Germany’s ‘bad’ €200bn power bailout criticised by means of EU allies

Olaf Scholz – FILIP SINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Germany’s “dangerous” €200bn energy bailout has sparked further EU infighting, with Spain and Belgium the latest member states to voice misgivings.

The “protective umbrella” unveiled by Berlin, similar to that proposed by the UK Government, aims to partially shield homes and businesses from surging gas prices.

But it has triggered complaints from fellow EU countries, who claim it could distort energy markets on the Continent and splinter the bloc’s united position this winter.

Europe has long relied on Russian supplies of oil and gas but following the invasion of Ukraine the Kremlin has throttled flows in the face of sharp criticism from Brussels.

Amid the tightening of gas supplies and surging prices, Berlin’s massive national energy bailout has triggered fears in other capitals that member states will each have to fend for themselves as temperatures grow colder.

Alexander De Croo, Belgium’s prime minister, warned on Wednesday that large “imbalances in fiscal spending” between member states are “dangerous”.

He said it risked “degrading the European single market, because everyone is just doing their own thing”, according to the Financial Times.

In a separate interview, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez also said the single market must not be allowed to “break apart”.

The comments are a fresh headache for Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor, as he seeks to cooperate with other EU states in the response to the winter energy crisis.

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has already likened Berlin’s scheme to “cannibalism”, while outgoing Italian prime minister Mario Draghi warned it risked dividing the bloc “according to the space in our national budgets”.

It came as Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the EU should consider a temporary cap on gas prices to try and bring down soaring household bills.

The bloc should also explore a specific further cap on the price of gas used to generate electricity, she added.

The main TTF price benchmark for prices in Europe depends heavily on pipeline supplies which have been constrained by cuts to Russian pipeline supplies.

The EU is getting increasing amounts of gas in shipments from around the world. Any cap would be temporary while the EU develops a new benchmark more reflective of current prices, Reuters reported.

Prices in the UK tend to track the TTF as the markets are linked. It was not immediately clear how an EU cap would affect the UK market.

EU leaders will discuss the measure on Friday. In a speech on Wednesday, Ms Von der Leyen also said there was a need to “stress test” European infrastructure after the Nord Stream pipelines connecting Germany with Russia were sabotaged and taken out of action.

06:57 PM

That’s all for today

It’s time for us to wrap up. Thanks for following us today.

For further essential business news, make sure to come back tomorrow.

06:39 PM

Will Biden tap US oil reserves again?

As reported earlier, Joe Biden has warned he could continue to direct releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve “as necessary” – a shift from the previous White House position.

Earlier this year, the President already announced the largest sale ever from the reserve: 180 million barrels for six months beginning in May.

Last month the administration extended that historic sale into November, as only about 155 million barrels had been sold.

As a result, the amount of oil in the reserve has fallen to the lowest level since July 1984. The reserve now holds about 416 million barrels of oil. (Although that is still well above what is required by the US membership of the International Energy Agency.)

06:33 PM

SpaceX rocket blasts off with Russian cosmonaut aboard

SpaceX rocket - Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

SpaceX rocket – Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Elsewhere in Muskworld, here’s a picture from Cape Canaveral, Florida, where a SpaceX rocket has just blasted off carrying NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina.

They are travelling to the International Space Station for a six month expedition.

06:27 PM

Musk, Twitter could strike deal to end court battle today – report

Elon Musk and Twitter may reach an agreement to end their court battle as soon as today, clearing the way for the world’s richest person to close a $44bn takeover of the social media platform, it has been reported.

Musk, who is also chief executive of electric car maker Tesla, told Twitter late on Monday that he would change course and abide by his April agreement to buy the company if bosses dropped litigation against him.

His proposal initially included a condition that the closing of the deal would depend on receipt of the necessary debt financing – but a source told Reuters that this condition may now have been dropped.

06:22 PM

‘This winter is difficult – but next winter may also be very difficult’

Fatih Birol

Fatih Birol

Europe will face an even bigger energy crunch next winter after draining gas storage facilities to get through this one, the head of the International Energy Agency has warned.

European countries have filled storage tanks to around 90pc capacity after Russia throttled flows to the Continent in retaliation to Western sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the Paris-based IEA, said this would help the bloc to “survive the coming winter with just some bruises, as long as there are no political or technical surprises”.

But he added the real challenge will come next year, when the EU will need to refill storage facilities that will have been drained to as little as 25pc.  The bloc has historically relied on Russia for 40pc of its supplies.

“This winter is difficult but next winter may also be very difficult,” Mr Birol told journalists gathered in Finland.

05:43 PM

Von der Leyen calls for joint EU gas purchases amid anger over Germany’s €200bn bailout

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, has called for EU countries to purchase gas supplies together and cap prices amid a row over Germany’s €200bn domestic bailout.

Speaking in the European Parliament on Wednesday, Von der Leyen said EU countries should start jointly buying gas to ensure individual members did not outbid each other for gas on world markets and drive prices up.

Her comments come amid rising tensions over Berlin’s massive “protective umbrella” package, which will see the German federal government shield consumers and businesses from the brunt of gas price rises.

Other countries have warned the package risks splintering EU unity and triggering a free-for-all among member states.

05:34 PM

Opec oil production cut good for US shale, says producer

The decision by the Opec+ cartel to cut production could set the stage for higher prices that will help US explorers ramp up drilling, according to a shale entrepreneur.

Matt Gallagher, the boss of Greenlake Energy Ventures, said the move on Wednesday gives oil companies an insight into what oil-price levels the cartel is determined to defend.

“We now know where the price floor is for Opec and that should give traders comfort in the back end of the curve,” he told Bloomberg. “That can sanction more projects for sure.”

His comments will be welcome news to US President Joe Biden, who has said he wants to boost American output in response to Opec’s decision.

05:30 PM

Sacre bleu! Soaring egg prices forces French to change recipes

Food companies in France have been forced to change their recipes or cut output after egg prices more than doubled, Reuters reports.

Costs have surged due to higher prices for animal feed, energy costs and a drop in supplies following a major bird flu outbreak, according to producers.

Both the EU and the United States experienced one of their worst bird flu crises ever this year with tens of millions of poultry culled.

That means world egg production is expected to fall for the first time in history this year.

We are in a situation that has never been seen before.

– Loic Coulombel, deputy chairman of French food industry group CNPO

05:21 PM

Biden disappointed by Opec’s ‘shortsighted’ decision

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Joe Biden has criticised the Opec oil cartel’s “shortsighted” decision to cut production as the world grapples with an energy crisis.

The US President on Wednesday said he would now seek to work with American lawmakers to boost domestic energy production, to reduce the cartel’s influence over prices.

In a broadside, he also warned he would continue to make releases from his country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve “as necessary”.

Previously, the White House had committed to ending releases from the reserves, after withdrawing 180 million barrels earlier this year.

A statement on behalf of the President said: “The President is disappointed by the shortsighted decision by Opec+ to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.”

04:55 PM

Germany’s Scholz under pressure as EU allies criticise €200bn energy package

Olaf Scholz Germany chancellor

Olaf Scholz Germany chancellor

EU tensions are flaring over Germany’s €200bn energy support package after Spain and Belgium became the latest member states to voice misgivings.

The “protective umbrella” unveiled by Berlin, similar to that proposed by the UK Government, aims to partially shield homes and businesses from surging gas prices.

But it has triggered complaints from fellow EU countries, who claim it could distort energy markets on the Continent.

Today Alexander De Croo, Belgium’s prime minister, added his voice to the chorus, warning that large “imbalances in fiscal spending” between member states are “dangerous”.

He said it risked “degrading the European single market, because everyone is just doing their own thing”, according to the Financial Times.

In a separate interview, also on Wednesday, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez said the single market must not be allowed to “break apart”.

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban has already likened Berlin’s scheme to “cannibalism”, while outgoing Italian prime minister Mario Draghi warned it risked dividing the bloc “according to the space in our national budgets”.

04:09 PM

Handing over

That’s all from me today – thanks for following! Matt Oliver is in the hot seat for the rest of the day.

03:52 PM

Opec agrees major oil output cut

Opec has agreed a massive cut to oil production in a move to prop up prices that could boost Moscow’s coffers and spark anger in Washington.

The producer cartel agreed to reduce output by 2m barrels per day from November. It’s the biggest cut since the height of the pandemic in 2020.

The move could drive crude prices higher, further fuelling inflation. It could also give Russia a boost ahead of a EU ban on most of its crude exports later this year and a bid by the G7 to cap the country’s oil prices.

US President Joe Biden personally appealed to Saudi leaders in July to boost production in order to tame prices which soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

But crude price have fallen in recent months on concerns over dwindling demand and fears over a possible global recession.

03:28 PM

Bank of England buys no bonds for second day

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey - Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey – Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

The Bank of England has bought no bonds at an emergency gilts tender for the second straight day.

The central bank rejected £413.6m of offers today. It’s spent a total of around £3.7bn in the programme so far – a lot less than the maximum of £30bn it could have forked out.

Read more on this story: Bank of England stops buying bonds as market chaos subsides

02:56 PM

Wall Street opens lower as tech rally falters

Wall Street has opened lower this afternoon, dragged down by tech stocks as Treasury yields rose following resilient jobs data.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 1.4pc, while the S&P 500 lost 1pc and the Dow Jones fell 0.8pc.

02:26 PM

Pound crumbles 1.5pc

It seems Liz Truss’s speech at the Conservative Party conference has done little to help sterling, which has continued its downward slide.

After jumping close to $1.15 earlier in the day, the pound has been in steady decline against a strengthening dollar ever since.

It’s now extended losses to 1.5pc, trading just below $1.13.

02:06 PM

EU set to give final approval on new Russia sanctions

The EU is poised to give its final approval for a new batch of sanctions against Russia over its war against Ukraine, the bloc’s foreign policy chief has said.

The measures include more restrictions in trade with Russia in steel and tech products, and an price cap for Russian seaborne oil deliveries to third countries through European insurers.

The sanctions will also include more individuals involved in Moscow’s ad-hoc annexation votes in occupied eastern Ukraine and people involved in bypassing sanctions.

Josep Borrell told the European Parliament: “This should further constrain Russia’s exports capacity and the relations its industry carries out, particularly in the technological sector.”

The agreement is expected to be formalised by tomorrow morning if no EU country raises last-minute objections.

01:46 PM

RMT: Calling unions anti-growth is ‘ironic’

The RMT union, which has been behind many of the rail strikes this summer, is forthright in its response to Liz Truss’s speech today.

Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said:

It is ironic that trade unions are labelled the anti-growth coalition when it is the Conservative government who are cutting services, jobs and billions of pounds worth of investment from our railways.

Unions represent the hopes and aspirations of ordinary working people across the country by winning better pay and conditions.

Instead of maligning unions, the Prime Minister should turn her attention to the national rail dispute and help foster a negotiated settlement on job security, pay and working conditions.

01:28 PM

Elon Musk promises to turn Twitter into ‘everything app’ called X

Elon Musk Twitter X

Elon Musk Twitter X

Elon Musk plans to turn Twitter into an “everything app” after reviving plans to buy the social media company for $44bn (£38bn), writes Matthew Field.

After a U-turn over his takeover, the Tesla billionaire said: “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.”

Mr Musk had been trying to back out of a deal to buy the social media business but announced a surprise reversal on Tuesday, saying he would purchase the company at $54.20 per share. He was facing a court battle as Twitter pressed him to go through with the takeover.

Mr Musk, the world’s richest man who is worth $220bn, gave no details of what his “X” app would look like, but he claimed buying Twitter “accelerates X by three to five years, but I could be wrong”.

He has previously expressed an interest in creating a “super app” similar to China’s WeChat.

​Read Matt’s full story here

12:47 PM

Lyceum Theatre owner seeks £1.2bn from private lenders

Lyceum Theatre Ambassadors - Geoff Pugh

Lyceum Theatre Ambassadors – Geoff Pugh

The owner of the Lyceum Theatre is looking to refinance its debt with a lending deal worth up to £1.2bn.

Ambassador Theatre Group, which owns venues in Broadway as well as the West End, is speaking to direct lending firms about the potential refinancing, Bloomberg reports.

The entertainment business, which is backed by Providence Equity Partners, declined to comment.

Founded in 1992, Ambassador Theatre Group owns and operates 58 venues in the UK, US and Europe, as well as operating ticketing platforms.

12:11 PM

US futures fall as rally falters

Wall Street looks set to open lower this afternoon as investors take a pause from a rally driven by bets on less aggressive interest rate rises.

Futures tracking the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.9pc each, while the Dow Jones was down 1pc.

11:49 AM

Pound extends losses during Liz Truss speech

Sterling slipped further into the red as Liz Truss delivered her speech at the Conservative Party conference.

The Prime Minister reasserted her commitment to lowering the tax burden and attacks what she describes as the “anti-growth coalition”.

There’s no real reference to the market carnage sparked by her unfunded tax-cut programme last week, apart from the claim that: “Whenever there is change, there is disruption.”

She adds: “I’m determined to get Britain moving, to get us through the tempest and to put us on a stronger footing.”

The pound is now down almost 1pc against the dollar at $1.1361.

11:08 AM

Liz Truss to give speech at party conference

Liz Truss is about to make her first Conservative Party conference speech as party leader and Prime Minister.

We’ll have an eye on any market reaction, given last week’s turmoil following her tax-slashing plan.

The pound is currently down around 0.6pc against the dollar, trading below $1.14.

10:54 AM

Virgin Atlantic pulls out of Hong Kong for good

Hong Kong Virgin Atlantic - Keith Tsuji/Getty Images

Hong Kong Virgin Atlantic – Keith Tsuji/Getty Images

Virgin Atlantic is pulling out of Hong Kong for good, cancelling flights and closing its offices after 30 years in the financial hub.

The airline said several factors contributed to its decision, including the closure of Russian airspace that made flight times an hour longer.

In 2019, Virgin Australia also ended its services between Melbourne, Sydney and Hong Kong, reducing the number of connecting customers.

Virgin hasn’t operated any passenger flights to the city since December, when all flights from the UK were banned due to the pandemic.

But it’s the first major airline to pull out completely since American Airlines left last year.

Virgin said: “We’re very sorry for the disappointment caused to our loyal customers on this route and anyone booked to travel from March 2023 will be offered a refund, voucher or the option to rebook on an alternative Virgin Atlantic route.”

10:35 AM

‘My mortgage will cost me £600 a month more next year’

Homeowners’ monthly payments are soaring by hundreds of pounds when they remortgage, as buyers rush to lock in deals.

Mortgage rates have already more than doubled for many homeowners, but the outlook is even worse for those coming to the end of fixed-rate deals next year, experts warned.

Melissa Lawford has more on the escalating crisis facing homeowners. Read her full story here.

10:11 AM

Average two-year fixed mortgage tops 6pc for first time since 2008

The average rate on a two-year fixed mortgage has surged past 6pc, highlighting the looming crisis facing the property sector.

The average deal offered by lenders is now 6.07pc, according to figures from Moneyfacts.

The last time it was higher than 6pc was back in November 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis.

The average fix-year fixed mortgage stands at 5.97pc.

09:54 AM

UK business activity suffers biggest slide since early 2021

Following lacklustre data in the eurozone, things aren’t looking much better here either.

UK businesses suffered the largest contraction in activity since early last year in September, though the downturn was a little less severe than first estimated.

The S&P Global PMI fell to 49.1 in September from 49.6 in August – the lowest reading since January 2021 when much of the UK was still in lockdown.

While the reading was an improvement on a preliminary reading of 48.4, services companies that comprise the bulk of the economy were the least positive about the outlook since May 2020, early in the pandemic.

Tim Moore, economics director at S&P Global, said:

Service sector businesses trimmed their growth expectations to the lowest seen for nearly two-and-a-half years in September, which survey respondents linked to concerns about falling disposable income and the unfavourable global economic outlook.

S&P Global PMI - S&P Global

S&P Global PMI – S&P Global

09:38 AM

German trade exports rebound despite recession fears

German exports rebounded in August thanks to strong demand from the US, but analysts warned the outlook for Europe’s top economy remained gloomy.

Germany exported €133.1bn worth of goods over the month, up 1.6pc month-on-month, according to official figures. In July, exports had plunged by 2.1pc.

The increase beat analyst expectations and was mainly driven by a 12pc jump in US demand for “made in Germany” goods.

But shipments to fellow EU countries fell, as the continent grapples with soaring inflation and skyrocketing energy prices in the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Higher global prices and a weaker euro pushed up the cost of German imports in August, which rose by 3.4pc to €131.9bn, narrowing the country’s trade surplus to €1.2bn.

09:30 AM

Tesco lowers profit forecast as it cuts prices to keep customers

Tesco profits Aldi Lidl - REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

Tesco profits Aldi Lidl – REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

Britain’s largest supermarket chain Tesco is expecting profits at the lower end of its forecasts as it battles to keep prices down to stop customers switching to Aldi and Lidl.

Here’s more detail from Hannah Boland:

Tesco said retail adjusted operating profit would come in between £2.4bn and £2.5bn for the full year amid “significant uncertainties”, particularly how customers are responding to the cost-of-living crisis. It had previously expected profits could go as high as £2.6bn.

It comes after recent data from Kantar suggested the discounters were taking more market share, as customers seek out cheaper alternatives to cope with their rising household bills.

Lidl is currently the fastest-growing supermarket, according to the Kantar figures. Aldi has overtaken Morrisons as the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket.

Tesco said it was seeing more of its own customers buying own-brand products as well as more frozen food in response to the pressures. Across the business, it posted a 0.7pc rise in like-for-like UK sales in the first half.

Read Hannah’s full story here

09:19 AM

Pound tumbles in volatile trading

Sterling has been on a wild ride this morning, but it now appears to be firmly in the red.

The pound jumped as much as 1pc earlier to near $1.15 – its highest level in three weeks. A reversal of Liz Truss’s tax cuts has helped to restore calm after last week’s market turmoil.

But the boost was short-lived, with the pound tumbling 0.6pc against a strengthening dollar to briefly dip below $1.14.

09:03 AM

EU proposes temporary gas price cap

The EU is proposing a temporary price cap on natural gas until a new price index can be introduced.

Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, told the European Parliament: “Introducing a cap on gas overall is a temporary solution until we will have a new EU price index developed that ensures a better functioning of the market and the Commission has already started to work on this.”

Ms Von der Leyen also said she would spell out in a letter to EU leaders that the bloc should put in place a joint procurement system for energy.

08:46 AM

FTSE risers and fallers

The FTSE 100 is on the back foot this morning as investors took a break after a two-day rally.

The blue-chip index fell as much as 0.6pc in early trading, dragged down by major energy and banking stocks.

Tesco pushed 0.2pc higher even after it trimmed its profit guidance amid tough competition from discount rivals.

The domestically-focused FTSE 250 shed 0.5pc.

08:17 AM

Russia resumes gas supplies to Italy

Supplies of Russian gas to Italy through Austria are now resuming after a shutdown over the weekend, according to Gazprom.

The Kremlin-controlled gas producer said it had “managed to find a solution” to what it described as regulatory changes in Austria at the end of September that sparked the halt.

According to Gazprom, the Austrian operator said it’s ready to confirm transit nominations that will allow Russian gas supplies to resume.

08:03 AM

FTSE 100 dips at the open

The FTSE 100 has started the day in the red after posting sharp gains on Tuesday as a fall in US job openings eased concerns about interest rate rises.

The blue-chip index dropped 0.6pc to 7,046 points.

07:43 AM

Oil holds gains as Opec gears up for huge supply cut

Oil prices have held their two-day surge ahead of an Opec meeting at which the producer cartel is considering its biggest supply cut since 2020.

Benchmark Brent crude was trading at just under $92 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate was near $86. Prices have surged around 9pc over the last two sessions.

Opec will discuss reducing production by as much as 2m barrels per day – double the volume previously flagged.

A cut of that scale would reflect how aggressively the group wants to revive prices as rising interest rates and a looming recession threaten demand.

07:38 AM

Drivers denied 10p cut in petrol prices

RAC fuel prices - Joe Giddens/PA Wire

RAC fuel prices – Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Drivers are being denied a further 10p cut in petrol prices as forecourt operators fail to pass on falling fuel costs in full, according to the RAC.

The RAC said the average price of a litre of the fuel in the UK fell by nearly 7p to 162.9p in September as oil prices plummeted.

This was the sixth biggest monthly drop in average petrol prices since 2000 but the cut should have been deeper, the motoring services company claimed.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Drivers really should have seen a far bigger drop as the wholesale price of delivered petrol was around 120p for the whole month.

“This means forecourts across the country should have been displaying prices around 152p given the long-term margin on unleaded is 7p a litre.

“In stark contrast to this, RAC Fuel Watch data has shown margins to be around 17p a litre – a huge 10p more than normal.”

Supermarkets normally charge around 3.5p per litre less than the UK average but are currently only around 1.5p cheaper.

07:24 AM

Tesco cuts profit guidance as discount battle heats up

Tesco profit cost-of-living discount - REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

Tesco profit cost-of-living discount – REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

Tesco has warned full-year profit will be at the lower end of its guidance as more shoppers turn to discount rivals during the cost-of-living crisis.

Britain’s biggest supermarket said operating profit will be between £2.4bn and £2.5bn, down from the upper end of £2.6bn previously reported.

However, Tesco reported a 0.7pc rise in like-for-like UK sales in the first half – beating analysts’ estimates of a decline.

Tesco is battling to keep hold of shoppers amid rising competition from cheaper rivals Aldi and Lidl as sky-high inflation pushes up the price of groceries and energy bills.

The retailer also said it’s trying to deliver its three-year savings goal a year early and reach £1bn of savings by February 2024.

The supermarket launched a new price-lock commitment, freezing the prices of more than 1,000 everyday products until 2023.

06:45 AM

Truss: Disruption ahead in my plan to end ‘drift and delay’

Liz Truss will on Wednesday warn that there will be further disruption as she fights to deliver economic growth, Daniel Martin and Ben Riley-Smith write.

After a turbulent week, the Prime Minister will acknowledge that not everyone will be in favour of her reforms – but will insist that an end to “drift and delay” is necessary to protect jobs and public services.

After facing days of opposition to her tax-cutting agenda, she will launch an attack on what she will call the “anti-growth coalition” – arguing that her “new approach” will “unleash the full potential of our great country”.

Read more: Disruption is the price of success, insists Liz Truss

05:55 AM

Odey’s hedge fund posts massive gains

Crispin Odey has made returns of almost 200pc so far this year as market turmoil and a slump in the pound boosted gains at his hedge fund, Matt Oliver writes.

The Tory donor, who was a vocal backer of the Brexit campaign, last week declared that government bonds were “the gift that keeps on giving” after prices plunged.

He has previously bet that the pound would slide against the dollar, while also shorting gilts.

Read more: Crispin Odey’s hedge fund gains surge by 193pc

Crispin Odey -  Julian Simmonds

Crispin Odey – Julian Simmonds

05:33 AM

Exxon set for bumper third quarter

Exxon Mobil Corp on Tuesday signalled strong third-quarter operating profits on the heels of the prior quarter’s all-time high as earnings from natural gas offset weaker refining and chemicals, according to a securities filing.

The largest U.S. oil producer issued a snapshot of factors affecting its third quarter that showed results could land near the company’s $17.9 billion second-quarter profit.

Exxon and rivals this year have posted sky-high earnings on rising energy prices and demand aided by cost-cutting. Gas prices, in particular, have soared this year on strong demand from Europe since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A tanker arrives at the Esso Fawley Oil Refinery, operated by Exxon Mobil Corp - Bloomberg

A tanker arrives at the Esso Fawley Oil Refinery, operated by Exxon Mobil Corp – Bloomberg

05:09 AM

Dollar suffers worst day for years

The dollar nursed its biggest losses for years on Wednesday, after a dovish central bank surprise in Australia had investors wondering whether a peak is in sight for global interest rates.

Overnight the US dollar fell about 1.6pc on the euro to test parity at $0.9999 and 1.3pc against sterling to $1.1490. The US dollar index fell 1.3pc, its biggest drop since the wild pandemic market of March 2020. It is down more than 4pc since hitting a 20-year peak last week.

04:58 AM

Elon Musk revives deal to buy Twitter

Good morning.

Elon Musk is on course to buy Twitter after reviving a takeover offer for the company.

The world’s richest person has caved to Twitter’s legal demands to buy the social media network for $44bn just days before a court battle over the deal was due to begin.

Twitter’s shares on the New York Stock Exchange were suspended from trading on Tuesday night after its price rocketed 22pc following reports that Mr Musk had offered to proceed with the takeover.

Mr Musk made the proposal in a letter to Twitter, Bloomberg reported, offering to pay the original offer price of $54.20 a share which was first tabled in April.

Read the full story here.

5 things to start your day

1)  Rees-Mogg attacks ‘idiotic’ green levies on UK steel industry. The business secretary said it was “madness” that the UK was retaining levies implemented under legacy Brussels rules.

2) The Bank of England stops buying bonds as market chaos subsides. On Tuesday the bank said it rejected all £2.2bn worth of bonds offered for sale by investors.

3) Truss in talks with Norway to supply gas for 20 years amid blackout fears. Ministers are in talks with counterparts over a possible 20-year contract.

4) Shut the railways during summer for engineering work, says former transport secretary. Lord McLoughlin, transport secretary between 2012 and 2016, said disruption during Christmas, Easter and other Bank Holidays could then be avoided.

5) Woodford-style run on funds worth $41 trillion threaten global stability, warns IMF. Open-ended investment funds have grown four-fold in value since the financial crisis.

What happened overnight

Stocks in Hong Kong grew as trading resumed after a holiday, playing catch-up to the rally in global equities.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose more than 5pc on Wednesday, led by tech and finance names. A gauge of Chinese technology stocks listed in the city rallied as much as 7pc. Mainland China markets remain shut for the Golden Week holiday.

Tokyo shares opened higher on Wednesday, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.79pc, or 212.41 points, to 27,204.62 in early trade, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.90pc, or 17.07 points, to 1,923.96.

Coming up today

  • Economics: Services PMI (UK, US, EU), Composite PMI (UK, US, EU), ADP employment change (US), goods and services trade balance (US), trade balance (Germany)

  • Corporate: Tesco, (interim), Hyve Group (trading statement), Topps Tiles (trading statement)

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