- Market Loop
- Daily business and finance update 18th December 2023
Daily business and finance update 18th December 2023
Rates stay put
Good morning. Today we're talking about interest rates staying put, rising consumer confidence and Google’s antitrust loss.
Rates stay put
At its latest monetary policy meeting the Bank of England held interest rates at 5.25%, a 15-year high. It marks the third month in a row of unchanged rates but the Bank insisted it was too early to speculate on when cuts could be coming. Andrew Bailey, the Bank’s governor, said it had “come a long way this year” after successive rate increases had helped to bring inflation down from over 10% in January to 4.6% in October. “But there is still some way to go,” he warned. “We’ll continue to watch the data closely, and take the decisions necessary to get inflation all the way back to 2%.” In contrast the US Federal Reserve sent markets into a frenzy last week by suggesting that it expected to cut interest rates three times next year.
Consumer confidence rising
UK consumer confidence edged higher in December as households looked forward to lower inflation and a slightly improved economy in 2024. The market research firm GfK Ltd. said its measure of sentiment increased 2 points to minus 22, the highest level since January 2022. The negative reading still means household confidence is shaky. The increased optimism was seen across measures including respondents’ financial situation, their economic outlook, and major purchases.
Epic win over Google
Fortnite-maker Epic Games won a major antitrust battle after a jury ruled that Google had turned its Google Play app store and Google Play Billing service into an illegal monopoly that harmed videogame makers. The case, brought on by Epic Games three years ago, could reshape the rules around how businesses make money on the Android operating system. Although Google has said it will challenge the decision, and a judge has not yet ruled what penalty may be appropriate, it’s possible that Google will have to make significant changes to how it runs the app store. If Epic being involved in a major antitrust lawsuit sounds familiar, that’s because it’s also been embroiled in a similar years-long battle against Apple—though it’s been less successful there so far.
Takeover rumours: The high street billionaire Mike Ashley is in talks to buy Matchesfashion, the luxury clothing site.
Cooling down: Petrol prices have fallen to lowest level at the pumps on average for more than two years, the RAC has said.
Fortune forfeit: Former BP CEO Bernard Looney will forfeit up to £32.4m after the oil giant found he committed "serious misconduct" in failing to disclose relationships with colleagues.
Getting ready for sale: Boots owner Walgreens is considering a £7bn UK listing of the high street chain after efforts to sell the business failed last year.
Number of the Day
How much commodities chief Ed Emerson, who has retired at 47, has earnt at Goldman Sachs since 2020 — more than the CEO.
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