Beijing pumps more money as China’s real estate crisis worsens

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UK households face tough winter as cost pressures created by a shortage of delivery drivers and border bureaucracy mean further price hikes are now ‘inevitable’, retail bosses have warned , Tim Wallace writes.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said there were “clear signs” that the shortage of carriers combined with rising transportation costs and commodity costs was starting to trickle down to store prices.

Food price inflation returned in September for the first time in six months, according to the BRC, a warning sign that supply problems are starting to be felt.

Goods, including DIY and gardening equipment, furniture and electrical appliances, are all growing particularly rapidly.

Overall store prices increased by 0.1 pc between August and September, but are still down compared to the same month a year ago.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of BRC, said: “It is inevitable that prices will continue to rise. Supply chains have been challenged recently, with CO2 and heavy truck shortages.

‘The government must find a long-term solution to the shortage of heavy truck drivers by expanding the size and scope of the new visa regime for foreign drivers so they can fill in the gaps while new UK drivers are trained .

“Without it, these additional burdens on what is already a precarious business environment will affect the UK consumer and the prices they pay for the goods they want and need.”

Currently 5,000 foreign truck drivers are allowed to work in the UK under the temporary visa program introduced by the government this week.

The heavy truck crisis has already had a critical ripple effect at gas stations across the UK as a shortage of drivers combined with panic buying causes pumps on forecourts to dry up.

Prices topped 135 pence per liter this week, down from 113 pence a year ago and the highest level since September 2013.

Diesel is up to almost 138p, the highest level since early 2014.

According to a survey by the Confederation of Recruitment and Employment (REC), nearly six out of ten companies suffer from a shortage of candidates for vacant positions.

For those looking for permanent staff, 13% lack drivers, and 17% of companies need temporary workers

Neil Carberry, executive director of REC, said the solution to solving the driver shortage was more complex than simply relaxing visa rules.

He said: “Yes, we need a visa system that meets the needs of the economy, but the answers to that lie in policies that will take a long time to materialize.”

This should include “tackling youth unemployment by providing job opportunities that we see with shortages,” he added.

5 things to start your day

1) The pound tumbles amid inflation and the US debt crisis The British pound slips and the FTSE 250 falls 2% after the cost of government borrowing hit 1% for the first time since March 2020 amid rate hike fears.

2) Stelios loses its grip on easyJet after 26 years Sir Stelios and his family can no longer veto key airline board decisions after his stake drops to 15.3pc

3) Euan Blair is worth £ 160million after record-breaking business investment Multiverse valued at nearly £ 650 million after US investors put $ 130 million in a company, a record for UK “ed tech”.

4) BT faces lawsuit for landline overload The telecoms giant is at risk of paying £ 500 to more than 2million customers if it loses a class action lawsuit.

5) Wise shares drop after founder fined for UK tax violation Kristo Kaarman says he now devotes more time to “keeping his personal administration in order”.

What happened during the night

Asian stocks fell on Wednesday as rising bond yields fueled fears about inflation and the China Evergrande group’s debt crisis escalated.

MSCI Inc.’s Asian equity gauge recorded the biggest drop in nearly six weeks – and is heading for its first quarterly decline in six. Japan fell as two candidates took part in the run-off ballot for the ruling party leader. China has slipped on the worsening debt crisis within the China Evergrande group.

US futures rose after the S&P 500 fell the most since May, with concerns over the debt ceiling deadlock in Washington adding to investor angst. The Nasdaq 100 fell the most since March, as tech stocks held up less well amid rising Treasury yields. European contracts have climbed. T-bills stabilized after the yield on the 30-year note jumped nearly 10 basis points. Oil fell and the dollar slipped.

Coming today

  • Business: Ashmore, Genre (Full year); Berkeley (Commercial update)
  • Economy: PMI Services (UK), retail sales (EU), unemployment rate (WE), composite services and PMIs (EU, United States)


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