Business news and markets: live

Business news and markets: live

08.25 The FTSE 100 has had a fairly unexciting start to the week, with London’s index of leading shares dipping seven points in early trade to 6,539.

Luxury goods retailer Burberry is the biggest riser on the benchmark index, lifted 1.4pc by a price target upgrade by analysts at HSBC.

08.20 The bank that likes to say Yes is back: TSB Bank is returning to the high street today as Lloyds Banking Group begins the re-branding of 630 branches it has agreed to dispose in an agreement with the European Commission.

Paul Pester, TSB’s Chief Executive, said this morning that a bank had been launched which has been “born fully formed”, with more than 600 branches, four and a half million customers and over 8,500 staff.

Quote And let’s not forget where we have come from. The TSB movement was originally created over 200 years ago when the Reverend Henry Duncan established the first Savings Bank in Ruthwell, Scotland. Its sole purpose then was to serve the local people in the community. This is exactly what we’re doing again today as we bring the new TSB Bank back to over 600 communities across the UK to fuel their local economies – and nothing else.

Paul Pester, CEO, at the launch of TSB at 68 Baker Street in London this morning

08.08 Later today George Osborne is expected to allow himself some gentle gloating after weeks of strong economic data, and will say the economy is saved and Labour has been proved wrong.

In a speech today the Chancellor is expected to declare the “tentative signs of a balanced, broad based and sustainable recovery.”

There will be the usual health-warnings that it is “early stages” and “plenty of risks” remain but, with the party conference season about to start, the message will also be an unmistakable retort to his critics. ”

We held our nerve when many told us to abandon his plan,” he is due to say. “And as a result, thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of the British people, Britain is turning a corner.” He will declare definitively that the Government’s “economic plan is the right response to Britain’s macro economic imbalances and the evidence shows it is working.”

Chancellor George Osborne

08.00 Corporate news is very thin on the ground this morning.

Louise Armitstead writes in her City briefing morning email that booming sales at Primark are fueling impressive results at its owner, Associated British Foods.

The FTSE100 group, whose low-cost model was criticised after the collapse of the Rana Plaza supplier in Bangladesh, said in a pre-close statement that operating profits for the second half “will be ahead of expectations”.

ABF said the growth is being “driven” by Primark where sales are set to be 22pc ahead of last year and like-for-like sales could be 5pc higher at the full year.

The statement is likely to be in focus at the TUC Conference today where Amirul Hague Amin, president of Bangladesh’s National Garment Workers Federation, is expected to speak. Frances O’Grady, the first female leader of the TUC who has taken over from Brendan Barber, is also speaking today.

Lonmin has announced the appointment of two new non-executive directors, both from Glencore Xstrata, the recently merged mining giant.

Gary Nagle, the chief executive of Glencore’s alloys division, and Paul Smith, head of strategy and communications at the miner, are joining Lonmin’s board with immediate effect.

Booming sales at Primark are fueling impressive results at its owner, Associated British Foods.

07.55 And the good news should continue for China as its premier predicts it will stay the course on sustainable growth.

Writing in today’s Financial Times, Li Keqiang said the economy will “maintain its sustained and healthy growth and China will stay on the path of reform and opening up”.

Quote Reform remains the driving force. We will continue to streamline government and delegate power, press ahead with structural changes and grow economic sectors under diverse ownership. Government will leave to the market and society what they can do well while concentrating on those matters within its purview.

In my view, Asian countries have learnt the lessons from the past and significantly enhanced their capabilities to fend off risks. Thanks to more flexible exchange rate regimes, stronger foreign exchange reserves, the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation agreement – a currency swap arrangement – and various bilateral financial arrangements, China is confident that Asian countries are now better placed to cope.

China is still a developing country with a myriad of tasks and challenges. Yet as China’s national strength grows steadily, it will assume greater responsibilities and obligations in international affairs commensurate with its own conditions. We will work with other countries to promote global peace and development. I look forward to the day when the world economy returns to good health. In the meantime, the upgrading of the Chinese economy will give fresh impetus to the global economy.

07.41 There was also good news from China. Steady consumer prices and slowing producer price deflation in August added to the case the Chinese economy has arrested an extended slowdown and may be regaining some momentum.

Consumer prices rose 2.6pc in August from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said, in line with market expectations and July’s 2.7pc rise. Month-on-month, prices were up 0.5pc, slightly stronger than a forecast rise of 0.4pc.

Producer prices fell an annual 1.6pc, less than both a market forecast of 1.8pc and a fall of 2.3pc in July. While factory-gate deflation has now lasted for 18 months, the pace of decline has steadily eased from a peak of 3.6pc in September 2012.

07.26 Some strong data from Asia overnight.

Japanese markets were boosted after the data showed the economy expanded much faster than initially expected in the second quarter.

A marked improvement in capital expenditure led to an upward revision in second-quarter GDP to 3.8pc growth from a preliminary 2.6pc, according to data from the Cabinet Office.

The upbeat data came hours after Tokyo won its bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, which policymakers hailed as another tailwind propelling the world’s third-largest economy out of years of grinding deflation.

The good news caused the Nikkei 225 to close up 2.5pc.

The centrepiece of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be a space-age new national stadium created by British architect Zaha Hadid.

07.10 The Financial Times reports that US investors have pumped more money into European equities than at any time since 1977 in a big vote of confidence for the region and its ability to recover from the sovereign debt crisis.

The Times reports that widespread co-ordinated strike action was threatened by trade unions last night. Their leaders queued up at the annual conference of the Trades Union Congress in Bournemouth to support generalised strike action and said that a “pressure cooker” of discontent was building among workers stuck in austerity pay settlements The Communication Workers Union, which is balloting to take 125,000 Royal Mail workers out on strike in response to government plans to privatise the national postal network, said it would look to time its action alongside other national disputes.

Twenty years after disappearing from the high street, the TSB bank will reappear in towns across the UK on Monday when more than 630 branches that were Lloyds units on Friday reopen with a new identity, writes the Guardian.

07.05 Top story on our finance page this morning is news that banks face a hidden bill of as much as £10bn to settle mis-selling claims linked to commercial real estate projects, according to research by one of the property sector’s largest consultants, writes Harry Wilson.

Elsewhere, PricewaterhouseCoopers is in the final stages of negotiating a major expansion “worth tens of millions of pounds” to operations in Poland and Russia in an effort to counter sluggish growth in the home market, writes Roland Gribben.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reports that Europe’s industry is being ravaged by exorbitant energy costs and an over-valued euro, blighting efforts to reverse years of global manufacturing decline.

07.00 Good morning and welcome to our daily business and markets live blog, your one stop shop for all the breaking business stories of the day.

Finance News – Business news from the UK and world


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