Falling House Prices Add to New Year Gloom: The London Rush
If yesterday’s strong results from high street retailers cheered you up, new data showing a fourth consecutive fall in UK house prices might just bring you straight back down. It reflects the impact of rising interest rates, inflation and the cost of living, and could be bad news for the country’s homebuilders — a few of which we’re due to hear from next week.
(Bloomberg) — If yesterday’s strong results from high street retailers cheered you up, new data showing a fourth consecutive fall in UK house prices might just bring you straight back down. It reflects the impact of rising interest rates, inflation and the cost of living, and could be bad news for the country’s homebuilders — a few of which we’re due to hear from next week.
Here’s the key business news from London this morning:
In The City
Shell Plc: The energy giant said its gas-trading earnings were “significantly higher” in the final three months of 2022, despite operational problems at liquefaction plants in Australia.
- The company said it will pay about $2 billion in extra taxes as a result of the UK’s Energy Profits Levy and the EU’s “solidarity contribution” in the fourth quarter
Frasers Group Plc: The fashion retail group cut its exposure to Hugo Boss, a stake it has been building since 2020.
- The company’s total exposure to the company is now about €660 million, down from €1 billion in November
AIB Group Plc: Ireland’s finance department extended its share trading plan, as it looks to sell down its stake in the bank.
- The plan has contributed to the state’s holding falling to about 57% from 71.12% at the beginning of 2022
Clarkson Plc: The shipping services company expects its 2022 results to be above current market expectations following strong trading in the final quarter, especially in its broking division.
The UK government agreed to work with BioNTech SE to treat as many as 10,000 cancer patients with personalized therapies by 2030, a research partnership that will give the German company better known for its Covid-19 vaccine quicker access to patients it needs to test its drugs.
Even before Rishi Sunak signaled the end of a “golden era” of relations with China, a growing number of Chinese firms in the UK had identified deteriorating geopolitical relations as their biggest challenge. Some 78% of firms polled by the China Chamber of Commerce in the UK said a “complex geopolitical landscape” is the greatest threat to their operations. That’s up from 75% in 2021 and 53% in 2020.
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Nursing wants the government to meet it “halfway” on pay, the union’s chief said, in another sign of softening positions ahead of more planned strikes later this month.
In Case You Missed It
Standard Chartered Plc’s Bill Winters wanted to mark the start of 2023 “with a little kindness,” he said on LinkedIn, but instead finds himself in the middle of a fresh debate about the emerging market lender’s future. On Thursday, First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC revealed it had looked at a bid for Standard Chartered in a statement that came minutes after Bloomberg reported that the Middle East’s largest bank had spent months exploring options, including a takeover.
Finally, the bad news for UK small caps “may soon be over.” Listen to the latest episode of the Merryn Talks Money podcast:
Next week will see the long fourth-quarter earnings season get underway, with supermarkets Tesco Plc and J Sainsbury Plc, homebuilders Persimmon Plc and Taylor Wimpey Plc and online fashion retailer Asos Plc all due to report.
For a news fix when the day is done, sign up to The Readout with Allegra Stratton, to make sense of the day’s events.
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