Egg prices tumble the most in 36 years - latest updates

It comes after prices reached record highs in January as the worst avian flu outbreak in history killed tens of millions of chickens - Mike Kemp/In Pictures via GettyThe cost of eggs has fallen by the most in 36 years, according to new US inflation data.

The latest US consumer price index, a report closely watched by the Federal Reserve, shows that the price of eggs dropped by 11pc in March.

This is the second consecutive month that egg prices have tumbled and is the largest monthly drop since 1987.

It comes after prices reached record highs in January as the worst avian flu outbreak in history killed tens of millions of chickens over the past year, restricting the supply of eggs.

Soaring inflation, increased chicken feed and production costs, and regulatory changes also created upward pressure on egg prices.

However, the US Department of Agriculture this week said that egg supplies are now “moderate to available”, as bird flu restrictions ease.

The latest announcement offers relief to US consumers having faced months of rising food inflation.

06:16 PMSwiss parliament objects to Credit Suisse's £97bn aid packageCredit Suisse’s rescue package has been rejected by Switzerland’s parliament in a symbolic vote.

It voted against the government’s decision to provide an aid package of 109 billion Swiss francs (£97bn) to support UBS’s takeover of Credit Suisse.

While the upper house approved the government contribution, the parliament’s lower and larger chamber opposed the funding.

However, the Finance Ministry said the symbolic rebuke has no impact on the merger.

The ministry noted that the country’s finance delegation, which oversees the entire financial budget, already approved the deal on behalf of parliament when Credit Suisse collapsed last month.

The government secured the binding approval by using an emergency law that bypassed Switzerland's 250-member legislature due to the urgency of the situation.

"The funds have already been fully committed," the Finance Ministry added.

05:52 PMItaly issues list of demands to OpenAI over chatbot concernsItaly's data protection agency may lift its temporary ban against ChatGPT if the chatbot service meets its list of "concrete" demands by the end of the month.

It comes after OpenAI took ChatGPT offline in Italy after the authority, known as Garante, temporarily restricted its personal data processing and began a probe into a suspected breach of privacy rules.

The authority said OpenAI is required to inform users in Italy of "the methods and logic" behind the processing of data necessary for ChatGPT to operate.

The watchdog also asked OpenAI to provide tools to enable people whose data is involved, including non-users, to request the correction of personal data inaccurately generated by the service or its deletion, if a correction is not possible.

OpenAI should also allow non-users to oppose "in a simple and accessible manner" the processing of their personal data to run its algorithms, Garante said.

It also asked the company to introduce an age verification system capable of excluding access to users under 13 by the end of September.

Garante said it would continue investigating potential breaches of data protection rules by OpenAI, reserving the right to impose any other measures needed at the end of its ongoing probe.

Spain's data protection agency yesterday asked the European Union's privacy watchdog to evaluate concerns surrounding ChatGPT.

05:39 PMNational Savings and Investments appoints new CEOThe acting head of the National Savings and Investments (NS&I) has been offered the role permanently.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has appointed Dax Harkins as its new chief executive of the state-owned savings bank.

Mr Harkins, who worked in financial services for 30 years, was made acting chief executive last month. He joined the organisation in 2003.

The appointment follows an open recruitment process, in line with Civil Service Commission rules.

He replaces Ian Ackerley, who retired last month after six years in the role.

The NS&I offers a broad range of savings and investment products to 25m customers, which are all backed by the Treasury.

Funds are then used by the Government towards delivering public services such as policing, healthcare, and schools.

Dax Harkins joined the organisation in 2003.05:12 PMLiz Truss calls out 'anti-growth movement' and 'socialists in environmental clothing'Liz Truss also criticised a new economic model that has gained popularity in recent years, which she described as the "anti-growth movement".

In her speech at think tank Heritage Foundation, the former British prime minister criticised the model for focusing on redistribution, stagnation and embedding "woke culture" into business.

She said the movement includes "socialists in environmental clothing" who want to stop economic activity in the name of tackling climate change.

The model results in greater taxes, subsidies and regulation, Ms Truss added.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.05:03 PMEmmanuel Macron visit to China a 'mistake', says Liz TrussLiz Truss has called Emmanuel Macron's visit to China "a mistake", and accused the French president of drawing a "moral equivalence" between China and the West.

In a Q&A after her speech at the think tank Heritage Foundation in the US, the former Prime Minister said:

The idea that we can treat China as just a another global player is wrong.

It is a totalitarian regime and we need to adapt our policies accordingly and we need to be much more sceptical about what is said by China and what their promises are. And we need to make sure that we are working together as an alliance.

So I don't agree at all with the visit by Ursula von der Leyen and Macron. I think it was a mistake. I think it showed a divide in the West which doesn't exist.

And I also believe that we should be much much tougher on supporting Taiwan at this juncture.

Liz Truss delivers the 2023 Margaret Thatcher Freedom Lecture at The Heritage Foundation - AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite04:19 PMBarclays to close another 15 branches across the UKBarclays is closing another 15 branches across the UK, adding to the loss of hundreds of branches across the banking sector in 2023.

The British bank is closing two locations in Northern Ireland, one in Wales and 12 in England, in July.

It brings the total of Barclays branches closing this year to 73.

The latest announcement brings the total number of high street bank branches set for closure to 228.

Barclays said:

As visits to branches continue to fall, we need to adapt to provide the best service for all our customers.

Where there is no longer enough demand to support a branch, we maintain an in-person presence though our Barclays Local network, live in over 200 locations, based in libraries, town halls, mobile vans and our new banking pods.

We also support access to cash with our cashback without purchase service, 24-hour deposit-taking ATMs and by working alongside the Post Office and Cash Access UK.

The banking industry has pointed to data showing that fewer people are using their branches to justify an increasing number of closures during recent years.

The pandemic also accelerated changes in how customers used banking services, with many learning for the first time how to bank from home.

However, critics say some of the more vulnerable members of society - especially those in older age groups who are less confident on the internet - will be left without access to services they understand.

The British bank is closing two locations in Northern Ireland, one in Wales and 12 in England, in July. - PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty04:05 PMEgg prices fall to 36-year low as bird flu easesThe cost of eggs has fallen by the most in 36 years, according to new US inflation data.

The latest US consumer price index, a report closely watched by the Federal Reserve, shows that the price of eggs dropped by 11pc in March.

This is the second consecutive month that egg prices have tumbled and is the largest monthly drop since 1987.

It comes after prices reached record highs in January as the worst avian flu outbreak in history killed tens of millions of chickens over the past year, restricting the supply of eggs.

Soaring inflation, increased feed and production costs, and regulatory changes also created upward pressure on egg prices.

However, the US Department of Agriculture this week said that egg supplies are now “moderate to available”, as the bird flu restrictions ease.

The latest announcement offers relief to US consumers having faced months of rising food inflation.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.03:35 PMJP Morgan's managing directors told to work from the office, five days a weekJP Morgan has reportedly asked its managing directors to work from the office five days a week, ending hybrid working practices which came out of the pandemic.

In a memo sent to staff, JP Morgan's operating committee said that its leaders play a "critical role in reinforcing our culture and running our businesses".

The committee continued:

They have to be visible on the floor, they must meet with clients, they need to teach and advise, and they should always be accessible for immediate feedback and impromptu meetings. We need them to lead by example, which is why we’re asking all managing directors to be in the office five days a week.

The Wall Street lender said that employees eligble for hybrid working are still required to be in the office three days a week. It noted there are "a number of employees" who who are not meeting their in-office attendance expectations, Bloomberg reported.

The operating committee added:

You’re responsible for meeting your hybrid model requirements. Your manager is responsible for ensuring that attendance requirements are being met and in cases where they aren’t, taking the appropriate performance management steps, which could include corrective action.

JP Morgan also noted there are "a number of employees" who who are not meeting their in-office attendance expectations - REUTERS/Stephanie Keith03:17 PMHanding overAlright, I'm off. My colleague Adam Mawardi will guide you into the evening.

02:13 PMBank runs in the digital age could force lenders to hold more cashBank runs in the digital age are happening more quickly and could force lenders to hold onto more cash, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has said.

We saw with Silicon Valley Bank that with the technology we  have today – both in terms of communication and speed of access to bank account – runs  can go further much more quickly. This must beg the question of what are appropriate and  desired liquidity buffers that create the time needed to take action to solve the problem.

02:08 PM'We do not face a banking systemic banking crisis,' says Andrew BaileyThe world is not facing a global banking crisis on the scale of 2008, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has told the Institute for International Finance.

The post crisis reforms to bank regulation have worked. Today I do not believe we face a  systemic banking crisis. When I look at the UK banks, they are well capitalised, liquid and  able to serve their customers and support the economy.

01:49 PMFederal Reserve still likely to hike base rate: analystsWith a slight uptick in core inflation and ongoing uncertainty from the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, analysts are still betting the Federal Reserve will continue to tighten interest rates. Marcus Brookes, chief investment officer at Quilter Investors, writes:

US inflation appears to be easing more than expected for the time being, suggesting that the Federal Reserve's actions to combat inflation are having a positive impact without pushing the economy into recession. However, core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, remains stubbornly high, keeping the possibility of further rate hikes on the table.

With the fallout from the Silicon Valley Bank still unfolding, the lack of consensus among top Fed officials on whether another quarter-point rate rise is necessary, and inflation following the predicted trajectory, a 25 basis point rise in interest rates seems like the most probable outcome for the Fed at its upcoming meeting. The fight against inflation is set to continue for the foreseeable future, and Jerome Powell has made it clear that he will take decisive action if needed.

01:43 PMUS inflation data: consumer prices down but not outInflation in the US eased by more than expected in March, in what could be some breathing room for the Federal Reserve, Eir Nolsøe reports.

Consumer prices grew by 5pc in the year to March, below the 5.2pc predicted by economists. This marks a drop of one percentage point from February.

The drop suggests Fed's most aggressive round of tightening in decades is starting to tame rampant inflation. However, policymakers will still feel uneasy about the rise in core inflation, which strips out volatile components like food and energy.

Core inflation rose as expected to 5.6pc, up by 0.1 percentage point. The measure, which is seen as an indicator of whether price rises are becoming embedded in the economy, is likely to keep another rate hike on the table, analysts say.

The upper limit of the Fed's target rate is now at 5pc.

01:36 PMUS CPI print: up 5pc in MarchConsumer prices in the US climbed by 5pc in March, down from 6pc a month earlier, according to the latest print from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

US CPI is now down from a high of 9pc last year, but still well above the Federal Reserve's 2pc target.

01:21 PMPublic sector pay increases risk loading UK with debt, IMF suggestsJeremy Hunt risks stoking inflation and a surge in public debt if he gives in to demands for higher public sector pay, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested.

The IMF said a combination of “lacklustre growth” and “further increases in public wages and other social spending” could place the UK's borrowing on an sharply higher path, Szu Ping Chan writes.

The fund said the projected increase in gross UK debt from 84.5pc of GDP in 2019 before the pandemic to 113.1pc of GDP by 2028 means Britain is facing a “steeper upward trajectory” than other advanced economies.

The impacts of government wage hikes on private wages and core [inflation] are significantly larger and longer-lasting when labour markets are tighter.

The findings imply that during periods of high inflation and tight labor markets, public wage policy should balance the need to attract and retain high-quality civil servants against the risk of fomenting inflationary pressures.

Public sector wages rose by 4.8pc in the three months to January compared with a year ago in the fastest increase since February 2006, but these still trail behind private sector average increases of 7pc over the same period, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

01:04 PMTesco cuts price of milk amid price warTesco has undercut German rivals Aldi and Lidl on milk after slashing the price of a pint for the first time in three years, Hannah Boland reports.

Britain's biggest supermarket has cut the price of a pint of milk from 95p to 90p, while it has also knocked 5p off the cost of two pints and 10p off a four pint carton.

The price cuts, which are the first at Tesco since May 2020, mean it is now selling milk for less than the German discounters. Aldi sells a pint for 95p, while Lidl sells a four pint carton for £1.65. Tesco is cutting the price of its four pint option to £1.55.

It comes amid a fierce price war in the supermarket sector, with British grocers battling to hang on to market share as the German discounters advance.

12:18 PMMercedes sales boosted amid EV demandSales of Mercedes cars increased by 3pc in the first three months of the year, the carmaker said, boosted by improving demand for electric vehicles.

Global sales hit 503,500 models, with Europe driving growth at 8pc. Full electric car sales nearly doubled to 51,500 cars.

Separately, Swedish truck maker Volvo AB reported a 25pc boost in sales, beating market expectations, with revenues rising to $12.5bn.

Shares in Volvo AB, which spun off its consumer car division Volvo Cars in 1999, jumped more than 8pc.

11:41 AMGoogle drops vaccine mandate for its officesGoogle has dropped its vaccine mandate after US president Joe Biden formally ended the country’s state of national emergency over the Covid-19 pandemic, Gareth Corfield reports.

An email sent to all Google staff on Tuesday revealed the change of policy. A senior executive wrote that “vaccines will no longer be required as a condition of entry to any of our buildings”.

Chris Rackow, Google’s vice president of global security, told employees in a message first reported by CNBC: “We put in place emergency measures such as our Covid-19 vaccine policy to keep everyone safe, but now the world is in a very different place.”

11:14 AMEY launches $500m saving spree in the USEY's US business will attempt to save $500m after the company's American arm shut down plans to split its audit and consulting arms

The Big Four firm's US executives outlined a plan to cut costs after its executive committee confirmed EY would abandon plans for a historic carve up, the Financial Times reported.

11:00 AMRupert Murdoch sued for Fox’s 2020 US election coverageRupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan have been sued over claims they failed to stop Fox News broadcasting “false and dangerous” claims about the 2020 presidential election, James Warrington writes.

Fox shareholder Robert Schwarz has accused the billionaire media mogul and four other board members of failing to ensure Fox lived up to its ethical standards and avoided reputational risk.

The lawsuit, filed in Delaware, alleges that Fox broadcast lies about the 2020 election being stolen in an effort to keep Donald Trump’s supporters tuned in.

Mr Schwarz said: “Fox knew – from the board on down – that Fox News was reporting false and dangerous misinformation about the 2020 Presidential election, but Fox was more concerned about short-term ratings and market share than the long-term damages of its failure to tell the truth.”

The lawsuit cites filings from a separate legal battle that show Rupert Murdoch personally acknowledged some Fox hosts had “endorsed” the idea that the election was stolen.

Read the more about the legal challenge here

10:27 AMSony invests in UK Raspberry Pi makerSony has invested in microcomputer maker Raspberry Pi, the Cambridge company behind the UK's best-selling computer.

Raspberry Pi develops a single board computer, originally designed for education settings to help children learn about IT, but has since been applied for commercial use.

More than 40 million devices have been sold. Raspberry Pi began as a charity, but has since launched a commercial arm.

Sony already makes Raspberry Pi's computers at a factory in Wales, as well as in Japan.

The Japanese tech giant said Sony would work with Raspberry Pi to bring its artificial intelligence technology to the tiny circuits.

10:12 AMDe La Rue shares plunge on falling demand for hard cashShares in bank note printer De La Rue tumbled 23pc this morning to 38.5p each as it announced its operating profit for the year would be below market expectations.

The printing company, based in Basingstoke, said demand for cash had fallen to a 20-year-low, although it said there were some signs of recovery.

De La Rue added it was seeking to renegotiate its current financing arrangements. "The company is in discussions with its lending banks in relation to seeking an amendment to its banking covenants, reflecting the revised outlook and also reflecting the increase in the company's funding costs resulting from higher Bank of England base rates."

09:54 AMMusk quizzes reporter: 'Do you like the BBC?'Elon Musk has accused a BBC reporter of lying during an interview in a row over whether hate speech is on the rise on the social network.

During his interview with the broadcaster, which took place on Twitter spaces, Mr Musk went on the attack against a BBC journalist who had asked him to respond to claims that hate speech was on the rise on Twitter since his takeover.

After Mr Musk asked the reporter, US tech journalist James Clayton, for an example of the hate speech, he accused him of spreading a "false" claim.

Mr Musk said: "I say sir that you don't know what you are talking about... because you cannot give me a single example of hateful content, not even one tweet.

"You claimed that hateful content is high, That is false, you just lied."

Mr Clayton defended his line of questioning, citing an organisation that has warned about a rise in hateful posts on the site.

Mr Musk repeatedly tried to turn the tables on the reporter, asking him, while laughing, "do you like the BBC?"

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.Mr Clayton declined to answer. Earlier in the interview, Mr Clayton was forced to state: "This is not an interview about the BBC."

Mr Musk responded: "Oh you thought it wasn't?"

09:16 AMChina records first death avian flu strainA 56-year-old woman in China has died after contracting H3N8 bird flu, the first known fatality in a human from this strain of avian influenza, Sarah Newey reports.

While H3N8 is “one of the most frequently found” subtypes of flu found in birds, the woman is only the third person known to have caught the virus and the first to have died.

Two young boys were infected with the same virus in unrelated cases in China last year, but both survived.

Here is an extract from the World Health Organisation's monitoring report:

The case was detected through severe acute respiratory infection surveillance systems. She was hospitalized for severe pneumonia on 3 March 2023 and subsequently died on 16 March 2023. The patient had multiple underlying conditions. She had a history of exposure to live poultry before the onset of the disease. No close contacts of the case developed an infection or symptoms of illness at the time of reporting.

Read the full story of the infection here

08:44 AMEveryman says ticket sales jumped, cuts lossesCinema-goers have been trickling back to independent cinema group Everyman, the company said on Wednesday, despite a relative lack of blockbuster titles and the cost-of-living crisis.

Admissions at the cinema group increased to 3.4 million in 2022 from 2 million during 2021, Everyman said, in its first full year of trading since the pandemic.

Everyman said that a reduction in blockbusters due to production delays had weighed on sales, but that "signs of recovery are clear with audiences coming back to enjoy a broader range of titles".

Revenues increased from £49m to £78.8m. It narrowed its losses from £5.4m to £3.9m and recorded an operating profit of £400,000.

Avatar Way of the WaterShares opened up 1.3pc.

08:21 AMLG shares jump 10pc on British fund stakeShares in South Korean electronics giant LG skipped up 10pc in trading in Seoul today after British fund Silchester International Investors was revealed as a shareholder.

In a stock market filing, Silchester disclosed it had a 5pc stake in the £9bn South Korean company. LG has been grappling in recent months falling profits as demand for consumer electronics declines.

08:02 AMDiamond sales rise on China rebound, says Anglo AmericanRough-diamond sales increased by 8.65pc over the last three months amid an economic recovery in China driving demand for luxury jewelry, Anglo American has said.

De Beers, which is majority-owned by the miner, said in a market statement it expected to sell $540m of diamonds in its second sales cycle of the year.

"We have continued to see good demand for our rough diamonds over the third sales cycle of the year as we move into the second quarter of 2023," said Al Cook, chief executive of De Beers.

"Sales were in line with expectations and we continue to see some encouraging positive trends in consumer demand for diamond jewellery, not least in China where we're beginning to see some signs of recovery in consumer confidence following the relaxation of travel restrictions."

07:58 AMElon Musk hoarding GPUs for ChatGPT rivalAway from this morning's interview, Elon Musk has been buying up powerful computer processors in a bid to develop technology to rival that of OpenAI's ChatGPT.

The Tesla billionaire has been acquiring graphics processing units (GPUs) for Twitter in an effort to develop so-called "generative AI", Insider reports.

Mr Musk has reportedly acquired 10,000 processors to begin the machine learning training needed to create powerful algorithms similar to those being built by OpenAI.

07:48 AMFTSE 100 opens upThe FTSE 100 is up slightly at 0.04pc, trading at around 7,788.

07:43 AMTwitter advertising revenue forecasts plunge - analystsElon Musk said his takeover of Twitter had been "extremely painful" - and it could be about to get even more uncomfortable.

Advertising revenues at Twitter are forecast to plunge by 28pc this year, according to estimates from Insider Intelligence.

The report found that Twitter advertising income would slip to around $2.98bn this year, down from $4.14bn in 2022 and $4.46bn in 2021.

07:37 AMMusk is no longer chief executive of Twitter - his dog isInterviewed in the early hours of this morning, Elon Musk claimed he is no longer officially chief executive of Twitter - he's given the job to his dog.

The billionaire claimed that the dog, a Shiba Inu named Floki, was now running Twitter.

Mr Musk also responded to questions from the BBC after he branded the organisation a government-funded media organisation.

"I know the BBC wasn't thrilled to about being labelled state affiliated media," Mr Musk said, laughing. He said he planned to change the label to "publicly funded" which is "not too objectionable".

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.Mr Musk also addressed criticisms of his decision to strip the New York Times of its "blue tick" on the social network after it refused to pay about $1,000 per month for the verification badge.

"It's a small amount of money, so I don't know what their problem is... we're going to treat everyone equally."

He added he did not want Twitter to feature "some anointed class of journalists" compared to the public.

07:25 AMLabour market showing signs of easing for first time in two years, says KPMGThe availability of workers improved for the first time since 2021 as job seekers returned to the market after hundreds of thousands dropped out of the labour market during the pandemic.

The number of temporary workers seeking employment rose to its highest level in six months, according to a survey by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), offsetting continued tightness in permanent roles.

The loosening labour market was partly down to a rise in the number of redundancies, the report said, as companies opted for temporary hires over new permanent roles. Improving pay offers were also encouraging people to return to the job market.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of REC, said: “The big news is that candidate availability is up for the first time in more than two years. This suggests that, while the market is still tight, it should be getting gradually easier for firms to hire over the next few months. “

“The continuing fast rate of pay growth is likely reflective of the impact of inflation on wage offers, as well as low labour supply. That means increasing pay is likely to persist, despite more people beginning to look for work.”

07:23 AMGood morningElon Musk has said he plans to alter the BBC's new Twitter label from "government funded media" after a row with the broadcaster. Meanwhile, one-in-four UK parents has been forced to give up their job due to childcare costs. Later, we are expecting a speech from Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England.

5 things to start your day1) World leaders race to prevent new banking crisis | Andrew Bailey and Jeremy Hunt to discuss stability risks in Washington as IMF warns over threat of global recession

2) Britain to remain world’s worst-performing large economy in 2023 | UK’s growth on track to contract more than Russia’s, warns IMF

3) Police to investigate alleged sexual misconduct at CBI after boss sacked | Investigation comes as Tony Danker hits back over ‘distorted’ claims

4) Tesla to build battery storage site in Milton Keynes | Elon Musk seeks to accelerate sales of its electric cars in Britain

5) EY abandons break up plans after internal turmoil | Announcement marks another climbdown by the Big Four firm’s senior leadership

What happened overnightWall Street stocks delivered a modest performance on Tuesday as investors eagerly await new inflation data set to be released this week.

The latest US consumer price index data will be released today, while the producer price index is due Thursday and bank earnings on Friday.

Asian stocks climbed on Wednesday morning, with shares opening higher in Japan and Australia. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.6pc in early trading, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6pc and South Korea's Kospi edged less than 1 point lower, to 2,547.27.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 0.7pc and the Shanghai Composite index added 0.3pc.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3pc to 33,684.79. The broad-based S&P 500 dipped less than 0.1pc to 4,108.94, while the tech-rich Nasdaq composite dropped 0.4pc to 12,031.88.

Yields on US government bonds advanced as traders price in one further interest rate hike.

The two-year Treasury yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, rose 2.7 basis points to 4.035pc. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose 1.3 basis points to 3.428pc.
Click Here To Get Funded!