Good morning. Germany faces an industrial shutdown unless Russian gas supplies improve, one of its top ministers warned today.
In a interview, economy minister Robert Habeck said: “Companies would have to stop production, lay off their workers, supply chains would collapse, people would go into debt to pay their heating bills, that people would become poorer”.
The head of German utility group RWE also warned the continent faces “chaos” if the Kremlin cuts off energy supplies.
“The real fear I have is that European solidarity will come under significant stress if we don’t sort it out before the situation happens,” Markus Krebber told the Financial Times.
Meanwhile, retail sales fell by 0.5pc in May as Britons cut back on food spending amid the fastest price rises in over a decade.
Overall, sales volumes are still above pre-Covid levels, but have steadily slipped since last summer.
It came as the deepening cost of living crisis drove household confidence down to a fresh record low in June, prompting warnings that Britain “faces a stark new economic reality”.
GfK’s closely watched confidence tracker slipped for a sixth consecutive month, dropping from minus 40 to a new all-time low of minus 41.
5 things to start your day
1) Employers across the country are preparing to slash pay for home workers One in ten companies plan on reducing pay or benefits for employees who work from home
2) Debt time bomb a disaster for Tory hopes of economic revival The country’s finances risk running away from Sunak as the economy teeters on the brink of reversal
3) Oil executives turn on Chancellor in private meeting over windfall tax Rishi Sunak warned levy will make the UK a less attractive prospect
4) Retired public sector workers to get £2,000 pension boost as inflation surges Incomes of former civil servants to rise 10pc as ministers call for working people to accept real-terms pay cut
5) Klarna and Barclays in row over buy now, pay later It comes as Government prepares to hit the fast-growing sector with stricter rules
What happened overnight
Stocks and bonds were both headed for their first weekly gain in a month on Friday as investors wagered on central banks bringing inflation to heel, though growth fears dragged on commodities.
Copper, a bellwether for economic output with its wide range of industrial and construction uses, slid 3pc in Shanghai and is down more than 7pc for the week – its sharpest weekly fall since the pandemic-driven financial markets meltdown in March 2020.
Oil also fell overnight, and Brent crude futures are down 2pc on the week to $110.62 a barrel, while benchmark grain prices sank with Chicago wheat off nearly 9pc for the week and at its lowest since March at $9.42 a bushel.
The price falls have made for some relief in equities since energy and food have been the drivers of inflation. After some heavy recent losses, MSCI’s World equities index is up 2pc on the week.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose one per cent on Friday, flattered by short sellers bailing out of Alibaba – which rose 5pc – amid hints that China’s technology crackdown is abating.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.8pc for a 1.6pc weekly gain and S&P 500 futures were flat after the index rose about one per cent overnight.
Coming up today
- Corporate: No scheduled updates
- Economics: Retail sales (UK), EU leaders summit (EU), Michigan consumer sentiment (US), new home sales (US)