Economy climbs back above pre-pandemic levels – live updates

Good morning.

There’s encouraging data out this morning showing the economy recovered to above pre-pandemic levels in November.

GDP grew 0.9pc over the month, meaning it’s now 0.7pc above its pre-Covid peak. The growth was driven largely by service sector activity.

However, the ONS figures cover the period before the omicron variant ran riot through the country, meaning growth may well have slowed before the end of the year.

5 things to start your day 

1) Google buys London HQ in $1bn vote of confidence for the office  A previous attempt to buy the building fell through during the pandemic 

2) Spend more on renewables or power prices will keep rising, warns IEA  Agency calls for ‘structural change’ to meet growing demand for power 

3) US stocks sink again as interest rates rise looms  Investors have been offloading shares most sensitive to higher interest rates, such as loss-making growth companies

4) Asos moves to London’s main market after 20 years on Aim  Online fashion retailer’s proposed LSE move will make it eligible to enter the FTSE 250

5) Investors attack ‘confusing’ EU takeover rules that still apply to the City  Mergers still weighed down by EU regulations despite Brexit, say corporate titans

What happened overnight 

Asian shares took a beating on Friday after a fresh salvo of hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve officials solidified expectations that U.S. interest rates could rise as soon as March, leaving markets braced for tighter monetary conditions.

Equity markets turned deeply red, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shedding 0.9pc in mid-afternoon trade, while Australia lost 1.1pc and Japan’s Nikkei gave up 1.3pc.

South Korean shares dropped 1.4pc after the country’s central bank raised its benchmark rate 25 basis points to 1.25pc on Friday, as expected, taking it back to where it was before the pandemic as it seeks to restrain consumer price rises.

China’s blue-chip index declined 0.5pc and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was off 0.9pc.

Coming up today

  • Corporate: Currys, Experian (trading update)
  • Economics: GDP, manufacturing, production (UK); industrial production (UK, US); retail sales, Michigan consumer sentiment index (US)


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