The cost-of-living crisis just keeps intensifying, with UK inflation rising again in January to a fresh 30-year high.
The consumer price index rose to 5.5pc last month. Both economists and the Bank of England had expected it to remain unchanged at 5.4pc.
It’s likely to strengthen the case for aggressive raising of interest rates by the Bank, with markets pricing in a half-point increase at one of the next two meetings of the MPC.
5 things to start your day
1) Shrinking wages reignite calls to halt national insurance raid: The tightest squeeze on real wages in eight years has renewed demands from business leaders for ministers to reconsider the National Insurance raid planned for April.
3) Eurozone trade deficit hits 13-year high as energy crisis rages: Surging energy prices have pushed the eurozone’s trade deficit to a 13-year high as a heavy reliance on gas imports leaves its economy exposed to war in Ukraine.
4) BA to hand staff bonuses worth thousands of pounds each: British Airways will award bonuses of thousands of pounds each to pilots, cabin and ground crew as chief executive Sean Doyle tries to restore morale among its 20,000 staff.
5) NS&I doubles interest rate on controversial ‘green’ savings account: National Savings & Investments has announced its biggest rate rise in almost 40 years, after doubling the rate on its “green” savings bonds.
What happened overnight
Asian shares rose on Wednesday, buoyed by hopes for a diplomatic solution instead of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. But analysts warned the tensions were far from completely resolved, and the situation remains volatile.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 2.1pc in morning trading to 27,414.55. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.6pc to 7,251.50. South Korea’s Kospi surged 1.7pc to 2,721.09. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.4pc to 24,686.27, while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.6pc to 3,467.90.
Coming up today
Corporate: Indivior, Primary Health Properties (full-year results)
Economics: Consumer price index (UK, China), producer price index (UK, China), retail price index (UK), retail sales (US), industrial production (EU), Federal Open Market Committee minutes (US)