France economy

Urgent action needed in the face of energy crisis, says Italian Mario Draghi


We start with rather grim data on the health of the UK economy.

The ONS has downgraded its third-quarter GDP growth figures from 1.3% to 1.1%. This is a marked slowdown from the 5.4% growth recorded when the country reopened in the second quarter.

This suggests that the recovery was in trouble even before the omicron variant hit, and investors will be pessimistic about the growth outlook in the fourth quarter.

The only bright spot is that the economy is now only 1.5% smaller than its pre-Covid levels in the fourth quarter of 2019, instead of a previous estimate of 2.1% smaller. That’s thanks to some upward revisions to growth in 2020.

5 things to start your day

1) Ministers stand up to Sage doomsters as economic fears mount No model on the impact of a new lockdown has been presented to Cabinet, posing the risk of more unbalanced decision-making

2) Gas prices hit new records as fears of a winter crisis escalate Low storage levels across Europe, reduced production from renewable sources and delays in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline are all contributing factors

3) Airbus and Boeing call for 5G delay over aircraft safety fears World’s Two Biggest Aircraft Manufacturers Call on Biden Administration to Support Postponement of U.S. Broadband Network Deployment

4) European pandemic stimulus fund collapses as billions go to old projects Most of the subsidies allocated as part of the bloc’s recovery plan finance investments already on the drawing board

5) Bitcoin will replace the US dollar, according to Jack Dorsey The Twitter founder, who recently stepped down as chief executive, made the prediction in a series of controversial online exchanges.

What happened during the night

Most Asian markets rose on Wednesday, prolonging a global rally as investors assess the impact of the fast-spreading omicron variant.

Traders are also monitoring developments in Washington after President Joe Biden reassured investors by calling for vaccinations and testing, but no travel restrictions in response to omicron.

Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta increased but Sydney and Wellington fell.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo and the Shanghai Composite Index both rose 0.1%, to 28,548.80 and 3,629.47 respectively, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.7 % at 23,143.11.

Coming today

  • Business : Heineken, Winnebago (Intermediate results); Revolution bars (AGM)
  • Economy: GDP (United Kingdom, United States), Chicago Fed National Activity Index (WE), personal consumption expenditure (WE), consumer confidence (WE)