Russia’s budget deficit jumped in the first two months of the year as Vladimir Putin suffered a slump in oil and gas takings amid sanctions triggered by his war in Ukraine.
The Kremlin’s shortfall reached 2.58trn roubles (£29bn) in January and February, with spending 51.5pc higher in the first two months of 2023 at 5.74trn roubles (£64bn), the Finance Ministry said today.
While it did not break out the monthly totals, spending in February appeared to fall from January’s 3.12trn rubles (£35bn).
Russia’s economy proved unexpectedly resilient in the face of Western sanctions last year, but it looks to be facing a squeeze as more government spending is directed towards the military.
Price caps are also impacting Russia’s crucial energy export earnings. Oil and gas revenues were 46.4pc lower at 947bn roubles (£10.5bn) from January to February than in the same period last year.
Overall budget revenues for the month were down 24.8pc.
Moscow relies on income from oil and gas – last year around 11.6trn roubles (£130bn) – to fund its budget spending. It has been forced to start selling international reserves to cover a deficit stretched by the cost of the Ukraine conflict.
Andrew Bailey hits out at post-Brexit reforms to protect City
Post-Brexit financial reforms intended to bolster the ailing City will increase the risk of insurance firms going bust and potentially leave taxpayers with a multi-billion pound bill, Andrew Bailey has warned.
Economics editor Szu Ping Chan has more:
The Governor of the Bank of England told MPs that changes to the so-called Solvency II rules governing investments by the insurance industry increased the “probability of failure” by a fifth.
Insurers have embraced the overhaul of Solvency II, which will allow them to plough £100bn more into the UK economy by investing in higher-risk assets such as green energy infrastructure.
But Threadneedle Street is locked in a tussle with the City and Treasury over the speed and scope of post-Brexit rule changes. The Bank finally said last month that it will publish a roadmap on how new rules will be adopted by the end of this year.
Mr Bailey told MPs on the Treasury Select Committee that relaxing Solvency II capital buffer rules will free up £14bn over a one-year period but increase the probability of an insurer failing from 0.5pc to 0.6pc – an increase of 20pc.
Responding to a series of questions from the committee’s chairman Harriett Baldwin, Mr Bailey said “less than half of this increase would have occurred” if the PRA’s more cautious recommendations on risk exposures had been adopted.
It comes amid fears of an exodus by major companies from the City of London because of a lack of UK competitiveness.
Read the full story here
FTSE 100 ends Monday in the red
The FTSE 100 has closed 0.22pc lower at 7,929.79.
Declining metal prices weighed down FTSE 100-listed mining giants, following the decision of top metals consumer China to set a modest growth target for the year.
Fallers included Anglo-American (share price down 3.66pc), Glencore (down 3.82pc) and Rio Tinto (down 0.84pc).
Ocado’s share price also dropped 3.13pc after investment bank Morgan Stanley slashed its price target on the online grocer after its US partner Kroger said it will not be launching any more customer fulfillment centres this year.
However, the domestically focused FTSE 250 index closed 0.69pc higher at 20,064.11.
Russia’s central bank extends capital controls
Russia’s central bank has extended a number of emergency capital controls, as the Ukraine war squeezes the country’s economy.
Foreign currency withdrawals, money transfers abroad and commission charges charged by banks have been restricted for another six months from today.
The emergency measures were introduced after Western sanctions cut Russia’s biggest banks from the SWIFT global payments system, curbing its access to technology and limiting its oil exports.
The capital controls are designed to stabilise Russia’s banking sector and shore up the rouble.
Russia’s economy proved unexpectedly resilient in the face of Western sanctions last year, but it looks to be facing a squeeze as more government spending is directed towards the military.
BOE efforts to lower inflation too quickly risks ‘unpleasant’ results, warns NatWest boss
The Bank of England faces “unpleasant” results if it tries to lower inflation down to its 2pc target too quickly, a British bank boss has warned.
Howard Davies, the chairman of NatWest Group, believes that inflation in the UK economy is “more embedded than we wanted”, Bloomberg reported.
“If they really try to get to 2pc next year then it’s going to be unpleasant. They would have to raise rates quite a bit and in order to get down to that you’ve got to change expectations, and changing expectations is tough,” he told Bloomberg Television.
Mr Davies said that he would instead prefer rate setters to aim for 3pc or 4pc next year.
I’m signing off now. Adam Mawardi will keep you abreast with all the latest news into the evening.
DUP sets up panel to examine Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has announced he is forming a panel to scrutinise Rishi Sunak’s new Brexit deal.
Politics Live Blog editor Jack Maidment has the latest:
The eight-member panel will examine views on the so-called “Windsor Framework” which was signed last week between the UK and the EU to address concerns around the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The panel will include former DUP leaders Baroness Foster and Peter Robinson. It will comprise of people with a range of “political, legal and business experience”.
Its findings will inform the party’s decision on whether to support the deal. It will provide Sir Jeffrey with a report by the end of March.
Sir Jeffrey said: “History teaches us that it is always better to get the right outcome for Northern Ireland rather than a rushed one.”
Check out The Telegraph’s Politics Live Blog for further updates on Mr Sunak’s Brexit deal.
Tesla Model Y price drops by £2,770 as Elon Musk slashes prices again
Elon Musk’s Tesla has cut the price of its cars in the UK for the second time this year in an effort to boost demand.
The price of a basic Model Y has been reduced by 6pc to £44,320 while the lowest-spec Model 3 is also down 6pc, at £40,470, according to Tesla’s UK website.
Industry editor Howard Mustoe has the details:
Prices were dropped around the world, including a fifth round of discounting in the US. Tesla knocked 4pc off the performance version of its Model S and 9pc off the more expensive Model X in the US.
Tesla has been cutting prices in a bid to boost sales and fend off competition from established manufacturers as well as newer Chinese rivals.
Mr Musk said at an investor day last week: “The desire for people to own a Tesla is extremely high. The limiting factor is their ability to pay for a Tesla.”
In January, the Californian company cut the price of its models by up to £8,000 in the UK, making some cheaper models almost comparable to affordable brands such as Skoda and Kia.
Click here for the full story.
Costa Coffee increases salaries as minimum wage rise looms
Costa Coffee has unveiled plans to increase salaries for more than 16,000 UK workers as it became the latest company to ramp up pay ahead of the minimum wage increase.
The coffee chain, which is owned by the Coca-Cola Company, said it will raise the base rate of pay for workers across its 1,520 company-owned stores in the UK from £10 an hour to £10.70 an hour from April 1.
More experienced baristas will see their base pay rise from £10.53 to at least £11.23 an hour, depending on location and role.
The rises will see pay increase by between 6.1pc and 7.3pc, excluding bonuses – working out at 6.7pc on average.
It follows an announcement by rival Pret A Manger last week that it would increase the base salaries of its workers from the start of next month by 2.9pc, from £10.30 an hour to £10.60 an hour.
The moves come ahead of a 9.7pc increase in the national living wage – the law stating the minimum amount that companies are allowed to pay people over 23 – to £10.42 an hour on April 1.
Europe to end winter with record level of gas reserves, forecasters predict
European gas storage levels are on course to end this winter at record levels, with forecasts for next winter “considerably more positive” than they were last autumn, according to analysts.
The continent will end the season with its capacity 45pc to 61pc full and could be up to 100pc full by September, modelling from Cornwall Insight suggests.
The high end of gas level forecasts for this winter would be ahead of the previous end of winter record of 54pc set in 2020.
Gas prices have fallen 6pc today to €42.30 per megawatt hour, their lowest level since August 2021.
However, Dr Matthew Chadwick, lead research analyst at Cornwall Insight, said compensating for falling Russian gas flows would “keep gas bills higher,” adding:
Forecasts for European gas storage levels going into next winter are considerably more positive than they were last autumn.
As the risk of gas shortages falls, many may take this to mean Europe is past the peak of the energy crisis, but I would advise caution.
Any single factor can influence the pace and pattern of storage refill, and perhaps more pertinently, change the cost paid to achieve it. We are certainly not out of the woods yet.
What may ease this year is the heightened level of understandable panic that led to hectic energy-buying practices during the autumn of 2022.
As a result, we can probably expect prices to be much more muted than 2022, despite any uncertainties that may come into play.
Wall Street rises at the open
US market edged higher as Treasury yields retreated ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony this week that could offer fresh cues on the trajectory of interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1pc to 33,437.43 while the broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.3pc to 4,058.50.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lifted 0.6pc to 11,760.09.
Putin controls more powerful computers than Britain, Sunak warned
Britain has fallen behind Russia and China in the global supercomputing race, ministers have been warned.
Senior technology reporter Matthew Field has the details:
Top scientists have urged Rishi Sunak to invest $600m in building a new supercomputer capable of training up advanced artificial intelligence programmes.
A lack of investment now “threatens [the UK’s] standing as an international leader in science and technology”, ministers have been warned.
Britain has slid down the global rankings in terms of its large-scale computing capabilities, according to a government review published today.
Read the countries the UK now ranks behind, having ranked third for total supercomputer capacity in 2005.
Oil falls as China sets low growth target
Oil prices have declined as China’s modest new growth ambitions tempered expectations for global fuel consumption.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, has fallen 1.2pc below $85 a barrel.
US-produced West Texas Intermediate is also down 1.2pc to trade below $79 after gaining more than 4pc last week.
China’s Premier Li Keqiang announced a goal for in the country’s economy of around 5pc at the annual National People’s Congress on Sunday, lower than economists had expected.
China, the world’s largest oil importer, ended its restrictive zero-Covid policy late last year which had hampered its growth.
Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS, said:
The GDP forecasts from China were a rather low target and may be a potential reason for oil’s weakness today.
But we expect China will come in a bit above target. If Chinese imports rise and Russian production falls, prices should move higher from here.
UBS boss boosts pay to £11m despite cutting bonuses
The boss of Swiss banking giant UBS enjoyed an 11pc boost in his total pay package to nearly £11m last year, despite the bank reducing its bonus pool to share among staff.
Ralph Hamers, the group’s chief executive, took home 12.2m Swiss francs (£10.9m) as the bank saw its net profit rise by 2pc year-on-year, it revealed in its annual report.
The pay packet included his base salary and cash performance award payments granted during the year, and was 11pc higher than the 11m Swiss francs (£9.8m) he pocketed in 2021.
The bank, which operates globally, raked in a net profit of $7.63bn (£6.8bn) in 2022, up 2pc on 2021, after finishing the year with a record volume of loans and deposits across its customers.
However, bankers across UBS saw their compensation levels cut over the year.
The total bonus pot hit $3.3bn (£2.9bn), down 10pc from the $3.65bn (£3.25bn) awarded over 2021.
It came despite the total bonus pool for UBS’s group executive board increasing by 2pc in Swiss franc terms.
Tentative open expected on US markets
Wall Street is expected to open meekly as investors await testimony later in the week from the Federal Reserve Chairman for clues about interest rates.
The three main US stock indexes rallied on Friday and notched weekly gains as Treasury yields pulled back from their peaks after comments from Fed policymakers calmed jitters over aggressive rate hikes.
The yield on US 10-year Treasury notes slipped to 3.92pc, its lowest since March 1, while the two-year yield inched down to 4.85pc after touching its highest since 2007 last week.
Jerome Powell will be testifying before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday and investors will watch for clues on the policy outlook, after recent strong economic data and hot inflation numbers fuelled bets for more interest rate hikes this year.
Traders expect at least three 25-basis-point hikes this year and see interest rates peaking at 5.44pc by September from 4.67pc now.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were flat, while the S&P 500 looks set to rise 0.1pc. The Nasdaq 100 was up 0.3pc in pre-market trading.
CBI hires law firm to carry out Danker investigation
The CBI has hired law firm Fox Williams to conduct the investigation into misconduct allegations against its director-general Tony Danker, who has stepped aside to allow the work to take place.
The firm confirmed that Joanna Chatterton, the head of its employment law team, will carry out the work.
Drax power station workers call off strikes as they accept pay deal
Strike action at the Drax power station in Yorkshire has ended after workers secured an improved pay offer.
Members voted to accept the new deal, which over a nine month period with back pay equates to an increase of 16pc for the lowest paid workers.
More than 180 union members went on strike for a day last month after rejecting an 8pc pay increase.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:
This was an excellent increase for Unite members at Drax, who by showing unity and standing up to their employer secured a vastly improved pay increase.
The pay increase at Drax demonstrates how Unite’s absolute commitment to focus on jobs, pay and conditions is delivering for members.
Musk mocks BBC investigation into abuse on Twitter
Twitter owner Elon Musk has responded with mockery to a BBC investigation which said the social media platform is struggling to protect users from online abuse and child sexual exploitation, among other things.
In a tweet, the entrepreneur apologised “for turning Twitter from nurturing paradise into place that has … trolls.”
He also responded to a user who said that before Mr Musk’s takeover of the platform no one had ever said anything mean to them. “It was a beautiful utopia. Now I fear for my life daily,” the user said.
In response Mr Musk wrote: “Literally roflmao” – short for rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.
The BBC Panorama report cited figures from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue think tank which showed that tens of thousands of new accounts have popped up and immediately followed known abusive and misogynistic profiles since Mr Musk took over.
The figures were 69pc higher than before he was in charge, suggesting a “permissive environment,” the report claimed.
Danker says it is ‘mortifying to hear that I have caused offence or anxiety’
Tony Danker, who has stepped aside as CBI director-general while the investigation takes place, said:
It’s been mortifying to hear that I have caused offence or anxiety to any colleague. It was completely unintentional, and I apologise profusely
The CBI is the employers’ organisation, and I am very proud to be its leader.
We always strive for the highest standards. I therefore support the decision we’ve taken to review any new allegations independently.
And I have decided to step aside while the review takes place and will cooperate fully with it.
CBI chief to step aside after misconduct allegations
The director-general of the Confederation of British Industry is stepping aside after complaints about his personal conduct.
Tony Danker will step back after the business organisation, known as the CBI, said it was made aware of new reports regarding his workplace conduct.
It has begun an independent investigation into the claims, which follow separate allegations it investigated in January this year, which it decided “did not require escalation to a disciplinary process”.
The CBI said: “On March 2, the CBI was made aware of new reports regarding Tony Danker’s workplace conduct.
“We have now taken steps to initiate an independent investigation into these new matters.
“Tony Danker asked to step aside from his role as director-general of the CBI while the independent investigation into these matters takes place.
“The CBI takes all matters of workplace conduct extremely seriously but it is important to stress that until this investigation is complete, any new allegations remain unproven and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”
Mr Danker said: “It’s been mortifying to hear that I have caused offence or anxiety to any colleague. It was completely unintentional, and I apologise profusely
“The CBI is the employers’ organisation, and I am very proud to be its leader. We always strive for the highest standards.
“I therefore support the decision we’ve taken to review any new allegations independently. And I have decided to step aside while the review takes place and will cooperate fully with it.”
Matthew Fell will take over as interim director-general.
Pound falls as traders weigh up risk outlook
The pound has slipped as investors await testimony from the Federal Reserve Chairman ahead of the February jobs report at the end of the week.
Traders are analysing what risk sentiment is around the world as they look for direction on the currency markets. The spotlight will be firmly on the US February jobs report scheduled for Friday.
Meanwhile, Jerome Powell’s testimony to Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday that will likely influence how much more the US central bank will raise interest rates.
The pound has fallen 0.3pc against the dollar, heading back towards $1.20.
The euro has climbed 0.2pc to be worth 88.5p after the European Central Bank’s chief economist said it will probably need to raise borrowing costs again after an increase already pencilled in for next week.
Philip Lane said: “The current information on underlying inflation pressures suggests that it will be appropriate to raise rates further beyond our March meeting.”
Citi to double number of Paris staff in post-Brexit blow to London
An executive at one of Wall Street’s biggest banks has said it is easier to hire in Paris than London in comments likely to fuel concern about Britain’s competitiveness.
Fabio Lisanti, head of Citigroup’s European trading business, which excludes the UK, is overseeing the creation of a new trading floor and the near-doubling of his workforce in the French capital.
Citigroup is taking on an extra floor in its office near the Arc de Triomphe, allowing its headcount to rise from about 130 today to 250 in the coming years.
Mr Lisanti said that Citigroup had been able to “hire talent in Paris that we would never have been able to attract in London”.
He told Bloomberg: “London remains the main trading hub for us. But we have and will move certain risk management and risk books in Europe. We’ve already moved quite a few and there’s more to go.”
Major banks have been forced to move more of their operations to Europe post-Brexit, specifically the trading of European Union assets such as government bonds.
Mr Lisanti, who was previously based in London for six years, told Bloomberg that Paris was emerging as a top destination for American banks.
He said: “What has brought people to Paris is the fact that it’s a very international town to begin with.
“One of the things we should not forget is us moving to Paris or to Europe, there is a strong commercial reason for that.
“We will cover our clients better, we will create better teams, stronger teams and ultimately be able to generate revenues more effectively and efficiently.”
The comments by Fabio Lisanti, head of Citigroup’s European trading business, which excludes the UK, will set alarm bells ringing in the City and in Whitehall.
The French government continues to promote Paris as a rival financial centre to London.
In the wake of changing regulations after Brexit, top banks have moved some of their previously City-based operations to the Continent to ensure they retain access to EU financial markets.
The French capital has benefited the most from the shift, according to estimates by consultant EY.
Goldman Sachs, which has taken a new office in Paris, has grown its French headcount from about 170 people in 2017 to 350 at the end of last year, while JP Morgan has seen its own staff numbers rise from 250 pre-Brexit to 800.
GB News breached Ofcom rules over Covid vaccine data
GB News has been found to have breached Ofcom rules for the first time over claims about third Covid vaccinations.
The regulator said its Mark Steyn programme “presented a materially misleading interpretation of official data” without sufficient challenge.
The broadcast on April 21 last year claimed that official UKHSA data provided definitive evidence of a causal link between receiving a third Covid-19 vaccine and higher infection, hospitalisation and death rates.
However, Ofcom said the way the data was presented to viewers during the programme did not take account of the significant differences in age or health of people in the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups studied. Ofcom added:
We also took into account the definitive way in which the misleading interpretation of the data was presented, and the absence of adequate counterweight or genuine challenge.
The programme also failed to reflect that the UKHSA reports made clear that the raw data contained within them should not be used to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the vaccine.
A GB News spokesman said the channel was “disappointed by Ofcom’s finding” and said Mr Steyn, who is no longer with the channel, was using the government’s own data to highlight inconsistencies.
Fresh blow to London as British data company plots New York listing
A major British data company has confirmed plans to seek a stock market listing in New York in a fresh blow to London.
Senior technology reporter Gareth Corfield has the details:
WANdisco, a big data company worth £875m, said today it was exploring “an additional listing of its ordinary shares in the United States”.
The company, which has headquarters in both Sheffield and California, said it would retain its existing listing on London’s junior AIM stock market.
However, the timing of the announcement is likely to fuel fears about the long-term competitiveness of the British stock market.
Read why here.
Aston Martin shares surge after Fernando Alonso’s shock F1 finish
Aston Martin shares surged as much as 22pc in a bizarre rally that analysts are speculating has been prompted by a surprise podium finish in Formula 1.
Fernando Alonso pulled off an inspired drive to lead the unfancied Aston Martin Lagonda to a third placed finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Shares in the luxury car maker began to rise last week after it revealed it had cut losses to £495m last year and had already pre-sold many of the sports cars it plans to make this year.
The company reported better than expected production numbers for its Valkyrie hypercars. The £2.5m vehicles have the same high-end specifications of a Formula 1 track car.
Speculating on the reason behind the share surge, Anthony Dick, an auto analyst at Oddo BHF, said it “could be some shorts covering or generally improved perception on the back of reassuring FY22 results”.
He added: “It’s also possible the F1 performance could have something to do with it.”
However, Jefferies analysts warned the shares “have run ahead of themselves”, setting a target price of £1.60, which is 45pc below its intraday price of £2.94.
Contractors hope ‘worst of the economy’s storms have passed,’ says Lloyds
Activity in the UK’s construction sector bounced back in February, with the strongest rate of growth for nine months, according to new figures.
The latest S&P Global/CIPS construction purchasing managers’ index scored 54.6 last month, rising from 48.4 in January.
Max Jones, director in Lloyds Bank’s infrastructure and construction team, said:
A return to growth will be welcomed by contractors, who are hoping the worst of the economy’s storms have passed.
Despite an uncertain economic picture, many in the industry feel confident. Payment times are proving resilient across supply chains, pipelines on infrastructure and commercial projects are holding up well and inflation, for materials and labour, looks to have passed its peak.
The industry will be closely monitoring this month’s Budget. While few expect the Chancellor to pull any rabbits out of his hat, clarity around future projects, particularly in the regions, will give contractors the confidence they need to plan and invest in the future.
Construction activity rises at fastest pace for nine months
The construction industry rebounded after two months of declines as an uptick in commercial work filled the gap left by a slowdown in the housing sector, according to a closely watched survey of activity.
The S&P Global/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers’ index reached 54.6 in February, up from 48.4 in January. A figure above 50 indicates expansion, while below shows contraction.
A slowdown in input cost inflation helped the industry, with purchase price increases rising at their slowest pace since November 2020.
Business expectations for the year ahead improved further from the 31-month low seen in December. Around 46pc
of the survey panel anticipate a rise in construction activity over the year ahead, while only 13pc predict a decline.
Tim Moore, economics director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said:
Some firms noted that fading recession fears and an improving global economic outlook had boosted client confidence in the commercial segment.
At the same time, work on major infrastructure projects such as HS2 contributed to the expansion of civil engineering activity in February.
Cutbacks to new house building projects remained the weak spot for construction sector activity, with total residential work falling for the third month running in February.
Moderna to build vaccine centre in UK
Covid jab maker Moderna has confirmed it will move to the UK and build a vaccine-manufacturing centre after the Government signed a 10-year deal with the company to buy its medicines for the NHS.
The US business said the new Moderna Innovation and Technology Centre at Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire will aim to provide the public with access to mRNA vaccines for a wide range of respiratory diseases.
It said the investment “will create hundreds of jobs”, with construction due to begin this year and the facility expected to open in 2025.
Car market returning towards pre-pandemic levels
The boost in new car registrations in February marked the seventh consecutive month of growth.
In all 74,441 new cars joined Britain’s roads, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a 26.2pc increase on the same month last year.
February is typically a low month for new registrations ahead of the March plate change, with today’s figure reflecting an easing supply chain shortages as the market moves closer to pre-pandemic levels.
The market remains down 6.5pc on the same month in 2020.
Electric vehicle deliveries rise 18.2pc, with all plug-in cars taking almost a quarter market share. SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said:
After seven months of growth, it is no surprise that the UK automotive sector is facing the future with growing confidence.
It is vital, however, that government takes every opportunity to back the market, which plays a significant role in Britain’s economy and net zero ambition.
As we move into ‘new plate month’ in March, with more of the latest high-tech cars available, the upcoming Budget must deliver measures that drive this transition, increasing affordability and ease of charging for all.
New car registrations rise by a quarter
New car registrations rose 26.2pc in February, compared to the same month last year, according to official figures.
This growth was an increase on the 14.7pc rise in January, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Markets make tepid start to the week
The FTSE 100 has been trading flat after miners slumped following top metals consumer China’s decision to set a modest growth target for the year.
The export-oriented index held its ground at 7,947.84 points and the more domestically-focussed FTSE 250 was up 0.1pc.
The FTSE 350 industrial metals miners lost 1.7pc.
Copper prices were in the red as top consumer China set a lower-than-expected gross domestic product target of 5pc.
Shares of Paddy Power owner Flutter climbed 1.8pc after brokerage Citigroup raised the stock’s price target to £135 from £125.
AstraZeneca said a mid-stage trial of its cancer drug Enhertu showed positive results for treating other tumours as well, lifting shares of the drugmaker by 0.1pc
Capita sells off HR business for £21m
Outsourcing firm Capita has agreed a £21m deal to sell its human resourcing businesses as it presses ahead with a plan to focus on key divisions and cut its debt.
The firm said it will offload Capita Resourcing, HR Solutions and ThirtyThree to London-based private equity firm Inspirit Capital.
The businesses provide human resourcing services to both the public and private sectors, supporting nearly 2,000 clients – including Capita – in helping them attract, hire and retain staff.
Staff and senior management teams will transfer to Inspirit Capital following the deal, which is subject to approval under the National Security and Investment Act.
It follows the recent sale of the firm’s Pay360 payments processing business, two real estate and infrastructure consultancy companies, Optima Legal and Capita Translation and Interpreting.
Capita, which has around 50,000 employees, previously announced its intention to sell a number of non-core businesses to strengthen the balance sheet and focus on its two core divisions, Capita Public Service and Capita Experience.
Citi sees Paris as greater source of talent than London
Citigroup is building a new trading floor in Paris where its boss believes it will be able to hire talent it would “never have been able to attract in London”.
Fabio Lisanti, head of the bank’s trading business across Europe, excluding the UK, acknowledged that “London remains the main trading hub for us”.
However, the new floor in its existing building will allow it to double its staff in the French capital to about 250 in the coming years.
It has been forced to trade European assets — from government bonds to interest rate products to equities —within the 27 countries that remain in the European Union after Brexit.
Mr Lisanti said:
We’ve been able to hire talent in Paris that we would never have been able to attract in London.
One of the things we should not forget is us moving to Paris or to Europe, there is a strong commercial reason for that.
We will cover our clients better, we will create better teams, stronger teams and ultimately be able to generate revenues more effectively and efficiently.
Mixed start for the markets
It has been an initially mixed start to the week for markets after China tempered a rally in shares with its modest economic growth target.
The internationally-focused FTSE 100 fell 0.1pc at the open to 7,939.71 while the domestically-orientated FTSE 250 has climbed 0.1pc.
Tories ‘squandering’ Britain’s economic potential, says Reeves
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has accused the Conservatives of “squandering” the UK’s economic potential as she called for an end to the Government’s “sticking plaster” approach.
Ahead of Jeremy Hunt’s spring Budget, the Labour frontbencher warned the “huge cost-of-living crisis” was “still the number one concern” as she spoke of the need to prioritise economic growth. She told PA:
We’ve been very clear that we’ve got to have an end to this sticking plaster politics of just solving the immediate problem, but never fixing the fundamentals, and the truth is we have got some massive immediate problems at the moment because of a failure of the Conservatives over the last 13 years to fix the foundations.
We’ve got a huge cost-of-living crisis now, still the number one concern of families and pensioners, and if the Government sticks with its current plans, the average gas and electricity bill will go up by £500 in April and it doesn’t have to be that way.
We’ve committed to extending the windfall tax and closing the loopholes that exist within it… and use that money to reduce people’s gas and electricity bills.
Sir James Dyson warns Britain in ‘race to the bottom’ after repeated tax grabs
Sir James Dyson has criticised plans for two “tax grabs” which he has said will stop businesses from boosting the economy.
The entrepreneur has taken aim at the planned increase in corporation tax from April and efforts to introduce levies on subsidiaries of UK multinational companies.
In a letter to the Chancellor, seen by the Sun, he said: “Is it any wonder that the economy is teetering on recession, or that companies like AstraZeneca are deciding to take their investment elsewhere?”
Corporation tax will rise next month from 19pc to 25pc while Jeremy Hunt said in autumn that he would bring in a 15 per cent tax rate for subsidiaries of large UK multinationals from the end of 2023.
Sir James said: “The Government has done nothing but pile tax upon tax on to British companies.”
He referred to Dyson’s £2.4bn investment in the UK on research and development and also a new campus in Wiltshire which employs 3,500 people.
He said: “You can be sure that all those numbers will reduce as a result of this measure, which amounts to yet another tax grab by governments on the basis that they know better than the private sector how to create wealth.
“It will do nothing for growth, domestic or international. A glance at the appalling wastage and inefficiency in the public sector shows that this is simply a race to the bottom.”
Sir James warned Mr Hunt of the “unintended consequences” of increasing corporation tax and bringing in a new global levy on UK businesses.
In his letter to the Chancellor, he said: “The Government has done nothing but pile tax upon tax on to British companies.”
In a speech in January, Mr Hunt had asked how Britain would make its next million companies, after generating that many companies since 2010.
Sir James said: “The policies the government is pursuing – an increase in corporation tax and a new Global Minimum Tax – will do nothing to support that, or generate the recovery and growth we need.”
Top shareholder at Credit Suisse sells off stake
One of Credit Suisse’s longest-standing shareholders sold its entire stake in the bank after about two decades of ownership and piling further pressure on the troubled Swiss lender’s leadership.
Harris Associates was the biggest shareholder in Credit Suisse for many years, and halved its 10pc holding toward the end of 2022 to 5pc.
The stock sank to a record low last week, sliding in the wake of last month’s financial results that showed a larger-than-expected loss following record outflows.
Harris Associates exited the investment over the past three to four months, chief investment officer David Herro told the Financial Times.
He said: “There is a question about the future of the franchise. There have been large outflows from wealth management.”
Credit Suisse has been escalating efforts to win back clients and stem an exodus of senior staff that has dealt a blow to its wealth business, which it sees as key to its revival.
Customers withdrew an unprecedented 110.5bn Swiss francs (£98.2bn) in the final three months of last year.
BP not slowing green transition to cash in on oil prices surge, insists US boss
BP is not cashing in on the surge in oil prices by changing its green ambitions, its US boss has insisted.
The British oil giant last month reduced its aim to cut emissions by 35pc to 40pc by the end of this decade, it is now targeting a figure of around 20pc to 30pc by 2030.
The shift was announced as BP revealed a tripling of profits to almost £7bn as the crisis in Ukraine sent fuel and energy costs rocketing amid a global shortage of supplies.
However, Dave Lawler, chair of BP America, told the Financial Times that “the strategy has not changed at all,” insisting the company would not be distracted from its energy transition plans.
He said: “What we’re going to do is invest additional dollars here, so it will come up some, and we will hold on to some assets globally longer than expected, but then those will be sold,” he said.
“It’s just an adjustment for where the world is right now,” he added, referring to the energy crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine.
BP’s shifting targets on emissions are said to be a result of concerns held by chief executive Bernard Looney.
He is said to have reservations about the returns from its investments in renewables such as wind and solar, which have been at the heart of his plans to recast the business as a green champion.
He now wants to narrow the company’s focus and persuade shareholders that it is committed to maximising profits, according to the Wall Street Journal, as concerns about energy security prompt renewed political support for oil and gas projects.
The FTSE 100 oil and gas producer made $8.4bn (£6.9bn) in profits between April and June, its highest in nearly 14 years as the crisis in Ukraine sent fuel and energy costs rocketing amid a global shortage of supplies.
It reported a profit of $2.3bn in the same period of 2021.
BP’s green strategy “has not changed at all,” its US boss has insisted, despite cutting its green targets amid surging oil and gas prices following the war in Ukraine.
The energy giant will invest up to $8bn more in oil and gas and energy transition business, meaning its emissions will fall more slowly. It has cut its target to reduce emissions from 40pc to around 25pc from 2030.
However, BP America chair Dave Lawler told the Financial Times this was “just an adjustment for where the world is right now”.
5 things to start your day
1) Windfall tax putting billions of pounds of investment at risk, Hunt warned | Chancellor urged to reverse tax raid on electricity generators in upcoming Budget
2) Cash crunch looms for nearly two million over-50s who have given up work | Research comes as Hunt is urged to make it easier for retirees to return to employment
3) Starbucks commits to Britain with plans to open 100 new UK branches | Investment plans follow reports the US company was considering selling its UK business
4) Deregulating the rental market saved Finland – and offers a blueprint for Britain | The country’s rental experiment suggests UK policymakers may be in the wrong
5) Surrey named house price discount capital of Britain | Three in five properties sold last month had a write-down on price
What happened overnight
Shares were mostly higher in Asia after strong data on the US economy sent Wall Street to its best close in six weeks.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.4pc to 20,642.89 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3pc to 3,318.56.
At the annual session of China’s rubberstamp legislature, the government set this year’s economic growth target at “around 5pc” as it tries to rebuild business activity following the end of anti-virus controls that kept millions of people at home.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has said the priority is an economic revival based on consumer spending after growth sank to 3pc last year, its second-lowest level since at least the 1970s. Officials who briefed media Monday about economic planning did not provide fresh or specific policy initiatives to attain that goal.
Japan’s markets closed higher, tracking Wall Street rallies that were helped partly by a slide in Treasury bond yields.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 1.1pc to end at 28,237.78, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.8pc to 2,036.49.
On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 1.6pc to cap its first winning week in the last four as relaxing yields in the bond market took some pressure off Wall Street. It’s found some stability following a swift rise and fall to start the year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 387 points, or 1.2pc, while the Nasdaq composite jumped 2pc.
Markets have been fluctuating amid uncertainty over where inflation is heading and what the Federal Reserve will do about it.