Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates

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Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© Provided by The Telegraph Petrol prices fuel RAC shortages

  • Sunak’s tax raids push Britain further behind Germany and US
  • Consumer confidence slumps as soaring prices hit households
  • FTSE 100 rises 0.3pc despite fall in retail sales
  • Kallum Pickering: Britain’s economy will survive this tough winter
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Petrol prices are set to hit an all-time high as soon as tomorrow as the price per litre hit 142.16p.

The previous record was 142.48p, set in April 2012, according to the RAC. 

High oil prices, the weak pound and increased use of bioethanol have all contributed to the surging costs at pumps. Panic buying means sales in September were back above pre-Covid levels for the first time, adding to pressure.

The Petrol Retailers Association previously warned prices could hit a new record high by the end of the month.

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11:58 AM

Expert reaction: Employment tax rise is a step too far

Commenting on NIESR’s analysis, Kitty Ussher, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said:

When the Government rushed legislation through Parliament to raise employers’ national insurance, it was unable to tell us the scale of its effect on the UK economy, beyond that the macroeconomic impact would be ‘significant’.

What we find is that the proposed tax rise acts as a dampener on investment that in the longer-run reduces GDP. It disincentivises skills investment. It will reduce UK international competitiveness by reducing the attractiveness of the UK as a location.

The firms that Covid hit the hardest will suffer the most, particularly distribution, transport, hotels and restaurants. The burden will fall on a combination of employees, firms, suppliers and consumers and also adds, in NIESR’s view, ‘unnecessary complexity’ to the tax system.

We are now looking for a recognition in Wednesday’s Budget that this flat tax on employment is a step too far. In the short term it has already had real and negative effects on the business climate; in the longer run it goes against the Government’s stated policy to encourage UK firms to invest and grow.

11:53 AM

National Insurance rise ‘will hurt Covid-hit sectors the most’

The government’s planned hike to National Insurance will hit hardest the labour-intensive sectors that have suffered the most from Covid, according to new analysis.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said the levy, which aims to fund health and social care, increases the tax burden on workers relative to the retired, with the latter group also set to benefit most from increased health and social care spending.

Firms expected to suffer the most would be larger employers in industries where labour costs are a high fraction of total costs.

This includes distribution, transport, hotels, and restaurants, where there is still weak demand and therefore minimal ability to pass higher costs into prices, and which were the hardest hit by Covid.

NIESR added the move also added “needless complexity” to the tax system and disincentivised skill acquisition.

As taxes on self-employment incomes will rise by 1.25pc, instead of 2.5pc in total on employment incomes, the incentive to be self-employed increases, which increases tax administration costs and encouraging reduced firm size and economic efficiency, it added.

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© NIESR Sector share NI hike NIESR – NIESR

11:35 AM

US futures dip as Snap warning weighs on tech stocks

Wall Street is poised to open lower this afternoon, with tech stocks weighing after a digital advertising warning from Snap.

The parent company of Snapchat tumbled 22pc in pre-market trading after it warned changes to the way Apple tracks data had hit advertising spend. The jitters spread to rivals Facebook, Google and Twitter, which were all trading lower.

Intel also plunged more than 10pc after missing third-quarter sales expectations, while its chief executive pointed to shortages of other chips holding back sales of the company’s flagship processors.

The gloomy sentiment dragged futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq down 0.2pc. The benchmark S&P 500 was largely unchanged, while the Dow Jones ticked up 0.2pc.

11:26 AM

Ships stuck for 39 days as LA port crisis deepens 

America’s shipping crisis is getting worse, not better, with a new record in the number of vessels moored off the key Port of Los Angeles, reports Alan Tovey.

According to data from VesselsValue, more than 100 ships are now at anchor off the California coast, awaiting berths at the ports.

More than 80 of the vessels are container ships, between them capable of carrying almost 600,000 standard 20ft shipping containers.

Pity the poor crew on the Zhong Gu Jiang Su, which has been waiting 39 days to go alongside.

The hold-ups come despite the Biden administration announcing last week that the port will operate 24 hours a day to clear the backlog, which is threatening supply chains in the run-up to Christmas.

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© VesselsValue/Google Maps LA port crisis ships delay backlog – VesselsValue/Google Maps

11:02 AM

S4 Capital drops after Snap warning

Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has slumped as much as 4.8pc after a gloomy trading update from Snap sparked jitters about online advertising.

Snap, the parent company of social media app Snapchat, missed expectations for the third quarter. It said changes to the way Apple tracks advertising – combined with supply chain troubles – was hitting ad spend.

The warning, which wiped around $100bn off Snap’s market value, had a knock-on effect on social media rivals as well as advertising firms.

S4, which specialises in digital advertising, saw its shares fall further from their record high in September.

10:43 AM

Petrol prices near record high

High oil prices, the weak pound and increased use of the more costly bioethanol have all contributed to the surging costs at pumps.

Both petrol and diesel are now closing in on record prices set in 2012.

10:25 AM

Renault 4 marks 60th birthday with ‘hotel suite’ concept car

Alongside its downbeat forecasts this morning, Renault has also had a bit of fun.

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Renault 4, the French company has reinvented the vehicel with a makeover by designer Mathieu Lehanneur.

The result is “SUITE N°4” a concept car “inspired by a nomad hotel suite”. 

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© Renault Renault 4 concept car Suite No.4 – Renault

10:17 AM

Turkish lira hits new record low after interest rate cut

The Turkish lira has slumped to a new record low a day after the country’s central bank opted to slash interest rates despite soaring inflation.

The currency fell 1pc to a fresh low of 9.6581 to the dollar. On Thursday the central bank cut rates by two percentage points in what was widely seen as confirmation of its lack of independence from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish president has been pushing for interest rate cuts to fuel economic growth, piling pressure on the lira. 

Sentiment over Turkey was further hit by an international watchdog downgrading the country to a grey list for failing to head off money laundering and terrorist financing.

10:09 AM

Volkswagen output slumps to 60-year low

There are further warning signs in the car industry today with reports in Europe that VW Group’s giant car plant at the company’s Wolfsburg base built just 300,000 cars so far this year, writes Alan Tovey.

That is the lowest output since 1958, and far off the 780,000 vehicles per year in the past decade. Three years ago VW said it wanted to hit 1m vehicles per annum at Wolfsburg.

Last week Reuters reported claims that VW was considering cutting 30,000 production jobs as it considered how to reshape to electric vehicles, which are far simpler to build than cars with conventional engines.

It comes after Renault said it will make half a million fewer cars than expected this year due to semiconductor shortages.

09:50 AM

Sainsbury’s ends talks to sell banking unit

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© GRANT ROONEY PREMIUM / Alamy Stock Photo Sainsbury’s bank sale –  GRANT ROONEY PREMIUM / Alamy Stock Photo

Sainsbury’s today said it’s called off talks to sell its banking operations after concluded the offers it received did not offer value to shareholders.

Britain’s second biggest supermarket starting exploring a sale of the unit a year ago as ultra-low interest rates and Covid-related disruption increased pressures on the business.

It received a number of offers in November 2020, with Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest reportedly among possible suitors.

Sainsbury’s said: “Whilst the board of Sainsbury’s believe that it was in the best interests of shareholders to explore these expressions of interest, it has concluded that these do not offer better value for shareholders than will be realised through retaining Sainsbury’s Bank.”

09:37 AM

Wise slumps after founder sells £82m stake

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© Simon Dawson/Bloomberg Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder and chairman of Wise  –  Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Shares in Wise have tumbled as much as 5.4pc after co-founder Taavet Hinrikus sold a stake worth £81.5m.

An investment firm for the Wise chairman sold 10m shares in the digital payments provider at 815p each, according to terms seen by Bloomberg. The price represents a 4.1pc discount to yesterday’s closing price.

Mr Hinrikus is also pledging as many as 39.6m shares in Wise – worth around £320m – to secure a loan from Goldman Sachs. He will use the funds to invest in early-stage tech companies.

The fintech founder had a $1bn stake in Wise when it listed on the London Stock Exchange earlier this year. He’s already invested in more than 100 startups across Europe.

09:23 AM

Petrol prices near record high

Fuel prices are creeping near a fresh record high as surging wholesale oil drives up costs at the pump.

Average petrol prices stood at 142.16p a litre today, just off the current record high from April 2012. Diesel is also closing in on its record of 147.93 a litre set in the same month.

It follows predictions by the Petrol Retailers Association that prices would reach record highs by the end of the month as oil prices hit a three-year peak of $85 a barrel.

Latest average pump prices released this morning:

⛽️Petrol: 142.16p a litre, against a record of 142.48p in April 2012

⛽️Diesel: 145.68p, against a record of 147.93p a litre in April 2012

⛽️Super unleaded: 153.95p a litre

— David Churchill (@David_Churchill) October 22, 2021

09:01 AM

Eurozone growth slumps to six-month low

Meanwhile, things are worse on the continent, with business activity growth in the eurozone plunging to a six-month low in October.

The IHS Markit survey came it at 54.3, cooling from 56.2 in September and marking the worst level of growth since April.

The drop was most clearly felt in manufacturing as supply troubles weighed, though the service sector also posted a decline.

Production powerhouse Germany, which relies heavily on its manufacturing of high-value goods such as cars, was the biggest victim. Output there fell to its lowest level since February.

Much like in the UK, widespread shortages pushed up prices. An unprecedented input cost increase was recorded in manufacturing while service sector costs rose at the sharpest rate since September 2000.

— IHS Markit PMI™ (@IHSMarkitPMI) October 22, 2021

08:52 AM

More expert reaction: Higher inflation could hit demand

Rhys Herbert, senior economist at Lloyds Bank, says:

The data suggests that the economy is holding up well. Despite accelerated growth, there continues to be signs that supply chain issues, which have led to a backlog of goods at ports, are affecting output and are pushing up prices. There are also some early indications that this inflation is hitting consumer confidence.

There is little sign right now of the ongoing supply chain issues and bottlenecks easing. So, they will probably continue to constrain output, while faltering demand could be a further issue if higher inflation reduces the spending power of consumers.

The difficulty businesses are facing in recruiting staff are also adding to the pressures on them, although there are some very tentative signs that the end of furlough will make it a little easier for firms to fill vacancies.

08:50 AM

Expert reaction: PMI figures will fuel inflation worries

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, says: 

The UK economy picked up speed again in October, but the expansion is looking increasingly dependent on the service sector, which in turn looks prone to a slowdown amid the recent rise in Covid-19 cases. Growth is also being accompanied by an unprecedented rise in inflationary pressures, which will inevitably feed through into higher consumer prices in coming months.

The news comes at a time when the Bank of England is already leaning towards hiking interest rates to safeguard against inflationary expectations becoming entrenched. The record readings of the PMI survey’s price gauges will inevitably pour further fuel on these inflation worries and add to the case for higher interest rates.

However, the economic growth signals from the PMI remain less convincing from a policy standpoint. The service sector is clearly in something of a sweet spot as the UK has seen more people’s lives and livelihoods return closer to normal. Some of the growth momentum will therefore fade as this rebound passes.

Moreover, rising Covid-19 case numbers pose a downside risk to growth in the coming months, potentially deterring some services-oriented activity among consumers in particular and potentially leading to the renewed enforcement of health restrictions as winter draws in.

08:48 AM

PMI: Business costs rise at fastest rate on record

While the PMI figures cast a positive light over the economic recovery, there are clear signs that supply chain troubles and labour shortages are fuelling a sharp rise in prices.

The survey showed input price inflation at private sector companies rose at the fastest rate since the index began in January 1998.

Meanwhile the manufacturing sector saw its weakest output performance in eight months. 

Goods producers widely commented on difficulties meeting customer demand due to capacity constraints resulting from lengthy supplier lead times and shortages of staff. Around 64pc of UK manufacturers reported worsening supplier delivery times in October, while only 1pc saw an improvement.

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© IHS Markit Manufacturing prices supply chain – IHS Markit

08:43 AM

UK growth picks up thanks to service sector boost

Now for some unexpectedly upbeat data, with the latest PMI figures showing an acceleration in private sector business activity in October.

IHS Markit’s flash index jumped to 56.8 this month, the highest since July and well above expectations of 54.

The pick-up in activity, which bucks a wider trend of data showing a slowdown in the UK’s recovery, was led by strong activity in the services sector.

Service sector activity stood at 58.0, outpacing manufacturing production (50.6) by the widest margin since February 2009. 

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© IHS Markit UK Composite PMI  – IHS Markit

08:20 AM

Trade secretary holds G7 supply chain talks

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is leading talks with G7 trade ministers at Mansion House this morning, with supply chain troubles the key topic of debate.

The Secretary of State is set to argue against protectionism and advocate measures such as better monitoring and cooperation to quickly identify and address bottlenecks where they arise.

The post-pandemic rebound has wreaked havoc through global supply chains, with major ports shuttered and driver shortages impacting deliveries. Shipping costs have increased fivefold since the start of the year, while air cargo has seen prices rise and capacity reduce.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

Global challenges require global solutions. We have seen from the Covid-19 pandemic how fragile our global supply chains can be. The UK will work with our G7 and trade partners to build stronger, greener supply chains and a more resilient economy.

We will also send a clear message that digital trade should be open and free, with proper safeguards to protect workers, consumers and businesses, so it can raise living standards and support jobs as we build back better from the pandemic.

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/Pool International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan – REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/Pool
Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© Provided by The Telegraph International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan – REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/Pool

08:11 AM

L’Oreal cashes in on post-lockdown make-up demand

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo L’Oreal make-up France lockdown – REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

More corporate news from across the Channel now, where L’Oreal has reported a jump in sales thanks to higher demand for make-up and perfume as society opened up again.

The beauty group posted a 13pc increase in revenue in the third quarter, well ahead of analyst expectations of 8.1pc.

Its consumer products division, which includes brands such as Maybelline New York, performed better than in the same period in 2019. Shares rose as much as 6.8pc on Friday.

L’Oreal has bounced back strong from the pandemic thanks to its diverse range of products. During lockdown the declining demand for make-up was partly offset by higher sales of skin creams made by brands such as La Roche-Posay and CeraVe.

08:01 AM

Renault slashes production on chip shortages

Renault has said it will make around half a million fewer vehicles than anticipated this year due to the global semiconductor shortage.

The French manufacturer will make around 500,000 fewer vehicles – equivalent to nearly a fifth of last year’s output – due to a lack of components, it said on Friday. Renault previously predicted a shortfall of just 200,000 cars. 

The global car industry has been hampered by supply chain bottlenecks that have led to shortages of chips and other crucial raw materials.

Renault sold just over 599,000 vehicles in the third quarter, down 22.3pc compared to the same period in 2020 when the industry re-emerged from months of pandemic-induced paralysis.

But the company still confirmed its forecast of reaching a full-year operating margin of 2.8pc.

07:54 AM

Holiday Inn owner gets staycation boost

The owner of Holiday Inn has enjoyed a rebound in sales as global travel begins to open up and holidaymakers opt for staycations.

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) said revenue per available room was up by two-thirds in the three months to the end of September compared with a year earlier. However, this was still 21pc down compared with pre-Covid levels.

The growth was particularly strong in the US during the summer holidays, with some hotels exceeding 2019 levels for occupancy levels.

IHG said domestic leisure demand was particularly strong, while demand for upmarket and luxury hotels in towns and cities lagged.

Shares in IHG dropped almost 2pc following the announcement, with analysts at Jefferies saying recovery for the hotel group was already priced in.

07:45 AM

Pret launches self-service coffee machines

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© REUTERS/Phil Noble Pret a Manger self-service – REUTERS/Phil Noble

There’s good new for fans of ubiquitous coffee shops this morning. My colleague Hannah Boland reports:

Pret a Manger is rolling out self-service coffee machines across the UK as it battles to reduce its reliance on London following a slump in footfall during the pandemic.

The sandwich chain has struck a deal with JDE Peet’s, the Dutch company which owns Jacobs Douwe Egberts, to launch its “Pret Express” coffee and tea machines in universities, hospitals, petrol forecourts and convenience stores across the UK. 

The move is likely to put Pret in sharper competition with Coca-Cola owned Costa, which has more than 10,000 self-service coffee and tea machines across the UK. 

The machines will mean Pret can expand into more sites outside city centres amid a wider push to diversify outside of metropolitan hubs which rely on commuters and tourists for footfall. 

Pret has historically had more of its stores located in London, but recently unveiled plans to open 200 new stores, focusing on regional and suburban locations. 

07:40 AM

London Stock Exchange warns on supply chain troubles

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo London Stock Exchange Group Refinitiv supply chain – REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo

It seems even the London Stock Exchange Group isn’t immune from supply chain issues, with the exchange operator warning some of its tech spending plans could be delayed.

LSEG said supply chain pressures could impact timing of its spending, though it didn’t change its overall cost and capital expenditure guidance. It also warned profit growth would slow in the fourth quarter due to strong comparisons in 2020.

Shares dropped 3.7pc following the update, leading the FTSE laggards.

It came as the company reported 7.6pc growth in third-quarter revenue to £1.7bn thanks to buoyant capital markets revenue. Equities revenue also rose 15.4pc, helped by high-profile listings for companies such as Wise.

LSEG said its integration of Refinitiv, which it acquired for $27bn in January, was on track. The deal means most of the group’s revenue comes from data service.

David Schwimmer, chief executive of LSEG, said:

We are making excellent progress on the integration of Refinitiv and are comfortably on-track to achieve £125m of cost synergies in 2021, ahead of our original phasing. We continue to execute across a number of workstreams to deliver the target revenue synergies.

The group is well placed as we make targeted investments in product and technology enhancements to help us meet the needs of our customers and capitalise on the growth trends driving change across our industry.

07:30 AM

FTSE risers and fallers

It’s been a resilient start to the day for the FTSE 100, which is now up 0.4pc as investors shrug off an unexpected decline in retail sales.

JD Sports is the biggest riser on the blue-chip index, up 2.6pc after it announced a deal to buy 80pc of Greek retailer Cosmos Sport. Rio Tinto is also up 1.8pc, reversing yesterday’s losses.

The biggest laggard is London Stock Exchange Group, which is down 3.5pc after warning supply chain troubles could delay some of its technology spending plans.

The domestically-focused FTSE 250 is trading flat.

07:12 AM

Deutsche Bank whistleblower handed record $200m payout

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© Provided by The Telegraph Deutsche Bank whistleblower Libor – REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

Meanwhile, there’s a big overnight story from the States, where a regulator has paid a record reward of nearly $200m (£145m) to a whistleblower who provided information for a case involving the rigging of crucial financial benchmarks.

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced the award in a statement on Thursday, but did not disclose the recipient or details about the case or the precise amount.

Over the past decade, authorities globally have levied multibillion-dollar fines and pursued criminal charges against banks – including Deutsche – and traders for banding together to rig global benchmarks, most notoriously Libor.

Law firm Kirby McInerney, which represented the whistleblower, said its client scored the record bounty after providing extensive information and documents in 2012 that “catalysed” investigations by the CFTC and a regulator into benchmark manipulation.

07:07 AM

Consumer confidence slumps

In further signs of the faltering recovery, a key gauge of consumer confidence released overnight showed household optimism has fallen to its lowest level since the depths of winter lockdown.

Tom Rees and Tim Wallace have more details:

Gaps on supermarket shelves and the prospect of a cost of living crunch sent GfK’s consumer confidence gauge sliding for the third consecutive month in October.

The indicator slipped from minus 13 last month to minus 17, the lowest level since February, after a gauge tracking how households view the economic outlook for the next 12 months tumbled. It measures the difference between households feeling pessimistic and optimistic on the economy and their personal finances.

Joe Stanton at GfK said: “The financial mood of the nation has changed. After six months of robust recovery in the first half of 2021, UK consumer confidence has taken a turn for the worse with all vital signs weakening.”

It came as industry bosses and economists sounded the alarm on the impact of ministers turning to a Covid “Plan B” plan this winter.

Read the full story here

07:03 AM

FTSE 100 opens higher

The FTSE 100 has started Friday on the front foot despite disappointing retail sales data and inflation warnings from the Bank of England.

The blue-chip index rose 0.1pc at the open to 7,197 points, having closed down 0.5pc on Thursday.

Plash PMIs from the UK and Europe later this morning are expected to show further signs of a slowdown.

06:54 AM

More expert reaction: Numbers ‘hide a multitude of sins’

Lisa Hooker at PwC said: 

The headline flat retail sales numbers hide a multitude of sins. Not least with September’s spending patterns dominated by the petrol crisis, and the subsequent increase in fuel sales, which diverted attention away from the high street.

Grocery and clothing sales saw some pick-up as families stocked up ahead of both back-to-school and back-to-the-office. However, most other categories declined slightly, with home and household goods sales actually dipping below pre-February 2020 levels for the first normal trading month since the start of the pandemic.

Despite September’s slowdown, we are still confident about retail’s prospects ahead of the all-important Golden Quarter in the run-up to Christmas. Consumers still tell us that they have money in their pockets, with our most recent consumer sentiment survey ahead of the 2016-20 levels. Wage increases and lockdown savings should offset any short-term inflationary pressures. And, most importantly, people have told us that they plan to make Christmas more special this year after last year’s lockdowns and tier restrictions.

In fact, there are already signs that consumers are bringing forward their Christmas present buying plans, due to concerns of product shortages. Online sales have continued to ease back from their lockdown highs. So, high street retailers will have their fingers crossed that October and November exceed expectations – and that they are able to source sufficient stock to meet pent-up demand.

06:52 AM

Expert reaction: Perfect storm brewing for retailers

Lynda Petherick, head of retail at Accenture UKI, said:

 After enjoying a post-pandemic recovery for most of the year, September was a more challenging month for retailers as shoppers tightened their belts amid talk of a cost of living crisis. These figures will be no cause for celebration for the sector as we head into the crucial Black Friday and Christmas trading period.

There is a perfect storm brewing in the final months of the year as retailers are already facing staffing pressures and supply chain issues. Fuel shortages and wet weather may have dented consumer confidence last month, but the greatest concern will be whether retailers are able to get consumers the products they want – be that turkeys or toys – at a time when price increases may deter consumers from buying in the first place.

It can’t be ignored that there is also the looming spectre of rising Covid case rates, which could see people shy away from physical retail this winter. This reiterates one of the key lessons from the pandemic – the paramount importance of a seamless and well-prepared e-commerce offer.

06:49 AM

Bank of England: Inflation could hit 5pc

Petrol prices set to hit record high - live updates
© Martin Leissl/Bloomberg Bank of England chief economist Huw Pill – Martin Leissl/Bloomberg 

The lacklustre sales figures come as the Bank of England’s new chief economist warned inflation could rise “close to or even slightly above 5pc” next year.

The Bank has already said it expects inflation to top 4pc by the end of the year – double its 2pc target – but the comments from Huw Pill will spark fresh fears about price rises.

Inflation has been rising this year as the economy bounces back from the pandemic, compounded by soaring energy prices and supply chain disruption.

Mr Pill told the Financial Times there would be a “live” decision on whether to hike interest rates at a meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee on 4 November.

06:41 AM

Fuel fright fails to stop sales decline

Broken down by category, the figures show a surge in fuel sales in September as motorists queued at forecourts. But this failed to offset declines in household goods.

  • Non-food stores reported a fall of 1.4pc in sales volumes in September 2021, because of falls in household goods stores, such as furniture and lighting stores, and other non-food stores such as sports equipment stores.

  • Automotive fuel sales volumes rose by 2.9pc in September 2021 as demand towards the end of September increased sales; volumes were 1.8pc above their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels.

  • Food store sales volumes rose by 0.6pc in September 2021 and were 3.9pc above pre-coronavirus pandemic levels in February 2020.

  • Despite relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in summer 2021, in-store retail sales remain subdued; the proportion of retail sales online rose to 28.1pc in September 2021 from 27.9pc in August, substantially higher than the 19.7pc in February 2020 before the pandemic.

06:34 AM

Retail sales fall again

Good morning. 

Happy Friday. We start the day with some less-than-happy news for retailers, with sales falling for their fifth consecutive month.

The volume of retail sales in September fell 0.2pc on the previous month, according to the ONS. It’s the longest period of back-to-back monthly declines on record.

The numbers highlight dented consumer confidence as the UK’s economic recovery falters, with a surge in fuel sales due to panic buying failing to offset the wider decline.

Despite the fall, sales were 4.2pc above their pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

5 things to start your day 

1) Sunak’s tax raids push Britain further behind Germany and US: Britain is set to fall further behind Germany in the competitiveness of its tax system as a string of Treasury raids risk making it an increasingly unappealing business destination, a leading Tory think tank has warned.

The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) said that the UK’s outdated business rates system, combined with a planned corporation tax hike and National Insurance raid to fund social care, could derail Boris Johnson’s levelling up ambitions and throw economic growth off course. 

2) Consumer confidence slumps as soaring prices hits households: Household confidence has fallen to its lowest level since the depths of the winter lockdown as a living costs crunch hits shoppers and hospitality bosses warn Covid “Plan B” will tip firms over the edge.

Gaps on supermarket shelves and the prospect of a cost of living crunch sent GfK’s consumer confidence gauge sliding for the third consecutive month in October.

3) GB News hires Sunday Express editor in post-Andrew Neil revamp: Michael Booker will become editorial director of the fledgling news network in an attempt to draw a line under last month’s resignation of its chairman and lead presenter. 

GB News has been hit by a string of high-profile resignations since launching four months ago.

4) Financial Times sinks to £35m loss as print sales dwindle: The Financial Times Limited reported a pre-tax loss of £34.5m for 2020, compared with a loss of £4.6m in the previous year.

Turnover was down by more than £25m to £320m, with print circulation declines outweighing what the FT said was a “very robust advertising performance, especially in digital advertising”. The losses also reflect a £15m increase in staff costs.

5) Eurostar tests facial recognition to replace passport checks: Travellers will have their face scanned twice at London St Pancras station, allowing them to skip long queues for ticket check-in and border control.

The Channel Tunnel rail operator will run a trial in conjunction with the Department for Transport for two weeks next month. Initially, some 200 people will be selected to participate.

What happened overnight 

Tech stocks climbed in Asia on Friday, while Chinese property stocks rallied following a surprise interest payment by debt-ridden property developer China Evergrande Group.

Meanwhile cyclical stocks dragged amid worries that central bankers will need to tighten monetary policy into slowing growth in order to tackle persistent inflation.

Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.7pc led by technology shares, while energy shares were the biggest drag. Chinese blue chips gained 0.3pc, with the CSI300 Real Estate Index rising 2.5pc. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4pc, as an index tracking Hong Kong-listed mainland developers rallied 4.3pc.

Coming up today

Corporate: London Stock Exchange Group, InterContinental Hotels, Essentra (trading updates)

Economics: Retail sales (UK), manufacturing PMI (UK, EU, US), services PMI (UK, EU, US)

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© Provided by WhatToWatch Richard Osman Pointless expert Richard Osman caused a debate on Twitter when he asked his followers to vote for the best Quality Street chocolate. People have ... Read more »

Germany taps epidemiologist as new health minister

© Provided by Karl Lauterbach, Germany’s next health minister, is an expert on COVID-19. Karl Lauterbach has been explaining the science behind the coronavirus pandemic to Germans for almost ... Read more »

White Motorcycle Concepts Unveils WMC300FR Hybrid Police Scooter

WMC300FR Outdoor – Front Right Angle View WMC300FR Outdoor – Front View with Other Vehicles WMC300FR Outdoor – Leaning WMC300FR Outdoor – Rear View Riding WMC300FR Studio – Battery Closeup ... Read more »

Europe: Nissan Announces More 'Fast' Chargers... 24 kW And 50 kW

© Copyright 2022 Nissan Ariya front Nissan logo They will be installed at hundreds of dealerships in 18 countries, and offer both CCS and CHAdeMO plugs. Nissan has announced ... Read more »

A designer re-created Britney Spear's iconic denim dress for just $10 with thrift store jeans

© Provided by INSIDER An Australian fashion designer has re-created Britney Spears’ iconic denim dress. Hayley Dingle/KMazur/WireImage Australian designer Hayley Dingle has re-created Britney Spears’ iconic denim dress.  Dingle spent ... Read more »

Jussie Smollett said on the witness stand at his trial that he previously did drugs and made out with one of the men authorities say he hired to attack him

© Provided by INSIDER Jussie Smollett arrives on November 29, 2021, at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for jury selection at his trial in Chicago. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast Jussie Smollett ... Read more »

Jennifer Lawrence says she lost a tooth while making 'Don't Look Up': 'I had to film most of the movie toothless'

© Provided by INSIDER Jennifer Lawrence. Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic/Getty Lawrence lost a tooth while filming “Don’t Look Up.” “I couldn’t go to the dentist until the end of the movie,” she ... Read more »

Bottas grabbed P3 despite Mercedes tyre ‘mistake'

© PA Images Valtteri Bottas on Saudi Arabia podium planetF1 Valtteri Bottas felt his quest for a Saudi Arabian Grand Prix podium finish had been made harder by a Mercedes ... Read more »

Queen Elizabeth in mourning after the death of one of her closest aides

Queen Elizabeth is in mourning following the death of one of her most trusted aides. Ann Fortune FitzRoy, the Duchess of Grafton, served as the monarch’s Mistress of Robes – ... Read more »

FA Cup third round: Man Utd v Villa, Chelsea host Chesterfield

© PA Images Wes-Morgan-and-Kasper-Schmeichel-celebrate-with-the-FA-Cup Holders Leicester have been drawn to play Premier League rivals Watford in the third round of the FA Cup. Brendan Rodgers’ side, who beat Chelsea in ... Read more »

Un Audi RS 6 Avant con más de 1.000 CV: ¿el familiar definitivo?

Audi RS 6 Avant de 1.000 CV Audi RS 6 Avant de 1.000 CV Audi RS 6 Avant de 1.000 CV Audi RS 6 Avant de 1.000 CV Audi RS ... Read more »

The Elongated Bob Is the Coolest Way to Wear Shoulder-Length Hair

The elongated bob is the type of hairstyle that’ll never go out of fashion, that much we know. A solid favorite, it has had most girls with long hair toying ... Read more »

Uganda shores up DRC base to hunt down rebels blamed for Kampala attacks

© Provided by AFP IMAGES Une vidéo filmée avec un téléphone montre un char ougandais et des véhicules transportant des troupes dans la ville frontalière de Nobili, en République démocratique ... Read more »

FA Cup 3rd-round draw: Man Utd handed all-Premier League tie; West Ham host Leeds; tricky Arsenal test

© PA Images FA Cup trophy 2021 Manchester United have been handed a home tie with Aston Villa following the FA Cup third-round draw, while West Ham will take on ... Read more »

Recall: Some 2015-2021 Yamaha FJRs May Not Accelerate As Expected

© 2021 FJR1300 ES ECU reprogramming to fix an earlier recall issue may have created a new issue that this recall addresses. On November 30, 2021, Yamaha issued a ... Read more »

The costume designers for 'And Just Like That' say they ignored the trope that women should dress their age

© James Devaney/GC Images “And Just Like That” will see Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis reprise their roles alongside Parker. James Devaney/GC Images The “Sex and the City” reboot, “And Just ... Read more »

Playing 'Survivor' changed my life. Now, I hope to change the game by getting more Black people on the show.

© Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images Davie Rickenbacker on “Survivor.” Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images Getting cast on season 37 of “Survivor” was a long process. Having Black representation on ... Read more »

ITV Gino D'Acampo's Italian Family Adventure: The beautiful seaside town where you can get one of the best sandwiches in the world

Do you ever get envious of stunning locations on TV shows, especially when there’s turquoise waters, the sun is shining and an abundance of indulgent food? In the most recent ... Read more »

Leonardo DiCaprio Reacts to Dad's Cameo in 'Licorice Pizza' (Exclusive)

© Getty Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t the only actor in his family! The Oscar winner’s father, George DiCaprio, has a cameo in Paul Thomas Anderson’s coming-of-age film, Licorice Pizza, and his son spoke with ET’s ... Read more »

Khloe Kardashian Is 'Embarrassed' by News of Tristan Thompson's Alleged 3rd Child, Source Says

© Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Klutch Sports Group Khloe Kardashian is struggling with the recent news of her ex, Tristan Thompson‘s, alleged third child. Tristan is being sued for child support ... Read more »

Olypmics: US announces 'diplomatic' boycott of Beijing Games

© Provided by Having hosted the 2008 Summer Games, the Olympics return to Beijing on February 4 The US on Monday announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing ... Read more »

¿Qué secretos guarda el SEAT Arona para ser el coche más vendido?

SEAT Arona 2021 primer contacto SEAT Arona 2021 primer contacto SEAT Arona 2021 primer contacto SEAT Arona 2021 primer contacto SEAT Arona 2021 primer contacto SEAT Arona 2021 primer contacto ... Read more »

Mercedes-AMG A35 Retired From The US, Standard A-Class Sedan Remains

© Copyright 2020 Mercedes-AMG A 35 Live Shots The CLA 35 with the same powertrain is still available. That didn’t take long. The Mercedes-AMG A35 leaves the brand’s lineup in ... Read more »

What's with this year's Santa shortage? COVID fears, deaths and more, say experts.

With Christmas fast approaching but in the wake of COVID, malls, stores and holiday events have seen a dip in Santas. (Credit: Getty Images) Santa Claus is back — but ... Read more »

Viagra could be used to treat Alzheimer's disease, study finds

US scientists say sildenafil (Viagra) users 69% less likely to develop the form of dementia than non-users Viagra could be a useful treatment against Alzheimer’s disease, according to a US ... Read more »

Sarah Ferguson claims she is 'most persecuted' woman in royal history, stands by Prince Andrew

Sarah Ferguson has called herself the “most persecuted woman” in royal history in a new interview. The Duchess of York, 62, compared herself to “a reed that won’t break” in ... Read more »

Price revealed as Newcastle enter picture for in-demand Man Utd target

© PA Images Sven Botman, Daishawn Redan, Netherlands Under-21’s, October 2021 Multiple reports claim Newcastle United are keen to sign Lille defender Sven Botman in the January transfer window – ... Read more »

Gentleman onder de acteurs vertolkte vooraleerbiedwaardige person

Eric van der Donk was an actor’s gentleman and even Besheiden al-Gedestingard. Met zijn beheerste dictie die klonk als ver voor Aktie Tomaat, stijlvolle gestiek en keuze voor rollen van ... Read more »

Haitian gang releases 3 more Christian Aid Ministries hostages

© Provided by Although some missionaries have been released by a Hatiain gang who abducted them the US State Department is still warning citizens not to travel to Haiti ... Read more »

With Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen neck and neck, F1 holds its breath

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) Paris — Formula One’s annus mirabilis has the ending it deserves with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on exactly the same number of points ... Read more »

Psst! Amazon's latest sale includes up to 40% off Nespresso coffee and espresso machines

Looking for more gift guides and holiday tips? Sign up for Yahoo Lifestyle Canada’s newsletter! Amazon‘s latest sale features up to 40% off Nespresso products. (Image via Getty Images) Yahoo ... Read more »

Our Long-Term 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Is in Its Honeymoon Phase

© Marc Urbano – Car and Driver A 2021 Chevy Corvette Z51 arrives for a 40,000-mile stay and starts winning friends immediately. Introduction We’ve become familiar with the excellence of ... Read more »

#228 ‘What am I actually doing?'

Maud has a much too cozy lunch with Gio. Photo: Pexels Maud is in seventh heaven with the birth of her half-brother Kai. But it’s not just Kai that makes ... Read more »

Ford CEO Says 70 Percent Of Lightning Customers New To Brand, Trucks

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Front View 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Side View 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Front View 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Side View 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Side View ... Read more »

England need to buck recent trends on Australian soil to regain the Ashes

© PA Images England v West Indies – Second Test – Day Five – Emirates Old Trafford England begin their Ashes campaign in the early hours of Wednesday morning UK ... Read more »

Bellingham investigated by German FA for referee comments

© PA Images Dortmund-star-Jude-Bellingham Jude Bellingham is under investigation by the German Football Association for his comments about the referee after Borussia Dortmund’s defeat to Bayern Munich on Saturday. Referee ... Read more »

Algeria pledges $100 mn to Palestinians

© Thaer GHANAIM Algerian Prime Minister Aimene Benabderrahmane (L) meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas in the capital Algiers Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune pledged $100 million in aid to the ... Read more »
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