Pound heading for worst year since 2016

For many of you, this will be the last working day before the Christmas holidays.

It can also be a work day disrupted by a strike.

Thousands of union members are on strike today and tomorrow.

As if that weren’t enough to bring you some festive sadness, the chaos in the markets should give you some positive Grinch sentiment, as detailed below.

5 things to start your day

1) Bank of England Backs Sunak’s Crypto Dreams Despite Market Crash | The Bank of England has backed Rishi Sunak’s plan to make Britain a digital currency superpower, despite a market meltdown that wiped over £1 trillion of crypto value.

2) Japan’s Christmas bomb could trigger another European credit crunch | Japan is the world’s biggest creditor with $3.6 trillion (£3 trillion) in net overseas assets. It is the marginal buyer of UK, Eurozone and US debt, and a central pillar of the international bond market.

3) Britain faces spike in divorces and discontent next year as wages fall below those in France | Divorce rates will climb at the fastest rate since 1971 and discontent will reach the highest levels since the record began next year as British workers become more impoverished than the French.

4) Asda sounds alarm over Ulez expansion as MPs call on Sadiq Khan to drop him | Sadiq Khan is facing a growing parliamentary backlash over plans to expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London, as it emerged Asda had raised concerns about the impact on its staff.

5) Diesel generators ready to power NHS and military as blackouts loom | As frost chills the ground, UK data center operators prepare for a long and grueling winter to keep millions connected in the dark and cold.

What happened overnight

Stocks fell in Asia on Friday after a retreat on Wall Street on fears that strong economic data would lead the Federal Reserve to double interest rate hikes to tame inflation.

Shanghai was stable while other major indexes fell. Trade was running out of steam as the Christmas and New Year holidays approached.

Japan announced that its core inflation rate, excluding volatile fresh food, reached 3.7% in November, the highest level since 1981, the surge in oil costs and other raw materials adding to upward price pressures in the world’s third largest economy.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was down 1pc at 26,242.58 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was down 0.5pc at 19,578.44. The Shanghai Composite was unchanged at 3,054.52 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.7% to 7,099.70.

In Seoul, the Kospi fell 1.4% to 2,323.09. Shares also fell in Bangkok, Mumbai and Taiwan.

Wall Street stocks fell Thursday, closing in a sea of ​​red after data pointed to a strong labor market and better-than-expected economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 1.1pc at 33,027.49, while the broad S&P 500 index lost 1.5pc at 3,822.39. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index also plunged 2.2% to 10,476.12.

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