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World Cup Helps UK Economy Beat the Blues: The London Rush - BLOOMBERG

JANUARY 14, 2023

(Bloomberg) -- If it takes Christmas to save the high street, it only follows British logic that it takes football to save the economy. The World Cup was partly responsibly for an unexpected expansion of the economy in November. At the same time, downbeat updates from homebuilders this morning this morning are a reminder that there may be less goal-scoring down the line.

Here’s the key business news from London this morning:

In The City

UK GDP: The UK economy unexpectedly grew 0.1% November compared to the month before, suggesting Britain may be weathering the cost-of-living crisis better than thought. 

  • Services strengthened, growth the Office for National Statistics tied to consumer-facing businesses getting a boost from World Cup football matches

Taylor Wimpey Plc: The homebuilder said lower sales as a result of higher mortgage rates in the third quarter means it’s starting the year with an order book “significantly below” previous years.

  • The company is consulting on about £20 million of yearly savings, which would “increase operational efficiency” and reduce overheads to “reflect market conditions”

ITV Plc: The British broadcaster’s launch of ITVX, a free, ad-funded streaming service increased the company’s streaming hours by 55% in its first month.

  • CEO Carolyn McCall said the World Cup was an important part of bringing in new viewers to ITVX, and excluding football, streaming was up 29% year on year

Shell Plc: The energy giant restarted production at the world’s biggest floating LNG plant in Australia, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The facility was shut last month due to a fire. 

In Westminster

The UK and the European Union are poised to enter the final stretch of negotiations over post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, there are a host of important and tricky areas left to resolve before a durable solution is found. Outstanding issues include disagreement over the governance of the Northern Ireland protocol. Read more here.

Britain is sending a slimmed down delegation to Davos this year as the prime minister, the chancellor and a number of major business leaders give the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the Swiss alps a miss.

In Case You Missed It 

Prolific criminal hackers were behind a cyberattack on Royal Mail that has shut down its ability to send international letters and parcels, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. 

Bank of England policy maker Catherine Mann said underlying inflationary forces in the UK look “pretty robust,” a signal she’s still pushing for big interest-rate increases despite the prospect of recession.

Finally, losses at DAZN Group Ltd., the sports streaming platform backed by billionaire Len Blavatnik, swelled 79% to $2.3 billion in 2021 as it poured money into top soccer rights.

Looking Ahead 

Emerging market asset manager Ashmore Group Plc will be out with a trading update on Monday, kicking off an earnings week that will also see fresh results from trenchcoat maker Burberry Group Plc, food-delivery firm Deliveroo Plc and online grocer Ocado Group Plc. 

On the macro front, UK unemployment data will be in focus on Tuesday, followed by the latest inflation figures on Wednesday. 

For a more considered take on the UK's economic and financial news, sign up to Money Distilled with John Stepek.


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