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  • Daily business and finance update 13th March 2023

Daily business and finance update 13th March 2023

SVB’s UK fallout

Good morning. Nominees that didn’t win an Oscar at last night’s ceremony will at least be able to console themselves with a luxury £100,000 goody bag, appropriately called the ‘Everyone Wins’ gift bag. This year’s hamper include silk pillowcases, a facelift courtesy of celebrity surgeon and a plot of land in Australia – “size and location unknown”.

Big Stories

SVB’s UK fallout

The UK government is preparing to provide emergency cash to tech firms hit by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, as the chancellor warned the sector was at “serious risk”. The spectacular collapse of SVB – which funds 40% of US tech startups - sent shockwaves through the finance world and is the biggest banking failure since 2008. Though small and little-known this side of the pond, SVB counts hundreds of British companies as clients including HelloFresh, Moonpig and Not on the High Street. The fear is that now the bank is insolvent, firms won’t be able to access cash to pay staff and suppliers.

SVB fell into trouble last week when it announced it lost $2bn selling assets which led to concerns over its financial health and thus a flood of customers withdrew their deposits. The bank tried to shore up its finances by asking investors for more cash but that plan failed so US regulators stepped in to takeover the bank. There are reports that the UK arm could be rescued by another bank.

UK’s economic bounce

January’s GDP figure for the UK was positive, showing another month that the country hasn’t been in recession. The economy grew by 0.3%, better than the 0.1% expected by analysts, driven by boost in activity across the education, health and recreation sectors, including the return of football’s Premier League after the winter World Cup. The Bank of England and the government’s independent forecaster, the OBR, both expect a recession to last the whole of 2023, but so far the data has defied expectations. However the UK economy remains 0.2% below its level in February 2020, before the pandemic began, the only G7 nation in that position.

Tesco suppliers hit back

Manufacturers and farmers have warned that they could go out of business after Tesco announced it would introduce fees on goods sold through its website. The UK’s biggest supermarket wrote to suppliers last week explaining it would introduce Amazon-style ‘fulfilment fees’ on each item sold on Tesco.com, Tesco.ie and through its app to help cover rising online costs. Tesco did not specify the fees but according to The Times it would be 12p per item on branded goods and 5p for own-label products, independent of the price.

Mega-oil profits

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, posted the biggest annual profit of any public company in the world yesterday. The Saudi Arabian-state owned firm made $161bn in 2022, up 47% on the year before. The monster profit came off the back of soaring energy prices after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, with sanctions limiting the sale of Russian oil and gas in Western markets. And there could be more to come – Saudi Aramco hopes to increase its production to take advantage of market demand as China re-enters the global market after lifting its Covid restrictions.


Shoe issues: Adidas has received hundreds of offers for the mountain of unsold Yeezy shoes designed by Kanye West. Its CEO would prefer to just get rid of them entirely, but is struggling to figure out how to do it.

Booted off: Boots is changing the way its loyalty card works by offering discounts on more of its own-brand products but cutting the points earned per pound.

On the ropes: High street fashion retailer Superdry has instructed advisers to help it rein in costs after the business issued profit warnings.

Competing with tweets: Meta has revealed it is working on a new social network solely designed for sharing text updates like Twitter.

Border changes: Visitors to the UK will soon have to answer US-style security questions to get into the country in a major border reform.

Mobile-mega-merger: A £15bn merger between mobile network operators Vodafone and Three could be imminent.

Strong labour: The US economy added 311,000 jobs in February, more than expected and likely ensuring that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates for longer.

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