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  • Daily business and finance update 15th March 2023

Daily business and finance update 15th March 2023

Labour market cools

Good morning. The creators of ChatGPT have revealed a new model they say is even more powerful than the already viral artificial intelligence chatbot. The new version GPT-4 can see and understand images as well as text, allowing users to ask questions about pictures.

Big Stories

Labour market cools

New data from the Office for National Statistics suggests the UK job market maybe cooling, with wages rising by an annual rate of 5.7% in January, less than expected and down from 6.0% the month before. It's the first slowdown in more than a year. Taking into account inflation, wages actually decreased by 3.5% in January. There was also a 51,000 drop in the number of job vacancies to 1.2m, while the redundancy rate edged higher. The news comes days ahead of the Bank of England’s next policy meeting. High wage growth makes inflation more persistent therefore signs of a slowing labour market will determine how much further interest rates will rise. That said, the labour market remains relatively strong, with the unemployment rate of 3.7% lower than expected and still near 50-year lows.

Budget preview

This afternoon the chancellor Jeremy Hunt will announce the government’s annual plan for tax and public spending with initiatives to boost employment and investment already unveiled. The economy is being held back by the 250,000 fewer people in the workforce compared to before Covid with early retirees seen as a major factor. The chancellor will reveal plans to persuade people into work with higher pension contribution allowances and childcare support. There will also be plans for 12 new investment zones to “supercharge” growth across the UK through tax incentives and extra funding.

More Meta cuts

Yesterday the owner of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, announced it would cut another 10,000 jobs, four months after it slashed 11,000 workers in what was its first-ever major round of redundancies. At its peak last September the world’s largest social networking firm had grown to 87,000 employees globally, with almost half being hired during the pandemic. But high inflation, rising interest rates and recession fears have led to cost cutting measures at major tech companies. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called 2023 the “year of efficiency” adding that “the world economy changed, competitive pressures grew, and our growth slowed considerably.”

Chicken expansion

US fast-food chicken chain Chick-fil-A is looking to expand into Europe and Asia by 2026. America’s third largest fast-food chain by sales plans to spend $1bn on the expansion into five international markets. The news follows similar announcements from McDonald’s and Starbucks, which plan to open thousands of new locations in China over the next two years. This isn’t the first time Chick-fil-A has tried to go global. In the 1990s, it opened outlets in South Africa but failed to gain enough attraction and closed. In 2019, the company received backlash for its donations to groups with anti-gay agendas, and as result, a UK store went out of business in just a few months.


Bouncing back: Shares in US banks have recovered some of the steep losses they have seen since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Open for business: China will reopen its borders to foreign tourists for the first time in the three years since the pandemic.

Walking out: A strike by Tube drivers and station staff will shut the London underground on Wednesday, bringing widespread disruption to the capital.

From bad to worse: Credit Suisse has said it found “material weaknesses” in its financial reporting controls and that clients were still withdrawing cash, the latest blow to the Swiss bank as it tries to recover from a string of scandals.

Crypto limit: NatWest is limiting the amount of money customers can transfer to cryptocurrency exchanges.

Cooling down: US inflation dropped to 6% over the 12 months to February, complicating the picture for interest rates as banks and stock markets feel the hit from the Silicon Valley Bank collapse.

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Number Of The Day


The number of people with personal fortunes worth $30m or more (aka ultra-high-net-worths), who own homes in London. The capital is in second place to New York, which hosts just under 22,000 UHNWs.

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