Victims in SG lose S$466,000 to scammers impersonating ecommerce platform staff


SINGAPORE: At least 66 people have fallen prey to scammers impersonating staff from ecommerce marketplaces since January this year, losing at least S$466,000 (RM1.48mil) in total.

The police issued a statement on Friday (May 20) warning of this growing risk, with victims getting phone calls from scammers over issues with their ecommerce platform accounts.

The swindlers would point to payment discrepancies in the victims’ purchases or claim that they had won a prize from the ecommerce marketplace.

Under the pretence of helping to rectify the issue or claim the prize, the swindlers would trick the victims into providing their ecommerce marketplace account login details, credit or debit card information and one-time password.

The victims realised they had been cheated only when they discovered unauthorised transactions made on their credit or debit card.

The police advise the public to never provide personal details to unknown callers over the phone, and always verify the authenticity of what they are told with the official website or official sources.

They should report any fraudulent credit or debit card charges to their bank and cancel their card immediately. – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network





Source link

Jagdeo says “politically connected” retail businesses harming Caribbean’s food security – Demerara Waves Online News- Guyana


Last Updated on Friday, 20 May 2022, 22:27 by Denis Chabrol

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on Friday called on Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government to take a hands-on, direct approach to ensure their countries’ agriculture sector  gets much needed financial support and is not manipulated by “politically connected” major retail businesses.

“In many of our countries, retail trade is dominated by monopolies across the Caribbean, by a single large group that has either strong political influence or by the sheer presence in many of our territories and the period that they have been there. They have dominated retail trade and it’s hard for new people to break into the retail trade and, therefore, bring down cost,” he said.

The Vice President, who has come in for sharp criticism for his assessment of Trinidad and Tobago’s economic fortunes due to an over-reliance on oil at the expense of other sectors, said those businesses are often linked to non-tariff barriers. “To open up trade, we have to break that monopoly and it’s not going to happen easily and many of them are the ones who lobby for and they have deep connections within governments and within the regulatory agencies and they almost push the introduction of the restrictive phytosanitary standards in many of these countries as a form of a protectionist tool ,” said Mr. Jagdeo who was responsible for crafting the 2005 regional agriculture initiative.

Mr. Jagdeo on Friday described as “ridiculous” a requirement by a number of regulatory standards agencies in other countries that they have to visit ice cream factories “but they would never do that for ice cream coming from North America.” “This is all protectionist,” he added.

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been complaining bitterly that Trinidad and Tobago has been using sanitary and phytosanitary standards to block Guyana’s meats, vegetables and fruits from entering that market. In response to the Chamber’s call for Guyana not to ink any accord with Trinidad and Tobago unless those non-tariff barriers are removed, Mr. Jagdeo this week suggested that a memorandum of understanding between the two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations could provide a “pathway” for the eventual resolution of the problem.

In his presentation on key binding constraints to agriculture growth, Mr. Jagdeo agreed that many Caribbean island nations have had to provide incentives to the tourism sector which is a major foreign currency earner and employs thousands of jobs. However, he said that was being done at the expense of the agriculture sector.

In that regard, he recommended that Caribbean Heads of Governments play a direct role in ensuring that the agriculture sector gets the required concessions and budgetary allocations for public sector investment projects such as farm-to-market roads and drainage and irrigation to support the sector. “This process has to be driven by the Heads, who are here, and in a very, very clear mandate with clear direction,” he said. With Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states expected to increase agriculture output to the value of more than US$1.5 billion, he said the private sector would have to find US$7.5 billion to invest in the sector. CARICOM has set itself a target of reducing its more than US$6 billion annual food import bill by 25 percent by 2025.

He observed that many CARICOM member states borrow for “all sorts of things” except for agriculture but that has to change.



Source link

Dhanuka Agritech Limited Hosts Retailer Connect & Lucky Draw Event to Reinforce its Retail Presence




One of India’s leading agrochemical companies, Dhanuka Agritech Limited hosted an event to renowned its market presence and over 200 people attended it.







Kanwalpreet Singh Sidhu DGM North
Kanwalpreet Singh Sidhu DGM North





Dhanuka Agritech Limited reinforced its retail presence by hosting a Retailer Connect & Lucky Draw event at Taj Vivanta, Kashmir. Over 200 retailers attended this wonderful event.












The event was officiated by Tanveer Dara (Manager), while Atul Kumar spoke to the audience and discussed the company’s strategies and future goals. Sharad Sikarwar, Marketing Manager, expressed his thoughts on the Cursor Product, which is used to manage Apple Scab.

Lustre, which inhibits Alternaria and pre-mature leaf fall, was discussed by Anurag Singh.

Nissodium, a new Powdery Mildew product, was introduced by Subodh Gupta (Chief Manager Marketing).

The event also incorporated a lucky draw and was hosted by Kanwalpreet Singh Sidhu (DGM-North) and Dharam Vir Singh (SME-North). The lucky draw event drew a large number of participants, among 50 of which won exciting prizes.












Dhanuka’s goal is to encourage apple growers in Kashmir Valley and Himachal Pradesh to produce more fruit and generate more revenue.

About Dhanuka

Dhanuka Agritech Limited is one of India’s leading agrochemical companies and is listed by Forbes Magazine in the category of “200 Best under A Billion Companies in the Asia Pacific.” The Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India both list the company.

Dhanuka has received numerous accolades and recognitions, including Company of the Year (Agro-Chemical Category) from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) during the 10th Biennial International Exhibition and Conference – India Chem 2018.












The company was recently declared a “Great Place to Work” for the 2018-19 fiscal year. Dhanuka maintains marketing offices in all major Indian states, giving it a pan-India presence.











First published on: 21 May 2022, 10:36 IST





Source link

Dutch AFM official gearing up to ban retail digital currency derivatives


The Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (Autoriteit Financiële Markten or AFM) could be gearing up to ban retail investors from trading digital currency derivatives. This is according to recent comments made by Paul-Willem van Gerwen, a senior official of the Dutch financial market regulator. 

In a keynote speech given at the Amsterdam Propriety Traders managers meeting, Gerwen spoke on the rise and impact of digital currency derivatives. He noted that the instrument has become highly popular among asset managers who consider it “highly exciting.” 

However, the official, who heads the AFM’s Capital Markets and Transparency Supervision unit, told the managers that the regulator does not share their sentiment. The AFM considers digital assets to possess risks such as “lack of transparency, manipulation and other forms of criminal activity.” 

He also noted that the market’s volatility carries risks as well. Gerwen warned that asset managers should not dabble in offering the instrument to retail investors. The Netherlands may consider following in the footsteps of the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) if it found the move necessary, he added. 

“I maintain that the trade in crypto derivatives should be restricted to wholesale trade… Don’t get caught up in the excitement of this trading, don’t let yourself be tempted into retail trading,” Gerwen said. 

Gerwen’s comments are coming after the Dutch financial market regulator warned market participants about the risks of trading digital currencies in general. The AFM noted that its authority over the industry is limited; hence investors will be left to bear any losses they uncured. 

Future of Dutch digital currency industry still uncertain 

Notably, the AFM has been issuing warnings to retail investors about digital currencies since 2017. A proper regulatory framework has also not been established for the industry, and the Netherlands has even toyed with the idea of an outright ban. 

The Netherlands is also a supporter of the EU’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA). According to a Financial Times report, the law could potentially give the AFM more oversight powers over the digital currency market.

However, digital currencies still have support from several government officials. These include the Dutch Minister of Finance, Wopke Hoekstra, who has opined that the Netherlands would be better regulating the industry than placing an outright ban on it. 

“My observation is now that supervision is more effective than a total ban in the Netherlands,” he said last year. 

Watch: CoinGeek New York panel, Bitcoin & Blockchain – Can Real Value Come from Real Utility?

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.



Source link

Jim Cramer says he likes these three smaller plays in battered retail sector


CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday that while the retail sector has had a rough week, there are still several winners that stand out against the deluge of stocks that tanked.

“The big four aren’t the only retailers that reported this week, and surprisingly, some of the smaller players actually did pretty well,” the “Mad Money” host said, referring to retail giants Walmart, Home Depot, Target and Lowe’s.

“While retail’s truly awful right now, it’s not uniformly awful. Most stores may be struggling, but you’ve got a few that are doing quite well. And I’m telling you that TJX is definitely a buy, [BJ’s Wholesale] I’m okay on, Foot Locker is alright for a trade,” he later added.

Cramer’s comments come after several retail giants reported their quarterly earnings this week. Target and Walmart both reported disappointing results that saw their stocks fall, while Home Depot and Lowe’s fared better.

“These big-box chains are being eaten alive by inflation and changing consumer preferences — people are no longer spending like we’re in a pandemic, they’re spending like we’re back to normal,” Cramer said, noting that that has led to excess inventory for these retailers.

While that’s bad news for names like Target and Walmart, it’s a tailwind for discount retailers such as BJ’s and TJX, which operates TJ Maxx and Marshalls, Cramer said.

TJX “preys on the weakness of other retailers — it’s like a vulture. For several quarters, they couldn’t get their hands on much merchandise because nobody had excess inventory. … When you see Walmart and Target struggling like this, you know TJX won’t have a problem getting good product,” he said.

As for Foot Locker, Cramer said its better-than-expected quarterly earnings puts it in a more comfortable spot than several of its bigger peers.

“Clearly, these guys do have a better handle on the current retail landscape than most other operators,” he said.

Disclosure: Cramer’s Charitable Trust owns shares of Walmart.

Sign up now for the CNBC Investing Club to follow Jim Cramer’s every move in the market.

Disclaimer

Questions for Cramer?
Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Want to take a deep dive into Cramer’s world? Hit him up!
Mad Money TwitterJim Cramer TwitterFacebookInstagram

Questions, comments, suggestions for the “Mad Money” website? madcap@cnbc.com





Source link

UK retail sales rebound but outlook gloomy



LONDON (AFP) – British retail sales unexpectedly rebounded in April, data showed yesterday, but remain on a long-term downward trend amid a cost-of-living crisis that saw inflation rocket to a 40-year high.

Total sales volumes jumped 1.4 per cent last month after a 1.2-per-cent drop in March, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

However, sales fell 0.3 per cent in the three months to April compared the previous three months, extending a downward trend in place since summer 2021 according to the ONS.

“Retail sales picked up in April after last month’s fall,” said ONS Deputy Director for Surveys and Economic Indicators Heather Bovill.

“However, these figures still show a continued longer-term downward trend.

“April’s rise was driven by an increase in supermarket sales with off-licences also reporting a boost, possibly due to people staying in more to save money.”

Inflation rocketed in April to 9.0 per cent, the highest since 1982, driven largely by soaring domestic energy prices.

The squeeze on United Kingdom (UK) household budgets tightened further in April after a British tax hike as the government looks to improve state coffers battered by COVID support. “The unexpectedly strong rise in retail sales in April suggests that the cost of living crisis has not caused consumer spending to collapse and means that the economy may have a little more momentum than we thought,” noted Capital Economics analyst Nicholas Farr.

Pantheon Macroeconomics analyst Samuel Tombs cautioned that the worst was perhaps yet to come.

“The impact of April’s increase in both (taxation) and energy bills hasn’t fully emerged in the retail sales data yet, because most people only get paid towards the end of the month, and bills will be paid progressively through the month,” noted Tombs.



Source link

What the retail rout means for CPGs


Ranked 39th on the Transport Topics list of top brokerage firms, Axle Logistics takes a consultative and streamlined approach to your shipping needs. Email sales@axlelogistics.com to connect with the team today! 

Retail rout

This week saw a rout in retail stocks with shares of Walmart and Target down 21% and 31%, respectively, during the past five trading sessions. The retailers have January fiscal year-ends so the just-reported quarter includes February-April, a period that had more than its share of challenges between the ingredient inflation that was exacerbated by the Ukraine invasion and the historic run-up in fuel prices. What surprised the Street was the degree to which the rapid increase in costs, and the shift in consumer spending to lower-margin categories, led to margin contraction and reduced profitability.  

That has caused many observers to ask, as if they knew six months ago that diesel prices would hit $5.62 a gallon in May, “How could the largest retailers be surprised by these trends?” Basically, cost pressures escalated very quickly, and it takes time for retailers or other large companies to fully mitigate price shocks through a combination of efficiency gains and passing on costs. Still, Target’s operating income margin of 5.3% was dismal compared to 9.8% a year ago. 

In retailers’ most recent fiscal quarter from Feb. 1 to April 30, diesel rose from $3.75 a gallon to $5.32 a gallon and is now $5.62.

Inventories are very heavy, but not for food

Walmart and Target had inventory levels at the end of the quarter that were 33% and 43% higher than a year earlier, respectively. Those data points support the thesis that a freight demand slowdown is coming. At first glance, they also seem to support a thesis that inflation pressures may ease, and Walmart said it intends to cut prices (rollbacks, as they call them) to thin out bloated inventories. 

But those thoughts pertain to general merchandise, which is largely discretionary, and not to food and consumable products. Food and consumables remain highly inflationary due to the cost of ingredients, materials and fuel, which retail prices do not yet fully reflect. That is consistent with a comment from Walmart management on its earnings call — it doesn’t expect inflation to ease in food. So, inflation may ease on products that consumers don’t really need while rising on products they do need. Clearly, CPGs would prefer that inflationary pressures ease in consumables so there is time for prices in contracts with retailers to catch up to CPG companies’ cost pressures, but that doesn’t seem likely near term.

Higher food prices really are crowding out discretionary purchases 

Just looking at overall revenue and same-store sales posted by Walmart and Target, one would think that the consumer is still healthy and confident. But the detail reveals that consumers haven’t really spent less at the store. It’s just that after buying essentials, there was less for other items. Whether one wants to call those other items general merchandise, consumer-discretionary or just random crap, consumers are buying less of them.

That’s bad news for retailers because, just like traditional grocery stores, food has thinner margins than nonfood items. For CPG companies, the picture is more complicated. Consumers, by and large, cut back on nonconsumables before they cut back on CPG items. But a slowdown in buying power will eventually make its way to the more discretionary subsegments of CPG.  

Consumer behavior varies widely by demographic

Walmart has seen more trading down to private-label brands in the past quarter. Target has seen consumers cut back on hardlines, a segment that includes discretionary categories, such as furniture, appliances and electronics. Yet Walmart is still seeing strength in big-ticket products like video game consoles and some seasonal and discretionary merchandise like grills and patio furniture. I don’t consider those statements to be contradictory. Inflation in food and energy hits lower-income consumers and those on a fixed income the hardest. As a result, the CPG companies likely to weather the current economic conditions the best are those that cater to affluent consumers. Categories that fit that description include health foods, vitamins and fresh pet food.  

Discount and big-box retailers could become bigger players in grocery

The trading down that Walmart is seeing to private-label brands also suggests that Walmart is likely to take share from traditional grocers as consumers look for ways to mitigate rising food prices. On its earnings call, Walmart made clear that it intends to remain a low-price leader, where it maintains a competitive advantage due to its scale and logistics capabilities. That could present a challenge for CPGs if they see a sales mix shift toward big-box, because no one negotiates harder than Walmart. 

Labor headaches aren’t just about worker shortages anymore

At times, Walmart had too many workers because too many decided to return from their COVID-related hiatus at the same time. Rather than terminating excess employees, the company managed headcount lower through attrition.

Freight costs remain a headwind

For all the discussion of falling truckload spot rates and weakening fundamentals in the truckload industry, freight costs remain a headwind for large contractual shippers, even before considering the massive run-up in fuel prices. Walmart noted that three-quarters of its gross profit decline was due to higher-than-expected supply chain costs, including fuel and e-commerce fulfillment. 

Dry van contract rates have not yet fallen in a manner similar to spot rates and remain a margin headwind for large retailers and CPGs. 

To subscribe to The Stockout, FreightWaves’ CPG supply chain newsletter, please click here.





Source link

Retail tomato price shoots up to Rs 100/kg; change in climate led to drop in yield


TIRUPATI: In a sharp jump, tomato price in Madanapalle region rose to about Rs 70-88 per kilo in the wholesale market while it was sold at Rs 100 at retail shops in Chittoor, Tirupati and Annamaiah districts on Friday.

Market sources attributed the sudden price rise due to unfavourable weather conditions that resulted in a drop in the yield this season.

 

Retail shops in and around Tirupati sold tomatoes at Rs 67-100 per kilo, based on the grade and quality of the red fruit. On Wednesday, tomatoes were sold at Rs 60-85 per kilo, and it touched Rs 64-92 in the retail market on Thursday.

“A crate (30 kilo) of first-quality tomato cost anywhere between Rs 2,100-2,370 today. We sold it for Rs 69-88 a kilo, depending on its grade and quality. Damage to the crop due to summer rains in recent days resulted in a decrease in the yield. A fall in supply led to the rise in the price,” explained a wholesale trader.

 

Traders also predicted the price of tomato is likely to remain on the higher side till May end or until fresh stocks arrive. The price of tomato per kilo may go up by another Rs 15-20 and cross Rs 125 in the retail market by the month-end. Arrivals at the wholesale mandis has shown signs of a fall.

The tomato market in Madanapalle town, the largest wholesaler for this produce in Asia, received nearly 155 tonnes of tomato on Friday. The average arrivals per day did not cross 200 tonnes in the past fortnight. In general, the supply to this market would be 5-7 times higher than of the current arrivals.

 

“In the wholesale market, the first-grade tomato was sold at Rs 88 a kilo on Friday, while the second variety was sold at Rs 43-69 a kg. On an average, more than 700 tonnes of tomatoes were expected to arrive at the Madanapalle market daily this season. However, farmers are bringing in less quantities, as the yield has declined in many regions,” a marketing official said.

The Madanapalle wholesale market receives the red vegetable from Madanapalle, Thamballapalle and Punganur constituencies and some parts of Karnataka including Rayalpadu, Srinivasapuram and Lakshmipuram cross.

 

The major changes in climatic conditions in these regions led to a drop in the yield this season. In addition to this, the skyrocketing prices of petrol and diesel also had an impact on the prices of tomatoes.



Source link

European Stocks Close Higher On China Stimulus, UK Retail Sales Data


European stocks closed higher on Friday, rebounding from recent losses, due largely to traders indulging in some bargain hunting at several top counters despite persisting worries about inflation, slowing growth and looming interest rate hikes.

Encouraging data on UK retail sales for the month of April, and the People’s Bank of China’s decision to cut its key lending rates by a record quantum to spur growth helped lift sentiment to some extent.

Investors shrugged off separate data showing that confidence among British consumers fell in May to its lowest level in at least five decades.

The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.73%. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 1.19%, Germany’s DAX surged up 0.72% and France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.2%, while Switzerland’s SMI ended flat.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Spain closed higher.

Russia and Turkey ended weak, while Czech Republic and Sweden settled flat.

In the UK market, Royal Mail rallied more than 5%. St. James Place, 3I Group, ABRDN, Flutter Entertainment, Halma, Entain and ITV gained 3 to 4%.

Prudential, RS Group, Croda International, ICP, Schrodders, RightMove and BT Group surged up 2.5 to 3%.

Shares of British online retail group THG soared nearly 25% after rejecting a £2.07bn bid from two investment companies.

M&C Saatchi shares zoomed 30.3% after the advertising group agreed a takeover by consultancy Next Fifteen Communications.

Scottish Mortgage drifted down 3%. Sainsbury (J), Imperial Brands and B&M European Value Retail ended lower by 1.5 to 1.8%.

In Paris, Atos climbed more than 6%. Unibail Rodamco, Valeo, Veolia, Sanofi, Faurecia, Vivendi, Danone and Teleperformance gained 1 to 3.2%.

Air France-KLM shares moved up sharply after the Franco-Dutch airline said it has entered into exclusive discussions with Apollo for a 500-million euros capital injection into an affiliate owning spare engine.

LVMH ended more than 2% down. Hermes International, STMicroElectronics and Carrefour lost about 1.7%.

In the German market, Zalando gained about 3%. Merck, Porsche Automobil, Siemens, HelloFresh, Brenntag, Deutsche Boerse, Sartorius, SAP, Fresenius and Covestro gained 1.5 to 2.5%.

Deutsche Bank ended nearly 2% down. Munich RE shed about 1.1%, while Infineon Technologies, BMW, Deutsche Wohnen and and Deutsch Post ended modestly lower.

Swiss stock Richemont plunged nearly 13% the company said discussions about its “Luxury New Retail” partnership are “taking time”.

In economic releases, preliminary figures from the statistical office Destatis showed earlier in the day that Germany’s producer price inflation accelerated further in April to set a fresh record high.

The producer price index climbed 33.5% year-on-year following a 30.9% increase in March as energy prices continued to soar amid the war in Ukraine. Economists had forecast a 31.5% rise.

Elsewhere, data showed U.K. retail sales expanded 1.4% monthly in April, reversing a revised 1.2% decline in March. Sales were forecast to drop 0.2% in April.

Switzerland’s industrial production rose in the first quarter of 2022, while construction output declined, the Federal Statistical Office reported on Friday. Industrial production grew 7.9% year-on-year in the first quarter, the report said.

For comments and feedback contact: editorial@rttnews.com

Market Analysis





Source link

Tooele Police search for man in connection to retail theft




Source link

BoE economist sees interest rates rising higher; retail sales bounce despite inflation – as it happened | Business


Bank of England’s Pill: Inflation is our biggest challenge in 25 years

The Bank of England’s chief economist has admitted that the central bank faces its toughest challenge since independence in 1997, and signalled that interest rates need to rise further.

Speaking in Cardiff this morning, Huw Pill said that inflation’s surge to a 40-year high of 9% in April put him in a “very uncomfortable situation”, given the Bank is meant to keep inflation around 2%.

But Pill says this discomfort is ‘as nothing’ compared to the challenges facing poorer familier who are most hit by the current cost of living crisis.

These are difficult times for many people, especially for the less well off, who spend a higher proportion of their income on energy and food, where recent price rises have been most significant.

Current challenges are thus a salutary reminder of the importance of price stability as an anchor for wider economic stability, and a bulwark to sustaining people’s livelihoods, especially for those on lower pay and fixed incomes.

Pill explains that the Bank’s most recent inflation forecast “does not make for pretty reading”, with inflation expected to rise over 10% by the end of the year.

Bank of England inflation forecasts
Bank of England inflation forecasts Photograph: Bank of England

That’s why the Monetary Policy Committee voted to raise interest rates to 1% this month.

Bank of England interest rate moves
Bank of England interest rate moves Photograph: Bank of England

And Pill gives a clear sign that interest rates will need to rise further, as the Bank walks a ‘narrow path’. Underlying wage growth is currently strong, he says, but rising inflation will hit disposable incomes, slowing the economy.

Pill says:

On the one hand, headline inflation is clearly too high, the UK labour market is tight, wages are growing at stronger rates than would normally be deemed consistent with the inflation target, and business confidence is resilient, in part in anticipation of being able to re-establish profit margins. In short, inflationary momentum in the UK is currently strong.

On the other hand, significant increases in international energy, food and goods prices over the past year imply a substantial squeeze in UK residents’ real incomes, which will weigh on future demand and employment. Looking beyond the shorter term, UK inflation is set to fall as global commodity prices stabilise, bottlenecks in global supply chains ease, and domestic inflationary pressure dissipates as the real income squeeze opens up a margin of economic slack.

UK pay rates
UK pay rates Photograph: Bank of England

Pill says the Bank must avoid “self-sustaining, expectationally-driven” price rises -taking hold (where current high inflation drives up expectations for wages and prices)

He concludes by saying inflation is now the biggest challence since the Bank of England was given responsibility for setting interest rates, 25 years ago this month.

That celebration has come at a testing time for UK monetary policy, for the reasons I have outlined in my remarks today. With inflation forecast to rise into double digits following the very sharp rise in international energy and goods prices, this is biggest challenge the MPC has faced over the past quarter of a century.

It is in these testing times that the anchor represented by the 2% inflation target comes to the fore. Supported by the independence accorded to the MPC to pursue that target, we are able to take the sometimes tough decisions to bring inflation back to 2% and keep it there sustainably.

It is that commitment that has led me to support a tightening of monetary policy since I joined the Committee last September, and to signal today that this tightening still has further to run.

Closing summary

The Bank of England will intensify its squeeze on the economy over the coming months as it seeks to bring down the highest inflation rate in 40 years, its chief economist has warned.

Noting that Threadneedle Street was facing its toughest challenge since being granted independence in 1997, Huw Pill said “further work needs to be done” to bring the annual inflation rate back to the government’s 2% target.

Inflation soared to 9% in April as the rising cost of gas and electricity pushed household energy bills to record levels and the escalating cost of food and transport also contributed to the surge in the cost of living.

The Bank’s nine-strong monetary policy committee has raised borrowing costs at its last four meetings but Pill used a speech in Cardiff to signal further increases were needed to prevent high inflation from becoming embedded in the economy.

“In my view, we still have some way to go in our monetary policy tightening, in order to make the return of inflation to target secure,” Pill said.

Inflation has driven UK consumer confidence down to a record low, even worse than after the 2008 financial crisis:

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said:

“This means consumer confidence is now weaker than in the darkest days of the global banking crisis, the impact of Brexit on the economy, or the Covid shutdown.”

Former BoE governor Lord King said central bankers had blundered by pursuing money-printing policies, and needed to raise interest rates higher.

They shouldn’t have been printing the extra money; what governments were doing was enough to deal with the consequences of COVID. They’re now worried about inflation, when they weren’t before…

[But] it’s not all the result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This was foreseeable, because there was a mistaken diagnosis of what needed to be done with the pandemic.”

Economists have warned that the long-term outlook for the economy is weak, despite a surprise rise in retail sales last month.

Retail sales volumes rose by 1.4%, but the increase was driven by increased spending on alcohol, tobacco and sweet treats at supermarkets, as cash-strapped households stayed at home rather than going out socialising.

Nationwide executives have said they are “highly concerned” about the outlook for inflation, warning that rising costs could harm already struggling customers and drag down house prices.

Rishi Sunak has become the first frontline politician to be ranked among the UK’s wealthiest people, only days after the chancellor warned consumers that “the next few months will be tough” as the cost of living squeeze intensifies.

Sunak, a former hedge fund manager, and his Indian heiress wife, Akshata Murty, were named on the Sunday Times rich list as the 222nd wealthiest people in the UK, with a combined £730m fortune.

China’s central bank has cut its main mortage interest rate to stimulate its economy, cheering markets.

But economists say Beijing must take wide-ranging measure to protect its economy, as lockdowns hit growth and push up inflation.

Costs and delays at Britain’s new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset have increased, again. It will start operating a year later than planned and will cost an extra £3bn.

Russia will stop gas flows to neighbouring Finland on Saturday morning, after Finnish state-owned gas wholesaler Gasum refused to pay Gazprom Export in roubles as Russia has demanded.

Shares in THG soared by a quarter on Friday, as investors anticipated a possible multibillion-pound bidding war for the online retailer, including a possible offer from property tycoon Nick Candy.

The digital marketing group Next Fifteen has struck a £310m deal to buy M&C Saatchi, gazumping the tech entrepreneur Vin Murria’s takeover attempt, and ending almost three decades of independence of one of Britain’s most famous advertising agencies.

HSBC is under pressure to fire a senior banker in charge of responsible investing after a speech in which he described warnings about the climate crisis as “unsubstantiated” and “shrill”, made light of major flooding risks, and complained about having to spend time “looking at something that’s going to happen in 20 or 30 years”.

Have a lovely weekend, we’ll be back on Monday…GW

After decades of planning, 13 years of construction and nearly £20bn spent, Crossrail’s Elizabeth line services are ready to roll, with the first gates finally due to open next Tuesday.

Our transport correspondent Gwyn Topham sets the scene:

This is still not the finished deal. But its crucial, magnificent core will now be open: the 13 miles of tunnels bored under central London, nine brand new cavernous stations, and digitally controlled trains offering space and speed that underground passengers have never yet enjoyed.

Over the last three years, as construction delays and overspending exposed the hubristic boasts of Crossrail bosses, talk of a British engineering triumph has been muted. Now, though, it is time to marvel again.

“These stations are like cathedrals. These trains are the longest we’ve seen in London,” says Sadiq Khan, the capital’s mayor. “It is world-leading, world-class. I challenge anyone who uses the Elizabeth line next week not to have their breath taken away – it’s just mind-blowing.”

Here’s Gwyn’s feature on the new line:

Pipes at the Gasum plant in Raikkola, Imatra, Finland.
Pipes at the Gasum plant in Raikkola, Imatra, Finland. Photograph: Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva/AFP/Getty Images

Russia will cut off natural gas to Finland after the Nordic country that applied for NATO membership this week refused President Vladimir Putin’s demand to pay in rubles, Associated Press reports.

The latest escalation over European energy amid the war in Ukraine was announced by Finland’s state-owned energy company on Friday,

Finland is the latest country to lose the energy supply, which is used to generate electricity and power industry, after rejecting Russia’s decree. Poland and Bulgaria were cut off late last month but had prepared for the loss of natural gas or are getting supplies from other countries.

Putin has declared that “unfriendly foreign buyers” open two accounts in state-owned Gazprombank, one to pay in euros and dollars as specified in contracts and another in rubles.

Finland refused the new payment system, with energy company Gasum saying its supply from Russia would be halted Saturday.

CEO Mika Wiljanen called the cutoff “highly regrettable”, but said customers shouldn’t see disruption.

Provided that there will be no disruptions in the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply all our customers with gas in the coming months,”

The majority of gas used in Finland comes from Russia but gas only accounts for about 5% of its annual energy consumption.

Anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder makes a good point:

Putin is doing all the hard work for us. We don’t have to stop sending him money because he’s cutting off gas to us. First, Poland and Bulgaria, now Finland. https://t.co/lN4v268sXI

— Bill Browder (@Billbrowder) May 20, 2022

Bank of America’s closely-followed ‘Bull & Bear’ sentiment indicator is now flashing that markets are in buy territory.

The slump in global markets in recent weeks means the ‘Bull & Bear’ indicator had now moved into “unambiguous contrarian buy territory”, it says.

Michael Hartnett , BofA’s chief investment strategist, says global equity markets have lost $23.4tn since their peak in November 2021, or roughly the size of US GDP.

Stock market basically dropped by 1 US economy in 6 months.

Hartnett adds that the story of 2022 is “inflation shock = rates shock = recession shock”.

The larger story of the 2020s is regime change, higher inflation, higher rates, higher volatility, & lower asset valuations, driven by trends in society (inequality), politics (populism/progressivism), geopolitics (war), environment (net-zero), economy (de-globalization), and demographics (China population decline).

Stocks are oversold, sentiment is far too bearish, according to BofA. Its ‘bull & bear’ indicators is now in “unambiguous contrarian buy territory”.
Analysts at Truist agree: “The market has become the most oversold, or stretched to the downside, since April 2020.” pic.twitter.com/41ZLgBQKeg

— Jamie McGeever (@ReutersJamie) May 20, 2022

The New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan.
The New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan. Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Stocks have opened higher on Wall Street, on the final session of another volatile week.

China’s cut to its mortgage interest rates has calmed some concerns over the outlook for the global economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average has gained 184 points, or 0.6%, to 31,437 points, while the benchmark S&P 500 index is 0.8% higher, after two days of falls (including the biggest one-day drop since 2020).

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, cautions:

The rebound may partly reflect the scale of the declines we’ve seen in the previous couple of sessions, while the cut to the five-year loan prime rate in China may also be giving global markets a bit of a lift. But ultimately, very little has changed and I expect that will continue to hold these markets back.

The rate cut announced by the PBOC is obviously good news and is clearly targeted a revitalizing the ailing property market which continues to suffer due to the crackdown last year and Covid lockdowns this. Along with other measures already announced, this could help to revive a hugely important part of the economy.

Whether it’s enough to help China hit its 5.5% growth target this year is another thing. I imagine we may see further stimulus efforts this year in order to try and get close to that as the country is facing numerous headwinds, as every other is around the world right now. What it has that others lack though is room to manoeuvre on both the fiscal and monetary front.

Boris Johnson will make a decision on whether to impose a windfall tax on oil and gas giants “soon”, according to Downing Street.

A No 10 spokesman said (via PA Media):

“Our position on that remains the same, the PM and the Chancellor have both been clear that they are not attracted to the idea of a windfall tax.

“We’ve spoken before about our desire to see the industry invest in the UK economy to benefit jobs and growth but also the Chancellor’s been clear that if that doesn’t happen no option is off the table.”

Pressed when businesses need to show investment, the spokesman said:

“We’ve never put a specific timeline on it but the Chancellor said if that doesn’t happen soon and at significant scale then no option is off the table.

“So as you see from the Chancellor’s words, if that doesn’t happen soon.”

Asked how soon, he said:

“We haven’t put a timeline on it.”

A windfall tax could be used to cut energy bills for struggling families, as Labour have called for:

Brexit opportunities and Government efficiency minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that there isn’t a “honeypot of business” that the Government can raid whenever it feels like.

But, oil giants BP and Shell are both returning billions of pounds to shareholders through buybacks, as well as dividends, due to the surge in cashflow from higher energy prices. So a windfall tax wouldn’t leave the industry short of funds…

German producer prices surge 33.5%

Inflation pressures are intensifying in Germany too.

Producer price inflation, which measures what manufacturers charge ‘at the factory gate’, has hit a record 33.5% per year in April.

Prices rose 2.8% in April alone.

Energy prices surged by 87.3% compared to April 2021, and by 2.5% compared to March.

There were some staggering annual price increases for energy, as Destatis explains:

Mainly responsible for the high rise of energy prices were the strong price increases of natural gas (distribution) which was +154.8% on April 2021. Power plants had to pay four times as much as one year before (+307.0%).

Industrial consumers’ prices were up 259.9%, those of resellers 170.0%.

There were also significant price increase on intermediate goods. including metals, fertilisers, prepared feeds for farm animals and wooden containers.

Fertilisers and nitrogen compound prices more than doubled (+111.7 %), while prepared feeds for farm animals increased by 52.8%.

Metals’ prices jumped 43.3%, wooden containers were up 75.0%, industrial gases leapt and prices of sawn timber by 52.3%.

Vincent Ni

Vincent Ni

With China’s economy struggling, attempts to boost flagging GDP growth are being hindered by several factors –from Covid lockdowns and the Ukraine war to growing tensions with America, our China affairs correspondent Vincent Ni writes.

At a recent online gathering of top Chinese economists, a palpable sense of urgency filled the virtual meeting room. In recent weeks, a slew of reports by Chinese and foreign economists pointed to a deteriorating economy.

Outside the country, talk of China being the engine of global economic growth no longer convinces.

During the meeting Huang Yiping, a Peking University professor and a former central bank adviser, urged Beijing to “do whatever it takes to save the economy”.

Huang was paraphrasing a line from the height of the European debt crises more than a decade ago, when the European Central Bank’s then president, Mario Draghi, said it was ready to “do whatever it takes to preserve the euro”.

Huang suggested:

“Cashflow problems have shown up for many enterprises and households. More direct support is needed for affected companies and people.”

His remarks have resonated with locked-down social media users after reports of the meeting were released on Sunday. “[He’s] a courageous Chinese intellectual,” one wrote on WeChat.

Here’s the full piece:

Today’s cut in mortgage interest rates is a start, but will Beijing go further?

BoE chief economist warns: reaction

Here’s some reaction to Huw Pill’s warning that monetary policy needs to be tightened to stop the UK’s ‘inflationary momentum’ getting out of hand.

Samuel Gee, director at Bristol-based Manning Gee Investments, says:

“It’s obvious that rates are going to rise further, but the UK economy couldn’t likely cope with quick, sharp-shock increases. They are likely to be more gradual. In the US, the Fed has already countered fears of supersized hikes.

In the UK, so much is at stake. You have people borrowed-to-a-hilt who are starkly at risk, and the Bank of England knows it. Inflation does need to be controlled, but we are coming out of a pandemic and a war in Europe isn’t helping.

We are likely to see more Government and central bank fire-fighting in the months ahead. I wouldn’t say a half-percent increase is off the table.”

Allan Monks, economist at JPMorgan, said Pill’s clear concerns about inflation suggested a majority on the MPC was now “leaning towards a more hawkish interpretation” of the bank’s recent guidance, the Financial Times reports.

Monks added:

“The risk the MPC will need to hike every meeting this year appears greater than it having to go on hold after August”.

Here’s Bloomberg’s says:

Britain’s inflationary shock is likely to be worse than feared, Bank of England chief economist Huw Pill said as he warned price pressures were “substantial” and further interest-rate increases will be needed.

In a speech to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in Wales, Pill spelled out the dilemma the central bank faces as soaring inflation threatens both to become embedded in domestic price setting and depress growth by squeezing household incomes.

On balance, Pill said “the balance of risk is tilted towards inflation proving stronger and more persistent than anticipated in that baseline.”

Pakistan’s rupee has hit a fresh record low against the US dollar, as its economic crisis deepened.

The rupee fell through the 200 mark against the dollar, as the pressure on developing economies intensifies as commodity prices surge.

Pakistan’s current account deficit has spiralled out of control and its foreign exchange reserves have tumbled, prompting its government to seek a bailout extension from the IMF:

Bloomberg reports that Pakistan’s shortage of dollars threatens to spiral into a fullblown crisis.

Policy makers are in talks with the International Monetary Fund to revive a stalled loan program. Key conditions would require Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to raise fuel prices, which risks stoking public anger with inflation already at 13%.

Meanwhile ousted premier Imran Khan has threatened to lead street protests calling for early elections.

Yesterday, Pakistan banned imports of all non-essential luxury goods in a bid to stabilize the economy. Infomation minister Marriyum Aurangzeb told reporters.

“All those non-essential luxury items that are not used by the wider public, a complete ban has been imposed on their import,”

Former Bank of England chief criticises central banks for inflation mistakes

The former Bank of England governor has criticised the UK’s central bank for allowing inflation to surge to its highest in 40 years.

Mervyn King told Sky News that Britons must brace themselves for a “very unpleasant period”, with “considerable” interest rate hikes now needed to prevent a re-run of the 1970s.

Lord King, who ran the BoE during the financial crisis, blasted central bankers for fuelling a rise in inflation by printing hundreds of billions of pounds and dollars during the pandemic.

He said they would have to raise interest rates immediately to prevent an inflationary spiral, following a “failure of the economics profession”, with interest rates kept too low for too long, and too much “quantitative easing” (buying bonds with newly created money).

In a highly critical intervention, King says:

They shouldn’t have been printing the extra money; what governments were doing was enough to deal with the consequences of COVID. They’re now worried about inflation, when they weren’t before…

[But] it’s not all the result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This was foreseeable, because there was a mistaken diagnosis of what needed to be done with the pandemic.”

NEW
Ex-@bankofengland governor Mervyn King:
-We must prepare for a “v unpleasant period” with “considerable” interest rate hikes needed
-Central banks “shouldn’t have been printing extra money” during Covid
-Calls it a “failure of the economics profession”https://t.co/BGSRHvuYS5

— Ed Conway (@EdConwaySky) May 20, 2022

Nationwide: Inflation surge could hit house prices

Kalyeena Makortoff

Kalyeena Makortoff

Nationwide Building Society has warned that the UK’s rocketing inflation could send British house prices into reverse.

Nationwide executives said this morning they are “highly concerned” about the outlook for inflation, a signal that the cost of living crisis could drag down house prices, as customers struggle.

Chief executive Joe Garner told journalists.

“Obviously we are highly concerned about the outlook environment.

And we are very focused on leaning into our members, and really underlining the emphasis of contacting us as early as possible.”

Garner said the building society was ready to offer a range of options to struggling customers, including interest-only payment holidays.

However, the building society, which is the UK’s second largest mortgage lender behind Lloyd’s Banking Group, explained that higher property prices, rising interest rates, and the “steep increase” in the cost of living meant housing had already become less affordable for consumers, so activity is likely to slow.

More here:

Russian rouble banknotes.
Photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Back in the markets, the rouble has hit a four-year high against the US dollar as capital controls continue to support Russia’s currency.

The rouble has gained almost 5% to around 59.2 to the US dollar, compared to around 75 before the Ukraine war began, and the strongest since March 2018.

Restrictions on selling the rouble, and domestic tax payments that usually lead to increased demand for the currency, lifted the currency.

There has also been demand from gas buyers who have agreeed to pay for Russian gas in roubles, as demanded by President Vladimir Putin.

That all means that the rouble’s current rally doesn’t reflect the impact of the Ukraine war, and punishing sanctions, on Russia’s economy, which is expected to enter its deepest recession since the 1990s.

Reuters has more details:

The rouble has firmed by nearly 30% so far this year, despite a full-scale economic crisis, becoming the best-performing currency, artificially supported by controls imposed in late February to shield Russia’s financial sector after it sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.

The rouble is driven by export-focused companies that are obliged to convert their foreign currency revenue after Western sanctions froze nearly half of Russia’s gold and forex reserves.

“Exporters are forced to sell (foreign currency) and there is no one to buy it,” a trader at an investment company in Moscow said.

Preparations for month-end taxes also boost demand for roubles, while demand for dollars and euros remains low due to disrupted imports chains and restrictions on withdrawing foreign currency from bank accounts and moving it out of Russia.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, has predicts that UK consumer confidence will recover from its current record lows once the UK provides more support in the cost of living crisis:

Does the record low level of GfK’s confidence index mean a recession is coming?

The chart below looks scary, but I think a recession will be avoided this time. A few thoughts: pic.twitter.com/4vDDIEOnci

— Samuel Tombs (@samueltombs) May 20, 2022

It’s important to look at how the components of the index are calculated:

How do you expect the financial position of your household to change over the next 12 months? Get a lot better=1 / Get a little better=0.5 / Stay the same=0 / Get a little worse=-0.5 / Get a lot worse=-1

— Samuel Tombs (@samueltombs) May 20, 2022

So the index only partially captures how much people expect finances to worsen. You are probably just as likely to report “get a lot worse” if you expect a 3% fall in real pay as if you fear being made unemployed, but these 2 outcomes have very different implications for spending

— Samuel Tombs (@samueltombs) May 20, 2022

Right now, the labour market looks solid and no leading indicator points to ↑unemployment yet. So this is the sort of environment in which households that have savings will draw on them, and others will borrow more. April’s rise in retail sales suggests they are doing just that pic.twitter.com/F9jGJBHX08

— Samuel Tombs (@samueltombs) May 20, 2022

Confidence also likely will recover when the gov’t comes up with another package of measures to support households’ incomes this summer. So provided the MPC doesn’t hike rates too fast, I expect h’holds’ real spending to fall by c.0.5% q/q in Q2, but then to edge up in Q3 & Q4.

— Samuel Tombs (@samueltombs) May 20, 2022

Earlier this week Rishi Sunak pledged to cut taxes for business in his autumn budget, as the Treasury continues to weigh up interventions to support households.

Options could include a 1p income tax cut from the autumn or a potential VAT cut, or earlier help such as an increase in the warm homes discount for the poorest families.

Kalyeena Makortoff

Kalyeena Makortoff

A new membership body has been launched as part of efforts to bring people from less privileged backgrounds into senior roles across the City.

The group, which will be known as “Progress Together”, will offer workshops, resources and mentoring schemes to people who might otherwise struggle to reach top-tier positions in financial services.

It comes as a new survey found that employees whose parents did not have professional careers themselves were 30% less likely to reach a senior position in their firms compared with their colleagues. More here.

The new nuclear power station being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset will start operating a year later than planned and will cost an extra £3bn, it has been announced.

The French energy company EDF published the findings of a review into the cost and schedule of the power station taking account of the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The delay means the first reactor unit is now scheduled to start operating in June 2027, a year later than planned, with costs estimated between £25bn and £26bn. EDF said this would not affect the cost to British consumers or taxpayers.

Markets cheered by China mortgage rate cut

European stock markets have rallied strongly this morning, after China cut its mortgage lending rate by a record amount (see previous post).

In London, the FTSE 100 index has jumped by 118 points, or 1.6%, recovering most of Thursday’s slide. Asia-Pacific focused insurer Prudential are the top riser. up 5.3%.

Germany’s DAX (+1.4%) and France’sa CAC (+0.8%) are also higher, while China’s CSI 300 index rallied by almost 2% on relief that the government was providing more support.

Indices Update: As of 07:00, these are your best and worst performers based on the London trading schedule:
FTSE 100: 1.07%
Germany 40: 0.88%
France 40: 0.84%
US 500: 0.60%
Wall Street: 0.43%
View the performance of all markets via https://t.co/2NUaqnUPED pic.twitter.com/fdFC9cd2bH

— DailyFX Team Live (@DailyFXTeam) May 20, 2022

Pierre Veyret, technical analyst at ActivTrades, explains:

Markets surged higher everywhere from Asian shares to US Futures contracts on Friday, mostly led by Utilities and the Energy sector, as investors welcomed reassuring major monetary news from Beijing.

The “Risk-on” trading mood has registered a solid rebound during the last couple of hours as traders cheered the significantly dovish monetary decision from China after the PBoC cut one of the key interest rates by a record amount. This will provide a fresh boost to the economy, helping small businesses and mitigate the negative impacts of lockdowns in the world’s second-largest economy.

The headquarters of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).
The headquarters of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

While the Bank of England prepares to tighten policy further this year, their counterparts in China have just cut a key interest rate.

The People’s Bank of China cut its main interest rate underpinning mortgage lending by the most on record, as it tries to cushion the economy from the impact of the lockdowns in major cities.

It lowered the five-year loan prime rate from 4.6% to 4.45% on Friday.

The move could boost loan demand in China, where economic growth and confidence has been hit by Covid restrictions. That has added to the downturn in the property sector, where home prices have fallen and several developers have defaulted.

ING’s Iris Pang explains:

We believe that lowering mortgage rates linked to the 5Y LPR is just part of the reason behind the large rate cut. As long-term loans are also usually linked to the 5Y LPR, infrastructure financing should benefit from this rate cut, too.

It should be clear that this rate cut is not designed to help property developers ease their financing needs. Instead, it is aimed at helping individuals to get a mortgage at a lower interest rate.

This could increase sales of residential property, which will help property developers to increase their cash flows from sales and allow them to repay debt. As such, the leverage ratio of indebted property developers should go down.

JUST IN:
China’s central bank cuts the banks’ 5-Y Loan Prime Rate #LPR by 15 bps for the first time since January, 1-Y remained unchanged.
1-year LPR at 3.7% unchanged;
5-year LPR at 4.45% from 4.60%;#PBOC cut policy loan rates and pledged more easing to stabilize the economy. pic.twitter.com/957m3a0BjC

— CN Wire (@Sino_Market) May 20, 2022

Bank of England’s Pill: Inflation is our biggest challenge in 25 years

The Bank of England’s chief economist has admitted that the central bank faces its toughest challenge since independence in 1997, and signalled that interest rates need to rise further.

Speaking in Cardiff this morning, Huw Pill said that inflation’s surge to a 40-year high of 9% in April put him in a “very uncomfortable situation”, given the Bank is meant to keep inflation around 2%.

But Pill says this discomfort is ‘as nothing’ compared to the challenges facing poorer familier who are most hit by the current cost of living crisis.

These are difficult times for many people, especially for the less well off, who spend a higher proportion of their income on energy and food, where recent price rises have been most significant.

Current challenges are thus a salutary reminder of the importance of price stability as an anchor for wider economic stability, and a bulwark to sustaining people’s livelihoods, especially for those on lower pay and fixed incomes.

Pill explains that the Bank’s most recent inflation forecast “does not make for pretty reading”, with inflation expected to rise over 10% by the end of the year.

Bank of England inflation forecasts
Bank of England inflation forecasts Photograph: Bank of England

That’s why the Monetary Policy Committee voted to raise interest rates to 1% this month.

Bank of England interest rate moves
Bank of England interest rate moves Photograph: Bank of England

And Pill gives a clear sign that interest rates will need to rise further, as the Bank walks a ‘narrow path’. Underlying wage growth is currently strong, he says, but rising inflation will hit disposable incomes, slowing the economy.

Pill says:

On the one hand, headline inflation is clearly too high, the UK labour market is tight, wages are growing at stronger rates than would normally be deemed consistent with the inflation target, and business confidence is resilient, in part in anticipation of being able to re-establish profit margins. In short, inflationary momentum in the UK is currently strong.

On the other hand, significant increases in international energy, food and goods prices over the past year imply a substantial squeeze in UK residents’ real incomes, which will weigh on future demand and employment. Looking beyond the shorter term, UK inflation is set to fall as global commodity prices stabilise, bottlenecks in global supply chains ease, and domestic inflationary pressure dissipates as the real income squeeze opens up a margin of economic slack.

UK pay rates
UK pay rates Photograph: Bank of England

Pill says the Bank must avoid “self-sustaining, expectationally-driven” price rises -taking hold (where current high inflation drives up expectations for wages and prices)

He concludes by saying inflation is now the biggest challence since the Bank of England was given responsibility for setting interest rates, 25 years ago this month.

That celebration has come at a testing time for UK monetary policy, for the reasons I have outlined in my remarks today. With inflation forecast to rise into double digits following the very sharp rise in international energy and goods prices, this is biggest challenge the MPC has faced over the past quarter of a century.

It is in these testing times that the anchor represented by the 2% inflation target comes to the fore. Supported by the independence accorded to the MPC to pursue that target, we are able to take the sometimes tough decisions to bring inflation back to 2% and keep it there sustainably.

It is that commitment that has led me to support a tightening of monetary policy since I joined the Committee last September, and to signal today that this tightening still has further to run.





Source link

AGIS Worldwide C5ISR System Integrated Satellite ELINT Processing – World News Report


AGIS ELINT Processing

AGIS Processing Satellite Emitter Locations in the South China Sea With the Blue “Hooked” Symbol  Data readout

AGIS Processing Satellite Emitter Locations in South China Sea With Blue ‘Hooked’ Symbol Data readout

North Vietnam Correlated Emitter and Imagery Data

North Vietnam Correlated Emitter and Imagery Data

Satellite ELINT data and imagery ingestion of situational data for command and control on a worldwide scale.

The system can now include commercial unclassified ELINT information to further improve Situational Awareness.”

— Malcolm K. Beyer, Jr. CEO

JUPITER, FL, US, May 19, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — For many years, satellite military Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) data was only available from highly classified sources. In the last couple of years however this has changed and basic ELINT information is now also available from commercial sources.

Obtaining ELINT data of the battlefield enables the location and identification of the type of radio and radar emitters in the military Area of Operations to be known. This information can be used to alert forces of the probability of impending hostile attack, the susceptibility of friendly forces to detection and attack and provides data as to the probable composition of both friendly and hostile forces. When amplified with imagery and other Intelligence, ELINT can further define the nature and composition of hostile forces and can be used for targeting. With the rapid advances being made in this field, militaries around the world have begun to examine this new commercial source of Intelligence information.

AGIS’ C5ISR system is capable of simultaneously creating a multiservice Common Operational Picture (COP) while processing 20,000+ near real time satellite ELINT sensor reports along with satellite imagery from various sources. The AGIS system can provide worldwide Command and Control and Intelligence processing capabilities to countries across the globe. AGIS’ software has now been enhanced to integrate ELINT from multiple sources to provide even more accurate and comprehensive intelligence to U.S. and allied customers on Android and iPhone platforms as well.

This new capability enhances AGIS’ existing Multi Domain Data Link (MDDL) fabric which enables the forwarding of data between current U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and NATO C5ISR systems, thereby creating a synchronized COP and increasing the effectiveness of U.S. Air, Ground, Sea and NATO Joint Forces Operations.

So what is ELINT?

ELINT is a subset of Electronic Warfare (EW). ELINT is defined as intelligence gathered from signals intercepted by sensors that are integrated with ground or aircraft or naval or satellite systems. ELINT is used to search, intercept, locate and identify radiated electromagnetic energy for the purpose of using real-time radiations or emissions to provide a better understanding of the Electronic Order of Battle (EOB).

ELINT can provide important data on hostile military equipment and its capabilities. It is used to identify radar systems, missile launchers, aircraft, communications networks, as well as other electronics-based weaponry. This information is used by commanders to help plan their operations more effectively and take actions to avoid detection by enemy forces.

When ELINT radar emissions are detected on the ground, the C5ISR system can be directed to create radar coverage diagrams based on the terrain surrounding the radar. This permits analysis of when radars are able to acquire aircraft, vehicles and personnel.

AGIS’ low cost C5ISR system also has the capability to simultaneously monitor and display both classified and unclassified worldwide data including ship (AIS) and aircraft (ADS-B) transponders. AGIS can now integrate BlackSky satellite imagery, Hawkeye360 and KLEOS commercial satellite ELINT so that it can be overlaid with other ELINT, AIS, ADS-B and military data links, including Link–16, JVMF, OTH Gold, NATO, and many other data links in use in the world. AGIS’ C5ISR systems inherently provide Chat, Messaging, PTT and Video exchange between other C5ISR systems.

AGIS’ software operates on standard PCs client servers and AWS GovCloud it can be integrated with existing C2/C4I/C5ISR systems or as standalone C5ISR and is available is available as a software App on Windows, Android and iPhone platforms, or as an interoperable Web-Client.

If this low-cost system is of interest, contact beyerm@agisinc.com

Malcolm K. Beyer, Jr.
Advanced Ground Information Systems (AGIS), Inc.
+1 561-744-3213
email us here

AGIS Maximum Situational Awareness





Source link

ICv2: Ron Burgundy Heads to Retail with ‘Anchorman: The Game


Barry & Jason’s Games and Entertainment will release Anchorman: The Game – Improper Teleprompter, a new party game, into retail in July 2022.

Ron Burgundy can read about anything off a teleprompter with a straight face, and this game puts players up to that challenge. The goal of the game is for players to read the news without losing their cool, but that won’t be that easy because other news anchors are feeding the teleprompter stories in attempt to sabotage the news. Players can take on the roles of characters from the classic movie (see “Both HD Formats Are Here to Stay“) such as Ron Burgundy, Veronica Corningstone, Champ Kind, Brick Tamland, Wes Mantooth, Frank Vitchard, Brian Fantana, or Dorothy Mantooth.

The game box comes with 600 magnetic words and phrases, 8 player cards, and a Sex Panther timer. It is for two to eight players, ages 17 and up, and plays in 10-60 minutes.



Source link

Prosus to sell Russian online marketplace Avito, formerly worth $6bln


AMSTERDAM – Prosus, the Dutch-based technology investor, said on Friday it would seek a buyer for its Russian online marketplace Avito.

Avito had been one of Prosus’s most valuable investments until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, with an estimated valuation of around $6 billion.

In March, Prosus said it would cut ties with Avito, which it said could operate independently under local management, and would not seek to benefit economically from its ownership.

As sanctions were imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”, Prosus initially decided to continue running Avito, noting that it had responsibility for the company’s 4,000 employees.

That decision was criticised after it emerged that Avito had carried advertisements for Russian military jobs.

The company then said it would separate Avito from its online marketplace businesses, part of the larger OLX Group, but had not clarified what would happen after the separation.

Prosus’s shares have fallen by more than 40% over the past year, largely tracking the value of its biggest asset, a 28.9% stake in Chinese online media giant Tencent.

Prosus shares traded 2.4% higher at 46.61 at 0715 GMT in Amsterdam on Friday.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; editing by Jason Neely)



Source link

Former BoE governor attacks central banks, as retail sales rise, but confidence plummets | Business News


On the Ian King Business podcast: retail sales rise but consumer confidence plummets – hear from the former Bank of England governor Mervyn King who blames central banks for fuelling inflation; analysis of cryptocurrency markets following a stablecoin collapse; and former Rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood talks about celebrating young sporting talent.

:: Listen and subscribe to The Ian King Business Podcast here.



Source link

Prosus to sell Russian online marketplace Avito, formerly worth $6 billion


AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Prosus, the Dutch-based technology investor, said on Friday it would seek a buyer for its Russian online marketplace Avito.

Avito had been one of Prosus’s most valuable investments until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation”, with an estimated valuation of about $6 billion.

“Prosus has now decided to exit the Russian business,” the company said in a statement. “We have started the search for an appropriate buyer for our shares in Avito.”

Separately, Moscow-headquartered Avito said it would continue to operate as a standalone business, run by Russian management.

“This does not affect Avito’s business development plans and opportunities in Russia,” the company said in a statement.

In March, Prosus said it would cut ties with Avito and would not seek to benefit economically from its ownership.

As sanctions were imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, Prosus initially decided to continue running Avito, noting that it had responsibility for the company’s 4,000 employees.

That decision was criticised after it emerged that Avito had carried advertisements for Russian military jobs.

Prosus then said it would separate Avito from its online marketplace businesses, part of the larger OLX Group, but had not clarified what would happen after the separation.

Prosus is controlled by Naspers of South Africa. Its shares have fallen by more than 40% over the past year, largely tracking the value of its biggest asset, a 28.9% stake in Chinese online media giant Tencent.

Prosus shares traded 2.4% higher at 46.61 at 0715 GMT in Amsterdam on Friday.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; editing by Jason Neely, Robert Birsel)





Source link

Bowmore launches new 50 Year Old Vault Series expressions into China travel retail



… be available in global travel retail.
“We’re delighted to … Series, to Global Travel Retail in China,” commented Beam … Marketing Director for Global Travel Retail Manuel González.
“These exceptionally … available in global travel retail
The Bowmore 40 Year …



Source link

Prosus to sell Russian online marketplace Avito, formerly worth $6bn


Prosus, the Dutch-based technology investor, said on Friday it would seek a buyer for its Russian online marketplace Avito.

Avito had been one of Prosus’s most valuable investments until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation”, with an estimated valuation of about $6 billion.

Read: Prosus removes military job adverts on Russian online marketplace

“Prosus has now decided to exit the Russian business,” the company said in a statement. “We have started the search for an appropriate buyer for our shares in Avito.”

Separately, Moscow-headquartered Avito said it would continue to operate as a standalone business, run by Russian management.

“This does not affect Avito’s business development plans and opportunities in Russia,” the company said in a statement.

In March, Prosus said it would cut ties with Avito and would not seek to benefit economically from its ownership.

Read: Prosus expects R11.83bn writedown on its stake in Russia’s VK

As sanctions were imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, Prosus initially decided to continue running Avito, noting that it had responsibility for the company’s 4 000 employees.

That decision was criticised after it emerged that Avito had carried advertisements for Russian military jobs.

Prosus then said it would separate Avito from its online marketplace businesses, part of the larger OLX Group, but had not clarified what would happen after the separation.

Prosus is controlled by Naspers of South Africa. Its shares have fallen by more than 40% over the past year, largely tracking the value of its biggest asset, a 28.9% stake in Chinese online media giant Tencent 0700.

Prosus shares traded 2.4% higher at 46.61 at 0715 GMT in Amsterdam on Friday.



Source link

UK surprise retail recovery as consumer confidence hits rock bottom


UK surprise retail recovery as consumer confidence hits rock bottom
Source: Pexels/BrettSayles

A small recovery in April retail sales was driven by strong alcohol sales and fashion, despite consumer confidence in the UK hitting rock bottom.

The figures released on May 20 suggest that more people at staying at home rather than going out as inflation drives prices upwards in pubs and restaurants, that combined with the warmer weather saw much better than expected alcohol and fashion sales.  

Economists had predicted a slight fall after a dip of 1.2% in March, in anticipation of rising bills in the growing cost of living crisis.

Heather Bovill, ONS Deputy Director for Surveys and Economic Indicators, said: “Retail sales picked up in April after last month’s fall. However, these figures still show a continued longer term downward trend.

“April’s rise was driven by an increase in supermarket sales, led by alcohol and tobacco and sweet treats, with off-licences also reporting a boost, possibly due to people staying in more to save money.”

Consumer confidence

A survey of 2,000 people, carried out by market research firm GfK, said that its consumer confidence gauge sunk to a score of -40 in May, down from -38 in April and -9 a year ago. That is the worst level in 50 years.

The GfK study was undertaken in May, suggesting that the higher bills expected during the month had resulted in the less than happy picture. The low consumer confidence also suggests that May’s retail figures could be down with the increase in the energy price cap having come into effect.

The continued rise in inflation is also expected to have hit pockets, with the cost of petrol and many basic staples having gone up.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, told Sky News:Consumer confidence is now weaker than in the darkest days of the global banking crisis, the impact of Brexit on the economy, or the COVID shutdown.

“The outlook for consumer confidence is gloomy, and nothing on the economic horizon shows a reason for optimism any time soon.

“Even the Bank of England is pessimistic, with Governor Andrew Bailey this week offering no hope of tackling inflation.”

Staton added that consumers increasingly feel that now is not a good time to make big purchases like furniture and white goods.

Retail sales, inflation and recession

A number of economists believe that the UK is headed into a recession driven by high inflation, falling consumer confidence and continuing supply chain issues.

Andrew Goodwin, Chief UK Economist at the consultancy firm Oxford Economics, said “The record low is the natural consequence of the sharp rise in inflation and increase in personal taxation.

“Consumers are now able to see what the rise in the energy price cap, the rise in NICs [National Insurance contributions] rates and the freeze in income tax allowances and thresholds means for their finances.”

He continues saying that the increase in consumer spending in the first quarter was “underwhelming” adding: “We expect consumer spending to fall in each of the remaining three quarters of the year, leaving the consumer sector in recession.

“We see only limited scope for lower saving to cushion the blow so, given the government remains unwilling to provide additional support, the squeeze on household finances will be so great that it’s hard to see how we can avoid falling consumer spending.”

Cost of living

The Shadow Exchequer, Abena Oppong-Asare, said that consumer confidence had hit a record low because of the “double whammy of a Conservative cost-of-living crisis and a Conservative economic growth crisis.

“Families across the country are being hit by soaring bills and rising prices, but the chancellor still won’t act.

“To improve consumer confidence, Labour are calling on the government to urgently bring forward an emergency budget, with a windfall tax on oil and gas producer profits to lower bills for families and support energy intensive industries.

“Our plans to cut taxes for small business would save firms up to £5,000 this year.”

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have added to calls for an emergency budget, saying it wants to see National Insurance contributions for businesses lowered from 15.05 per cent to 13.8 per cent, the point at which they were before April. They have also called for a cut in VAT on energy bills and free Covid-19 tests to help small businesses.

Hannah Essex, Co-executive Director of the BCC said: “Businesses are telling us that the rise in National Insurance contributions has been a body blow as they try to get back on their feet.”

A Treasury spokesperson told Sky News: “We’re taking decisive action to tackle the NHS backlog and fix the social care crisis – something governments have ducked for decades. The smallest 41 per cent of firms are not affected at all by the Health and Social Care Levy, and the next 40 per cent are seeing wage bills rise by less than 1 per cent.

“We provided businesses with an unprecedented package of support that saved millions of jobs throughout the pandemic – and have since gone further, cutting taxes for hundreds of thousands of firms through an increase to the Employment Allowance, slashing fuel duty and halving business rates for eligible high street firms.

“We continue to support businesses with tax incentives like the Annual Investment Allowance and the super-deduction, the biggest business tax cut in modern British history, as well as investing in skills, innovation and infrastructure to boost growth for the long-term.”

Despite the claims by Treasury that they have implemented measures to deal with the problems facing the economy, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, today said that “there is nothing he can do to control inflation.”

The statement by the chancellor and the continuing increase in prices will, economists believe, that retail recovery in April will be short-lived and that consumer confidence will remain low.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article, do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.





Source link

April retail volumes continue on downward trend amid cost of living crisis


Retail volumes in the three months to April went down 0.3 per cent compared with the previous quarter.

Retail sales volumes continue to go downward amid the cost of living crisis.

According to the Office for National Statistics, volumes rose 1.4 per cent in April following a 1.2 per fall in March, while values went up by 1.9 per cent.

But looking more broadly, in the three months to April, sales volumes fell by 0.3 per cent when compared to the previous quarter, continuing the downward trend experienced since the summer.

Commenting on the results, Ralph Robinson, head of retail at technology consultancy BJSS said: “April marks yet another month of tough results for the UK retail market, with sales volumes down 0.3% compared to the previous three months.

“And it looks like the challenges will continue: consumer confidence remains low and macroeconomic shocks like high inflation will pile greater pressure on retail sales and margins.”



Source link