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Monday newspaper round-up: Business confidence, CPI forecast, HSBC, railways

Market Buzz

Monday newspaper round-up: Business confidence, CPI forecast, HSBC, railways

Mon, 17 July 2017
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Monday newspaper round-up: Business confidence, CPI forecast, HSBC, railways

(ShareCast News) - The UK needs to prepare itself for weaker economic performance, two major forecasting groups have said, in the latest studies predicting the downsides of the Brexit vote. Fragile business sentiment linked to Brexit-related anxiety, domestic political uncertainty and squeezed consumer budgets have caused UK business confidence to drop to its lowest point for almost six years, the economic consultancy IHS Markit reports. - Guardian
Inflation is expected to remain at its highest level in nearly four years, as rising prices on the back of the Brexit-hit pound continues to squeeze British households. The Consumer Price Index measure of inflation is forecast to come in at 2.9 per cent in June, according to consensus estimates, in line with May's figure but above April's reading of 2.7 per cent. - Mail

The government is "sleepwalking" into a post-Brexit future of insecure, unsafe and increasingly expensive food supplies, and has little idea how it will replace decades of EU regulation on the issue, a report by influential academics has said. The study says ministers and the public have become complacent after decades of consistent food supplies and stable prices for the UK, something greatly helped by the EU. - Guardian

Civil servants at the Department for Transport have put forward proposals to take much greater control of the running of the train operating companies, raising the spectre of the recreation of the defunct strategic rail authority. A high level briefing document seen by The Times states: "The franchise model . . . faces real challenge - chiefly ensuring it remains commercial and politically sustainable."

Consumer rights group Which? has exposed what it calls "embarrassingly low" satisfaction rates passengers have with the nation's train companies and called for the creation of a rail ombudsman to help improve the industry. The group ran a decade-long analysis on how satisfied customers were with train companies' punctuality, reliability and ability to deal with complaints. - Telegraph

Britain is paying hundreds of millions of pounds in hidden costs for a next-generation warplane that will be unable to function properly because of defence cuts. The F-35 Lightning II, the most expensive aircraft of its kind, has been described by Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, as the "most powerful and comprehensive" fast jet in history. Its American manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, has said that the aircraft will cost Britain between £77 million and £100 million each. - The Times

Britain must rush to agree a trade deal similar to the one being hammered out between the EU and Japan or face having the UK's £72bn-a-year car industry taken apart, a trade lawyer has warned. The alarm has been sounded by ­Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, a former diplomat who has represented the EU at the World Trade Organisation and is ­co-author of the European Commission's Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment on the EU-Japan trade deal. - Telegraph

Barclays is battling investor pressure to pursue a spin-off of its high street operations from the bank's investment banking arm. It is understood that about a fifth of its shareholder base favours a full split that would leave the two divisions with separate stock market listings. - Telegraph

Investors are enjoying record payouts this year as the fall in the pound and robust growth lifts profits in many sectors. Capita Asset Services is predicting dividends of £90.6 billion - a 7 per cent increase on last year. It found that dividends for the second quarter hit a record high of £33.3 billion - underpinned by a bumper payout from National Grid. - Mail

Low-paid workers in the private sector should see their wages restricted to inflation-only rises, according to business leaders, who have said that without the real-terms freeze, they could be forced to make job cuts. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said the "national living wage" (NLW) should rise by a maximum of 2.7% in its response to the Low Pay Commission's call for comments on minimum wage levels, which are due to be set in the autumn. - Guardian

Captain Mainwaring would surely have approved: the future of retail banking lies with human interaction between bank and customer rather than a faceless all-digital service, according to a study from Boston Consulting Group. How much of Accelerating Bionic Transformation the bank manager from Walmington-on-Sea would actually have understood is another matter, because the study is dense with management jargon such as "a customer journey mindset" and "data-enabled location models". - the Times

The UK housing market is shrugging off concerns in the wider economy following the Brexit vote, compounding problems for many first-time buyers still wrestling with the strongest year-on-year price rises in the market. There are more buyers and sellers in the wider market compared with the period around the referendum a year ago, with the number of sales agreed up by 4.6% in June 2017 compared with June 2016, the latest survey by property website Rightmove found. - Guardian

The car hire industry faces investigation over alleged "fraudulent" repair costs after Europcar disclosed that consumers are suspected of having been overcharged by at least £30m. Europcar, one of the world's biggest car hire companies, is accused of systematically overbilling well over half a million customers for repairs over many years, in what could become one of the biggest consumer overcharging scandals in recent UK history. - Telegraph

The majority of Brexit supporters would be happy to swap European free movement for single market access, according to two studies which suggest ways for Britain to pull back from the brink in the upcoming negotiations. Amid calls for the government to loosen its opposition to free movement in order to protect the economy when Britain leaves the EU, the YouGov research shows compromise would result in far less popular backlash than is assumed.

A former Goldman Sachs financier who has shaken up HSBC's investment bank has emerged as a contender to become the next boss of Europe's biggest lender. Matthew Westerman is increasingly viewed in City circles as a challenger to succeed Stuart Gulliver when the chief executive steps down from the helm of HSBC next year. - Telegraph

Lloyd's of London has warned that a serious cyber-attack could cost the global economy more than $120bn (£92bn) - as much as catastrophic natural disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Published two months after a ransomware cyber-attack that hobbled NHS hospitals and hit nearly 100 countries, a 56-page report from the world's oldest insurance market says the threat posed by such global attacks has spiralled and poses a huge risk to business and governments over the next decade. - Guardian