks such as Wizz Air (+7%), easyJet (+4.3%), and Restaurant Group (+7.7%) higher. Energy company Drax jumped 9%, after outlining plans to invest billions more in biomass.

A strong start to December, but it still leaves the FTSE 100 index around 140 points, or 2%, below its levels last Thursday – ahead of Friday’s heavy selloff.

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian The FTSE 100 index over the last three months Photograph: Refinitiv

FTSE 100 closes up 1.55% at 7,168.68 as investors welcome better than expected manufacturing PMIs and mull WHO comments that Omicron virus may be relatively mild. #UKshares

— Andrew Duncan (@andrewsduncan1) December 1, 2021

Other European stock markets also had a strong day, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 rising 1.7%, and Germany and France up around 2.4% each.

📊 Fechamento da Europa:

🇪🇺 STOXX 600 1,71%

🇬🇧 FTSE 100 1,55%

🇮🇹 FTSE MIB 2,16%

🇪🇸 IBEX 35 1,78%

🇵🇹 PSI 20 0,75%

🇫🇷 CAC 40 2,39%

🇩🇪 DAX 2,47%

— MyCAP Investimentos (@mycapinvest) December 1, 2021

Danni Hewson AJ Bell financial analyst, explains that investors are hopeful that the Omicron variant won’t undermine the recovery.

“The volatility that’s marked the last few days hasn’t gone away but today’s action has at least been positive pretty much across the board. Investors have likely grabbed onto the comments from a WHO official that Omicron is in most cases mild and that there’s no evidence that vaccine efficacy should be reduced.

If this twist in the Covid saga follows the same path as Delta did then global recovery shouldn’t be undermined. London’s indices have bubbled over with optimism rather like an over eager sommelier with a good champagne. Across all sectors there’s been positive momentum and notable gains for companies that bore the brunt of Friday’s battering with IAG, Wizz Air and The Restaurant Group most in fashion.

“By contrast Ocado has fallen out of favour as people breath a huge sigh of relief that queues around supermarket car parks are not expected to make a return appearance any time soon. Today Christmas is back on, whether tomorrow will bring a new twist to chill the glow is frankly anybody’s guess.

Craig Erlam of OANDA points out that there is still significant uncertainty about Omicron, and the risk that America’s central bank ends its stimulus measures sooner.

Today’s rebound really doesn’t feel particularly warranted given what little we know about Omicron at this point and what Jerome Powell said yesterday. A hawkish central bank and clearly concerned governments around the world is hardly the recipe for a new surge in the stock market.

But then, buying dips has often appeared to defy logic and yet been very effective so you can’t blame investors for giving it a try. And let’s face it, we’re a good headline on vaccine effectiveness away from a potentially tasty Santa rally. Maybe that’s the play for those jumping back in despite the worrying signs around the new variant.

Travel stocks lead markets higher

16:00

Travel and hospitality stocks are rallying strongly this afternoon, as fears over the latest variant of Covid-19 recede.

In London, British Airways parent company IAG is up 3% in late afternoon trading, with budget airlines easyJet up 5.4% and Wizz Air gaining nearly 7%.

Cruise operator Carnival are 4% higher, while hotel operator Whitbread have gained nearly 3%.

The FTSE 100 index of blue-chip shares is ending the day strongly, up 91 points or 1.3% at 7151 points.

Industrial metals, such as copper, are also rebounding.

Michael Hewson of CMC Markets says investors are hoping that Omicron will be more benign than initially feared:

This expectation of a more benign outcome, as a WHO official says early data shows existing vaccines should be effective, has seen a wholesale rebound in the likes of travel and leisure stocks, with British Airways owner IAG, and Premier Inn owner Whitbread leading the way, along with the likes of BP and Shell as oil prices rebound ahead of this week’s OPEC meetings.

The lack of appetite for co-ordinated travel restrictions amongst EU leaders may well also be helping on the margins with easyJet and Wizz Air also showing strong gains.

Market seesaw continues as Omicron fears fade https://t.co/pNtePoaC8q @CMCMarkets

— Michael Hewson 🇬🇧 (@mhewson_CMC) December 1, 2021

Bank of England governor says Covid’s economic impact still strong

15:55

The economic impact from COVID-19 has faded since the start of the pandemic but still remains strong, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said today.

Asked how to assess news of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, Bailey explained:

“Direct economic effects of COVID have attenuated a lot since the fall in GDP in the second quarter of last year, when we went off a cliff.

“However, there are still impacts that we are feeling from COVID quite strongly,”

He was speaking at a question and answer session hosted by Britain’s Institute and Faculty of Actuaries which focused mostly on insurance regulation, Reuters reports.

 

15:32

The Institute of Supply Management’s survey of US factories is also out, and it shows that the sector grew at a faster rate last month.

It also found that supply chain problems are constraining growth, as Markit’s PMI report a few minutes ago also showed.

The ISM reports that economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in November, with the overall economy achieving an 18th consecutive month of growth.

Its manufacturing PMI rose to 61.1%, from 60.8% in October, with:

  • New Orders, Production and Employment Growing
  • Supplier Deliveries Slowing at a Slower Rate; Backlog Growing
  • Manufacturing Inventories Growing; Customers’ Inventories Too Low
  • Prices Increasing; Exports and Imports Growing

ISM index shows U.S. manufacturing pickup in November https://t.co/Ipxmg4SbNA

— MarketWatch (@MarketWatch) December 1, 2021

The ISM’s Timothy R. Fiore says:

The U.S. manufacturing sector remains in a demand-driven, supply chain-constrained environment, with some indications of slight labor and supplier delivery improvement.

All segments of the manufacturing economy are impacted by record-long raw materials and capital equipment lead times, continued shortages of critical lowest-tier materials, high commodity prices and difficulties in transporting products

All of the six biggest manufacturing industries — Computer & Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Chemical Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Fabricated Metal Products; and Transportation Equipment, in that order — registered moderate to strong growth in November, says ISM.

It also found that almost all commodities became pricier last month….

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian ISM survey of US manufacturing

It looks like inventories are keeping up with new orders – a good sign that supply chain issues are easing. #ISM #manufacturing pic.twitter.com/N6JW0V6D0E

— Kathy Jones (@KathyJones) December 1, 2021

 

15:31 Jillian Ambrose

The owner of the Drax power station is expected to profit from Britain’s energy crisis until 2023 and will plough billions into doubling its production of wood pellets for burning by 2030 despite mounting opposition from environmentalists.

The FTSE 250 energy company’s shares hit seven-year highs on Wednesday after it told investors it aimed to invest £3bn by 2030. Part that investment would be directed towards doubling production and sales of biomass pellets, which Drax uses at its North Yorkshire power plant as an alternative to burning coal.

Its claims that electricity produced in this way is “carbon neutral” is disputed, with green groups saying burning biomass produces emissions that contribute to the climate crisis.

Drax will fund the expansion plans using its own cash as it prepares to profit from record high energy market prices in its long-term contracts over the next two years.

More here:

Related: Drax is expected to profit from UK energy crisis until 2023

 

15:14

ECONOMY WATCH: U.S. manufacturers still struggling mightily with labor & supply shortages. ISM manufacturing index rises to 61.1% November from 60.8%, but firms can’t meet the demand due to bottlenecks that have spawned the highest inflation in 31 years. https://t.co/4jGFCfwwcy pic.twitter.com/zrNvA0wRdz

— Jeffry Bartash (@jbartash) December 1, 2021

Supply chain bottlenecks hit US factories.

15:06

Less encouragingly, growth across America’s factories has slowed to its lowest level this year, according to data firm IHS Markit.

It’s US manufacturing PMI has dropped to an 11-month low for November, with firms reporting that:

  • Output growth was subdued amid softer rise in new sales and supply shortages
  • Job creation slowed due to reports of labor shortages
  • Input costs rose att he fastest pace on record

— IHS Markit PMI™ (@IHSMarkitPMI) December 1, 2021

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said supply chain problems are hurting US factories, who are also seeing a slowdown in new orders.

“Broad swathes of US manufacturing remain hamstrung by supply chain bottlenecks and difficulties filling staff vacancies. Although November brought some signs of supply chain problems easing slightly to the lowest recorded for six months, widespread shortages of inputs meant production growth was again severely constrained to the extent that the survey is so far consistent with manufacturing acting as a drag on the economy during the fourth quarter.

While demand remains firm, November brought signs of new orders growth cooling to the lowest so far this year, linked to shortages limiting scope to boost sales and signs of push-back from customers as prices continued to rise sharply during the month.

While average selling price inflation eased as firms sought to win customers, the rate of input cost inflation hit a new high, hinting at a squeeze on margins

 

14:58

Reassuring words about vaccine efficacy, and a decent US jobs report, have lifted the market today, explains Fiona Cincotta, senior financial markets analyst at City Index.

US stocks are rebounding on Wednesday after another steep selloff in the previous session. Omicron concerns and a surprisingly hawkish turn from the Fed sent stocks tumbling with the S&P 500 closing 1.9% lower.

Fed Powell told the Senate Banking Committee that the risk of inflation has increased and the word transitory should be retired. He also said that the pace of tightening could be accelerated, which means interest rate rises could also come sooner. The hawkish turn came from the Fed at a time when uncertainty surrounding the Covid outlook rose abruptly. Even so, the Fed don’t consider that the new variant will cause the same economic chaos that COVID initially caused.

Today, the mood in the market has improved amid encouraging comments from the Israeli health minister and BioNTech who see the Pfizer vaccine offering protection against Omicron.

US ADP payrolls were also encouraging, showing the continued recovery in the labour market. ADP private payrolls rose 534k, ahead of the 520k forecast but below October’s 571k.

Wall Street opens higher

14:55

Stocks in New York have opened higher, a day after worries about Omicron contributed to a sharp selloff.

The Dow Jones industrial average of 30 large US companies has jumped by 240 points, or 0.7%, at the open to 34,725 points.

The broader S&P 500 index has risen by 1.1%, or 50 points, to 4,617, while the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite index is nearly 1.2% higher.

Every sector is green, led by energy, materials, financials and consumer discretionary stocks.

Entertainment group Walt Disney (+2.2%) is leading the Dow risers, along with healthcare insurance firm UnitedHealth (+2%), American Express (+1.9%), construction equipment maker Caterpillar (+1.7%) and investment bank Goldman Sachs (+1.7%).

Stocks opened higher Wednesday, kicking off December with gains after ending November on a down note: https://t.co/kQih4ZRbZL pic.twitter.com/wIYheY0Vzq

— MarketWatch (@MarketWatch) December 1, 2021

 

14:24

Turkey’s central bank staged an intervention to prop up the ailing lira today, after a series of controversial interest rate cuts sent the currency reeling to record lows.

However the move hasn’t brought much relief, with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defending his “risky but correct” economic policy of low interest rates again.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended Wednesday his “risky but correct” economic policy of low interest rates as the central bank intervened in markets to prop up the falling lirahttps://t.co/cGFwrg7oFz

— AFP News Agency (@AFP) December 1, 2021

Reuters has the details:

The Turkish lira fluctuated sharply near a new record low on Wednesday as the central bank said it had intervened due to “unhealthy” market prices, while President Tayyip Erdogan again doubled down on his pre-election strategy of sharp rate cuts.

The volatile trade in low liquidity came after the emerging market currency logged its second-worst month ever in November, hammered by Erdogan’s endorsement of sharp monetary easing despite soaring inflation and widespread criticism.

The central bank – which Erdogan has overhauled and pressured this year – said in a statement it “directly” intervened in the market “via selling transactions due to unhealthy price formations in exchange rates”.

The lira , which had earlier weakened as far as 13.87 to the U.S. currency, rebounded as far as 12.42 – a rally of more than 8% on the day. However, by 1256 GMT, it was just 0.5% firmer at 13.35.

“We have no doubt that [central bank] intervention will fail if the intention is to stabilize the currency, though it could provide some more two-way risk in the near term. In fact, the move worries us even more,” said Brown Brothers Harriman.

“Spending precious FX reserves suggests that the government is still holding the line in its economic policies, making the adjustment even more painful,” it said.

Turkey expert Paul McNamara, of asset manager GAM, shows how the lira initially rallied against the dollar, before dropping back:

So far so good pic.twitter.com/u8W3vK3nDA

— Paul McNamara (@M_PaulMcNamara) December 1, 2021

Can you spot the moments a) where the CBRT started selling dollars b) where the Erdogan headlines hit the wires? pic.twitter.com/2qQ8EKIH9F

— Paul McNamara (@M_PaulMcNamara) December 1, 2021

 

14:02

Related: Zog Energy becomes 25th UK supplier to go bust in three months

Strike at Clarks’ Somerset site ends after deal is reached

13:48

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian A shop sign for Clarks in central London. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA

Back in the UK, footwear company Clarks has reached an agreement with about 100 workers to end a two-month strike at its distribution centre in Somerset.

The deal with the Community union, which follows mediation with Acas, is understood to protect hourly pay for established workers and increase pay for new staff at the site.

Staff at the warehouse have been on strike since 4 October, saying the shoemaker had been seeking to cut their wages by almost 15% to £9.50 an hour by using controversial fire and rehire tactics.

The changes were implemented after Clarks was taken over by a Hong Kong-based private equity firm, LionRock Capital, and the billionaire former Chinese Olympian Li Ning in March.

The deal pumped £100m in new cash into the near 200-year-old British footwear company, which is still co-owned by the descendants of its founders – Cyrus and James Clark.

In a joint statement, Community and Clarks said:

“We are pleased that a resolution has been reached that works in everybody’s interests, protects Community members’ livelihoods, and recognises their loyalty to Clarks.

“Following an indicative ballot of Community members it is confirmed that normal working has now resumed.”

Related: Strike at Clarks’ Somerset site ends after deal is reached

 

13:43

🇺🇸Broad-based @ADP private payroll gain +534k in November after +570k October

🟢Goods: +110k

Construction +52k

Manufacturing +50k

Mining +7k

🟢Services: +424k

Leisure/Hospitality +136k

Prof Biz +110k

Trade/Transport +78k

Education/Health +55k

▶️Good news ahead of #jobsreport pic.twitter.com/V068Mdcf6s

— Gregory Daco (@GregDaco) December 1, 2021

Employers added 534,000 jobs to private payrolls in November, according to #ADP. Down slightly from the 570,000 added in October but still high, indicating jobs growth remains strong though the ongoing Delta wave is keeping a lid on further acceleration.

— Daniel Zhao (@DanielBZhao) December 1, 2021


Video: Fear of inflation starting to kick in among European consumers, says Intrum report (CNBC)

 

13:42

The 536,000 increase in US private payrolls last month supports Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s comment yesterday that the Fed might wrap up its QE scheme earlier than planned, says Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics.

But, he predicts jobs growth will ease back soon, as rising Delta infection rates in the Northeast and Midwest begin to weigh on demand a little.

US company payrolls rise 534,000 in November

13:27

American companies added over half a million more employees to their payrolls last month, as the labor market continued to recover.

Payroll operator ADP reports that private payrolls increased by 534,000 for November, ahead of estimates, but down on the 570,000 added in October.

Services firms added 424,000 jobs, including 136,000 at leisure and hospitality companies, 110,000 at professional/business services firms and 78,000 across trade, transportation and utilities.

Goods-producing sectors hired 110,000 staff, including 52,000 in construction and 50,000 in manufacturing.

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian ADP private payroll report for November 2021 Photograph: ADP

It suggests the US jobs market was solid last month, in the face of rising inflation, supply problems, and fears that the pandemic could slow growth into the winter months if infections rise.

Looks like the US job market is healing.

ADP Nov US Private Sector Jobs +534,000

ADP Report: Job Gains Have Topped 15 Million Since Recovery Began

ADP Report: Still 5 Million Jobs Short of Pre-Pandemic Levels

— alex (@flyalex666) December 1, 2021

Private businesses in the United States hired 534 thousand workers in November of 2021 compared to 571 thousand in October of 2021. https://t.co/LOS8b95mlz pic.twitter.com/7OXBLOrNLa

— Trading Economics (@tEconomics) December 1, 2021

The official US government measure of employment, the Non-Farm Payroll report, is due on Friday, and expected to show around 550,000 jobs were created last month.

 

13:03

In the US, applications for a new mortgage fell sharply last week, as a jump in borrowing costs deterred people from refinancing.

Mortgage applications fell 7.2% week-on-week, driven by a 15% tumble in refinancing requests following a pick-up in mortgage rates.

Joel Kan, Mortgage Bankers Association’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, says:

“Mortgage rates rose for the third week in a row, reducing the refinance incentive for many borrowers. Over the past three weeks, rates are up 15 basis points and refinance activity has declined over 18%.”

Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest Weekly Survey – https://t.co/zH88TPeVnk#breakingnews #news #newsdesk #newsline pic.twitter.com/s7lPGJHC9f

— NewsDesk (@readnewsdesk) December 1, 2021

Applications for a mortgage to buy a new property rose around 5%, though:

Housing activity picks up. Mortgage loan applications for purchase surged 5.1% for the week ending November 26, the fourth consecutive weekly increase. As our figure demonstrates, this is a positive sign for new home sales, a measure of signed contracts, over the month. pic.twitter.com/2mhHmtbigf

— RenMac: Renaissance Macro Research (@RenMacLLC) December 1, 2021

Full story: UK house prices return to double-digit growth

12:40

House prices in the UK continued their upwards climb in November, reaching double-digit growth again as demand remained strong after the end of the stamp duty holiday and the furlough job support scheme.

The average UK house price rose by 0.9% last month, according to data from the building society Nationwide, after an increase of 0.7% in October, taking the average UK property value to £252,687. Average house prices are 10% higher than a year earlier.

House prices have risen to almost 15% above levels seen in March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic first struck the UK, Nationwide said.

The continuing rising prices appear to be in part down to a reduction in the supply of houses available to buyers.

The October property market was the quietest for almost a decade, according to data from HM Revenue and Customs, as house sales were 28% lower in October than a year earlier after a record surge in activity earlier in 2021.

More here:

Related: UK house prices return to double-digit growth

 

12:38 Joanna Partridge

Bosses of pubs, bars and restaurants across the UK are warning they are already receiving cancellations of bookings for Christmas parties amid fears about the Omicron variant and following mixed guidance over socialising during the festive season.

Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of the trade body UK Hospitality, said its members were starting to see bookings cancelled, which would have a serious financial impact on their businesses.

She said there was no doubt that fears about the Omicron variant would “have a dampening effect just as we were about to head into our busiest trading period, and any drop in revenue pushes businesses back to loss-making as government support like grants and furlough has fallen away”.

Hugh Osmond, the founder of Punch Taverns, said:

“We are seeing that some of the people in large organisations who organise bigger events are taking the cautious view because I guess they feel some overriding responsibility. We are not seeing that in young people.”

“Social interaction is, after food and water, the most important thing for a human being’s mental health,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Related: UK hospitality firms hit by Christmas party cancellations over Omicron fears

 

11:56

The OECD has predicted that the UK will recover to its pre-crisis levels at the beginning of 2022, as the progress in rolling out vaccines supports the recovery.

Output is projected to rise by 6.9% in 2021, faster than the wider G20 (+5.9%), the US (+5.6%) and the eurozone (5.2%)

UK growth is then seen moderating to 4.7% in 2022 and 2.1% in 2023, with Brexit frictions weighing on trade.

The OECD says:

Consumption is the main driver of growth during the projection period. Business investment will improve but continues to be held back by uncertainty.

Increased border costs following the exit from the EU Single Market are weighing on imports and exports. Unemployment will continue to decline.

Inflation will keep increasing due to higher energy and commodity prices and continuing supply shortages. It is expected to peak at 4.9% in the first half of 2022 and then fall back towards the 2% target by the end of 2023.

The U.K. is on track for the fastest growth in the G-7 this year and next but will suffer a setback if supply and labor shortages worsen, the OECD says https://t.co/HKiC2WtKJX pic.twitter.com/EZgIuXgTQA

— Bloomberg (@business) December 1, 2021

The OECD also flags that the government should ‘closely monitor’ the impact of tax increases on the recovery:

Monetary policy should tighten gradually to bring inflation back to target over the medium term, as price pressures show signs of becoming persistent. Fiscal policy should continue to support the economy and become more targeted to aid economic restructuring.

Boosting training and career counselling programmes can facilitate economic reallocation and ease job transitions. Government programmes should focus on providing certainty on long-term issues such as the transition to net zero in order to support investment.

The effects from phasing out fiscal support measures on businesses and households should be closely monitored, in the context of planned tax increases, to avoid derailing the recovery.

UK energy supplier Zog collapses

11:38

Small British energy supplier Zog Energy has collapsed, becoming the latest casualty of soaring wholesale energy costs.

Regulator Ofgem says that Zog, which has 11,700 domestic customers, has ceased to trade. Customers will now be moved to a new supplier.

A message on Zog’s website says:

Ofgem’s advice is not to switch, but to wait until they appoint a new supplier for you. This will help make sure that the process of handing customers over to a new supplier, and honouring domestic customers’ credit balances, is as hassle free as possible for customers.

Ipswich-based Zog is the 25th energy company to collapse since the start of September, as the surge in wholesale gas and electricity prices has disrupted the sector.

Bulb, the UK’s seventh biggest energy firm with 1.7m customers, collapsed last week, followed days later by Orbit Energy and Entice Energy, affecting over 70,000 customers.

Another one gone, as gas spot wholesale prices trend upwards again: Zog Energy, with 12k customers has ceased trading, and Ofgem will pass them on to another provider.

— Douglas Fraser✒️🎥🎙 (@BBCDouglasF) December 1, 2021

 

11:18

The OECD have tweeted the key points from their latest Economic Outlook report:

@OECD Chief Economist @LauBooneEco presents the latest OECD Economic Outlook: the global economic recovery continues but faces a difficult balancing act.

Read here ➡ https://t.co/WmMHsUbs9p#EconomicOutlook

1/9 pic.twitter.com/yWtJuTc99R

— OECD Economics (@OECDeconomy) December 1, 2021

After a peak at the end of the year, the global rebound is expected to slow, returning global #growth to its pre-pandemic rates.

The virus is adding uncertainty to the health situation and risks prolonging disruptions.

2/9 pic.twitter.com/n7sKnnOZOC

— OECD Economics (@OECDeconomy) December 1, 2021

The #recovery is unbalanced notably between advanced and emerging market economies – we’re concerned they’re lagging behind.

3/9 pic.twitter.com/mc2jy7jlb4

— OECD Economics (@OECDeconomy) December 1, 2021

#Energy market imbalances have emerged with gas prices soaring in Europe.

Given low gas storage levels across Europe, this risks further increasing prices & we’re concerned about outages over the coming winter.

4/9 pic.twitter.com/b6VmwwwX5d

— OECD Economics (@OECDeconomy) December 1, 2021

Supply shortages amid a strong pick-up in demand are putting pressure on production. We’re concerned this will continue to weigh on prices and #growth.

5/9 pic.twitter.com/dCqS3JDl9I

— OECD Economics (@OECDeconomy) December 1, 2021

Supply bottlenecks have been lasting longer than expected, leading to revise #inflation upward and longer. This could reduce people’s purchasing power.

As the situation normalises, bottlenecks will diminish, and we expect inflationary pressures to ease.

6/9 pic.twitter.com/k2OZsM4bkX

— OECD Economics (@OECDeconomy) December 1, 2021

Labour shortages have arisen despite an incomplete #jobs recovery, reflecting labour market disruptions.

Governments will need to increase efforts to help people cope with the sanitary situation consequences, reskill and find new jobs.

7/9 pic.twitter.com/0EdE4pEpM6

— OECD Economics (@OECDeconomy) December 1, 2021

Many low-income and even some high-income countries continue to lag behind in #vaccination.

The cost of deploying vaccination is dwarfed by the costs to livelihood and economies. Countries’ cooperation credibility is at stake, the current situation should be a wake-up call!

8/9 pic.twitter.com/pDM1XoPtq4

— OECD Economics (@OECDeconomy) December 1, 2021

We’re less concerned by the increase in #debt due to the pandemic (it was necessary) than previous years of mismanagement.

Responsible governments need to better direct public money to education, digitalisation, and the green transition.

9/9 pic.twitter.com/82dAITHSI5

— OECD Economics (@OECDeconomy) December 1, 2021

OECD warns Omicron may intensify supply shortages and inflation

10:49

The OECD is also concerned that the Omicron variant may intensify supply shortages and price pressures building in the global economy.

Laurence Boone, chief economist of the OECD, has told the Financial Times that the latest Covid-19 variant is:

“adding to the already high level of uncertainty and that could be a threat to the recovery, delaying a return to normality or something even worse”.

Supply shortages risk to be exacerbated by the Omicron variant, slowing growth and prolonging elevated inflation according to the last OECD forecast. pic.twitter.com/KliHsz22wY

— Guy Vincent (@xguyvincent) December 1, 2021

OECD: inflation surge could undermine global recovery

10:42

The OECD has warned that rising inflationary pressures could threaten the global recovery.

In its latest economic outlook, the Paris-based group warned that the rebound from last year’s pandemic slump is losing some momentum as the surge in demand for goods has led to bottlenecks in production chains. This could worsen, if central banks are forced to act to fight inflation.

Inflation pressures have emerged in all economies, it says, with rising food and energy prices hitting low-income households in particular.

It points out that:

  • disruptions in energy, food and commodity markets have pushed up prices
  • high energy prices and fuel shortages are limiting manufacturing of key materials and intermediate goods
  • bottlenecks in production chains are spreading to more generalised shortages of goods.

Inflation is already at a 13-year high in the UK, and at 30-year highs in the US and Germany.

The OECD predicts price pressures will peak earlier next year, but warns that:

The main risk, however, is that inflation continues to surprise on the upside, forcing the major central banks to tighten monetary policy earlier and to a greater extent than projected.

Such an outcome could stem from a number of possible factors, including prolonged supply disruptions, an upward shift in inflation expectations, labour market pressures, or if prices for a wider range of goods and services start to rise substantially.

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian OECD inflation forecasts Photograph: OECD

The report also warns that “new, more transmissible COVID-19 variants of concern” could also hit the recovery. There’s also a risk of a slowdown in China, hitting other economies, if the problems in its property sector, and in power supplies, intensify.

The OECD also flags that the global recovery has lost momentum and is becoming increasingly imbalanced.

Parts of the global economy are rebounding quickly but others are at risk of being left behind, particularly lower-income countries where vaccination rates are low, and firms and employees in contact-intensive sectors where demand has yet to recover fully.

The recovery is expected to remain uneven, it adds:

Most advanced economies are projected to return to their pre-pandemic output path by 2023, but with greater debt and still-subdued underlying growth potential. Inflation is also projected to be higher than it was prior to the pandemic in many countries, although generally remaining in line with central bank objectives.

The OECD predicts global growth is set to hit 5.6% this year, before dipping to 4.5% in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023.

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian OECD’s latest growth forecasts

Soaring cost pressures hit UK manufacturers

09:59

UK factories faced the sharpest rise in price pressures in at least 30 years last month, as supply chain problems and the energy crisis drove up costs.

The latest survey of UK purchasing managers found that factory costs rose to the highest level since records began in 1992.

Firms reported ongoing shortages of components, commodities and labour, forcing them to run down stocks to satisfy customer orders.

Although orders rose, firms also reported a drop in new export orders, for the third month in a row.

There were reports of weaker demand from China, disruption to trade with the EU (in part due to ongoing Brexit complications) and the cancellation of some orders due to extended lead times, says Markit.

Overall, the IHS Markit CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI rose in November to 58.1 from 57.8 in October, showing slightly faster growth.

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian UK manufacturing PMI

Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, fears the UK economy could over inflate unless supply chain problems ease:

“Sluggish global supply chains remained uppermost in the minds of manufacturers this month. Disruption led to a new three-decade high in terms of mounting prices and supplier delivery times increased for the 29th consecutive month holding back further output.

“New orders flows exacerbated the problem in manufacturing capacity with the fastest intake for three months, and it was the domestic market that made up the majority of the new work. Export orders dropped back again as long lead times, port and shipping difficulties caused some clients to lose patience and opt to source elsewhere.

“This didn’t detract from the optimism in the sector as 63% of manufacturers that conditions would continue to improve – if only in fits and starts.

With more success in finding skilled labour they are preparing for supply chain issues to even out and for price rises to subside. 74% of supply chain managers paid more for their goods in November, as prices charged also accelerated at a rapid pace raising fears that the UK economy could over inflate if supply chain disruption doesn’t subside in the first quarter of 2022.”

 

09:42

Eurozone factories continued to be hindered by severe supply-related constraints last month.

Growth slowed at intermediate and investment goods makers in November, although consumer goods producers grew faster, Data firm IHS Markit’s survey of purchasing managers shows.

Firms continued to suffer from material shortages, poor transport availability and staffing issues at vendors, the survey shows. Costs kept rising too, leading factories to hike prices at the fastest rate since the survey began in 2002.

After slowing for four months, activity in the sector accelerated slightly, with the IHS Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI increasing from 58.3 in October to 58.4 in November [showing faster growth].

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian Eurozone manufacturing PMI

Italy posted the fastest growth, while France lagged (anything over 50 shows growth).

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian Eurozone manufacturing PMI

Oil price rallies

09:39

The oil price is rallying this morning too, after tumbling yesterday on fears that omicron would hurt the global recovery.

Brent crude has surged by 4% this morning, back to around $72 per barrel.

On Tuesday, crude oil prices hit their lowest level in three months amid concerns about the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines against the latest variant, and after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said the central bank might end asset purchases sooner than planned.

The Opec+ cartel meets tomorrow to decide its monthly production targets from January. It has been adding an extra 400,000 barrels per day to output each month recently, but some analysts think it could freeze output, or even cut it slightly, following the recent drop in prices.

Brent crude oil fell 17.7% in one month while up 34% YTD.

OPEC+ may surprise this week.@CNBC_Awaaz

— Neeraj Bajpai (@NeerajCNBC) December 1, 2021

 

09:27

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian A Blue Prism Group plc logo of a software company Photograph: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

Takeover news: UK software group Blue Prism has agreed to be taken over by US fintech company SS&C Technologies in a £1.24bn deal.

Warrington-based Blue Prism, which sells Robotic process automation software, has withdrawn its backing for a bid from private equity firm Vista, in the latest takeover battle for a UK company.

SS&C’s all-cash offer of 1,275 pence per Blue Prism share is higher than its earlier possible bid of 1,200 pence, and is above private equity firm Vista’s final offer of 1,250 pence which Blue Prism accepted last week.

Jason Kingdon, chairman and CEO of Blue Prism, said:

“Blue Prism was an early pioneer in building the RPA sector and today is a market leader, working with over 2,000 organisations worldwide.

While as a standalone enterprise we have built an impressive business, the opportunity presented to combine Blue Prism with SS&C will bring us access to significant capital resources and investment in R&D alongside access to SS&C’s extensive 18,000 customers.

Robotic process automation software lets companies use technology to automate routine back-office tasks, using software ‘robots’.

 

09:15

German consumer spending was subdued in October, in another sign that Europe’s largest economy is stumbling towards the end of 2021.

Geman retail sales fell by 0.3% in October, and were 2.9% lower than a year earlier, data body Destatis reports.

That’s weaker than expected, suggesting that the recent jump in inflation and ongoing supply bottlenecks are hitting demand.

Retail #turnover in October 2021 down 0.3% on the previous month https://t.co/IaiNuka4C5 pic.twitter.com/87JPvu0oxm

— Destatis news (@destatis_news) December 1, 2021

#German retail sales remain weak in October. Another indication of a weaker Q4. -0.3 p.m./-2.9% p.a. #macrobond #Economy #GDP pic.twitter.com/8XySmdU6Ez

— Andreas Auer (@AndiAuer_AAA) December 1, 2021

German Oct Retail Sales Real -2.9% On Year

German Oct Retail Sales Real Adj -0.3% On Month

Worse than forecast and perhaps telling something… the post-pandemic recovery is not a deal done.

— alex (@flyalex666) December 1, 2021

 

09:07

UK house prices were lifted by a shortage of homes on the market, and the rush to fix mortgages before interest rates rise.

So says Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, who predicts December could be ‘unusually intense’:

“This market is still barreling along, even at a time of year that traditionally sees a little energy taken out of it.

“Fewer people choose to move home at Christmas and that normally means you see buyers drop the pace, with many holding off their search until after the New Year.

“That’s happening to a lesser degree this year but more so for buyers than sellers. This is worsening the supply crunch temporarily and that’s undoubtedly why we’re back in double digits.

“One obvious reason for this is the threat of inflation. With interest rate rises stealing plenty of headlines, everybody has become an armchair economist. It’s common knowledge that rates are historically low and are going to climb soon. The rush to beat rate rises is fuelling an unusually busy market.

FTSE 100 jumps as Omicron worries ease

08:38

Stocks have opened sharply higher in London, as the markets try to shake off yesterday’s worries over the Omicron variant.

The FTSE 100 index has jumped by 74 points, or 1%, to 7133 points, led by travel companies, hospitality firms, miners and oil companies.

Hotel operator Whitbread (+3.7%), airline group IAG (+3.5%), and energy group BP (+3%) are leading the risers, with mining giants Anglo American (+2.6%) and Rio Tinto (+2.6%) also in demand.

This means the blue-chip index has recovered yesterday’s losses, but is still around 2.5% below last weeks levels, before Friday’s tumble.

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian The FTSE 100 over the last 10 days Photograph: Refinitiv

Investors will be cheered by the head of BioNTech, who predicted yesterday that its vaccine (produced by Pfizer) is likely to offer strong protection against any severe disease from the new Omicron Covid variant.

BioNTech’s founder Ugur Sahin said:

“To my mind there’s no reason to be particularly worried.

“The only thing that worries me at the moment is the fact that there are people that have not been vaccinated at all.”

The Pfizer vaccine is likely to offer strong protection against any severe disease from the new Omicron COVID variant, according to the head of BioNTech who urged people not to ‘freak out’ https://t.co/rgej8Kolzf

— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 1, 2021

Yesterday, stocks were rattled after the CEO of drugsmaker Moderna suggested Covid-19 vaccines would struggle to cope with Omicron.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor, says:

UK markets continue to blow hot and cold in the face of Omicron uncertainty, in terms of both the medical and economic impact. Taking the lead from a more positive overnight session in Asia, shares were marked higher in opening exchanges in something of a relief rally.

Even though there is insufficient information on the latest variant fully to assess the impact, there is an increasing feeling that any fallout would be less severe than that seen in the initial pandemic. In any event, and as seen in previous waves, companies are better prepared to deal with any future restrictions having experienced them before. Less positively, of course, there are already immediate impacts such as the restriction on overseas travel, which has stopped the tentative recovery of sectors such as the airlines in their tracks.

The markets are also pondering whether future variants and mutations will be dealt with in a similar fashion by governments and policymakers, Hunter adds:

If so, a full economic recovery will become more difficult as these interruptions interfere with the progress which companies had been making. Even so, some consider the initial market reaction to the news to have been overdone which has led to some bargain hunting as is the case in the UK today, with some rotation out of defensive shares.

 

08:21

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, also cautions that there is uncertainty in the market, after a busy year driven by people seeking more space in the pandemic:

“Britain’s year on the move continues, with more properties sold already this year than were sold in the whole of 2020.

“Prices are still climbing due to a shortage of stock available to prospective buyers, with many of those working from home still desperately hunting for a larger property and more space.

“There is still some uncertainty in the market, with the new Omicron variant warning people that it’s not business as usual.

“As long as the labour market remains buoyant and mortgage approvals continue at their current levels, it is likely that the demand for property will remain steady as we move into 2022.”

Related: UK mortgage approvals at lowest level since mid-2020

 

08:18

UK house prices reached another new record on Nationwide’s index in November, rising to £252,687 from £250,311 in October.

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian UK house price index Photograph: Nationwide

[Land Registry figures, though, show the average UK house price hit a record high of £270,000 in September 2021]

 

08:09

Latest: @NationwidePress says November house prices up 0.9% vs October and 10% higher year on year.

The housing market train continues to speed along undeterred by the absence of a stamp duty holiday and despite the threat of interest rate rises https://t.co/kzOTvHz579

— Russell Quirk 🏠 (@russellquirk) December 1, 2021

 

08:08

Martin Beck, senior economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, predicts house price growth will slow next year — which might help first time buyers onto the housing ladder.

Stamp duty back at its normal level is not the only headwind facing the housing market: household income growth faces pressures from higher inflation and tax rises, while uncertainty stemming from the new Omicron variant could hold back potential buyers until the situation is clearer.

Prices are unlikely to fall, though, Beck says, due to the demand for houses from people seeking more outdoor space and room to work from home.

The excess savings build up by some households, and the strong jobs market, could also support prices.

“Moreover, despite the Bank of England’s MPC adopting a more hawkish tone on the prospect of interest rate rises, mortgage rates fell to a record low in October. And uncertainty stemming from the new Omicron variant reinforces the EY ITEM Club’s expectation that the MPC will hold off raising rates until next year.

So, while house price growth is likely to slow during 2022, an outright fall seems unlikely.”

Introduction: UK house price climb gathers more speed in November

08:01

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

UK house price growth accelerated again last month, as demand holds up despite the end of the furlough job protection scheme and the stamp duty tax break this autumn.

The average UK house price rose by 0.9% in November, data released by Nationwide shows, following a 0.7% increase in October. This pushed the average house price 10% higher than a year ago.

House prices are now almost 15% above their level in March 2020 when the pandemic struck the UK, Nationwide says, as the move to homeworking drove people to seek larger homes in more rural areas.

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian Nationwide house price survey

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, says annual house price growth remained strong last month, despite a sharp drop in transactions in October after stamp duty rates returned to normal.

“There have been some signs of cooling in housing market activity in recent months. For example, the number of housing transactions were down almost 30% year-on-year in October. But this was almost inevitable, given the expiry of the Stamp Duty holiday at the end of September, which gave buyers a strong incentive to bring forward their purchase to avoid additional tax.

“Indeed, activity has been extremely buoyant in 2021. The number of housing transactions so far this year has already exceeded the number recorded in 2020 with two months still to go and is actually tracking close to the number seen at the same stage in 2007, before the global financial crisis struck.

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian UK housing transactions

The cut in stamp duty on house purchases in England and Northern Ireland finished at the end of September, having wrapped up earlier in Wales and Scotland.

UK mortgage approvals dropped to their lowest level since mid-2020 in October, but Gardner argues that underlying activity appears to be holding up well, with approvals running above the 2019 monthly average.

Early indications also suggest that labour market conditions remain robust, despite the furlough scheme finishing at the end of September, he adds:

If this is maintained, housing market conditions may remain fairly buoyant in the coming months, especially since the market has momentum and there is scope for ongoing shifts in housing preferences, as a result of the pandemic, to continue to support activity.

FTSE 100 posts biggest rise in four months as travel shares rally – business live
© Provided by The Guardian UK mortgage approvals chart

More to follow…

Also coming up today

Healthchecks on factories in the UK, eurozone and the US will show how manufacturers fared last month, in the face of ongoing supply chain problems and the rise in Covid-19 cases in some countries.

Already today, manufacturing surveys from across Asia have shown activity stabilized last month amid easing lockdown and border restrictions.

The financial markets remain volatile, with shares expected to rise this morning after being hit by worries over the Omicron variant yesterday.

European Opening Calls:#FTSE 7139 +1.12%#DAX 15288 +1.25%#CAC 6811 +1.34%#AEX 786 +1.08%#MIB 26156 +1.32%#IBEX 8400 +1.14%#OMX 2263 +0.95%#SMI 12226 +0.54%#STOXX 4118 +1.35%#IGOpeningCall

— IGSquawk (@IGSquawk) December 1, 2021

Stocks were also hit yesterday by Jerome Powell, after the Fed chair suggested America’s central bank could wind down its bond-buying stimulus package faster than anticipated, to combat inflation.

Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote, explains:

Inflation is ‘not transitory’ said the Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell at his testimony before the Senate yesterday, and the stock markets took the ‘no transitory’ phrase as a slap in the face. Most equities dived yesterday, as many didn’t expect to hear a hawkish Powell at a time the new omicron wave threatens the economic recovery.

We now know that Jerome Powell thinks ‘it’s appropriate to discuss whether it will be appropriate to wrap up the QE purchases a few months earlier’, at the next FOMC meeting which is a couple of weeks from now, and an earlier end of the QE program would also mean an earlier hike of interest rates, even though Powell wants investors to dissociate the link between the timing of the QE taper and the first rate hike.

The agenda

  • 9am GMT: Eurozone manufacturing PMI report for November
  • 9.30am GMT: UK manufacturing PMI report for November
  • 10am GMT: OECD to release its latest Economic Outlook
  • 1.15pm GMT: ADP survey of US private sector payroll changes in November
  • 3pm GMT: Fed chair Jerome Powell testifies to the House Financial Services Committee

 

07:59

Annual house price growth increased slightly in November to 10.0%, says @AskNationwide. House prices are now almost 15% above the level prevailing in March last year when the pandemic struck the UK.

— simon read (@simonnread) December 1, 2021

“Prices still rising quickly, but higher mortgage rates will cool the market soon.” @samueltombs on U.K. Nationwide House Prices, November #PantheonMacro

— Pantheon Macro (@PantheonMacro) December 1, 2021

U.K. house prices rose more than expected in November as activity held up despite the end of a tax relief for homebuyer https://t.co/CdlP3oytpz

— Bloomberg UK (@BloombergUK) December 1, 2021

Nationwide: Covid, inflation and interest rates mean outlook remains uncertain

07:55

Despite the jump in house prices in November, Nationwide cautions that the outlook for the sector remains uncertain.

There are several factors suggesting the pace of activity may slow — including the latest Covid-19 variant, the cost of living squeeze, and the possibility that the Bank of England raises interest rates in the coming months.

Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner explains:

It is unclear what impact the new ‘Omicron’ variant will have on the wider economy. While consumer confidence stabilised in November, sentiment remains well below the levels seen during the summer, partly as a result of a sharp increase in the cost of living. Moreover, inflation is set to rise further, probably towards 5% in the coming quarters.

A rise in interest rates could also dampen demand:

Even if economic conditions continue to improve, rising interest rates may exert a cooling influence on the market. Indeed, house price growth has been outpacing income growth by a significant margin and, as a result, housing affordability is already less favourable than was the case before the pandemic struck.

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