Daily business and finance update 20th July 2023
Positive inflation data
Good morning. Today we're talking about positive inflation data, Meta’s AI giveaway and multi-billion pound battery plants.
Positive inflation data
UK inflation slowed more than expected to 7.9% in June, down from 8.7% the month before and the lowest rate in 15 months. The fall was driven in large part by a drop in petrol and diesel prices, which are around 20% cheaper than they were 12 months ago. However UK inflation remains the highest among the G7 group of advanced economies. The data signals that the Bank of England’s interest rate rises may finally be having the desired effect of cooling prices. Earlier this month, markets were forecasting that the Bank would put the UK’s key interest rate up to 6.5% from 5% today. Now, markets think that rates will peak at less than 6%.
Meta AI giveaway
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company will grant open-source access to the code underpinning its AI technology. This means developers can copy, change and use it for research and commercial purposes all for free. While releasing tech you worked on for years might sound like a counterintuitive strategy, Meta believes open-sourcing will allow developers to discover problems with the software—ultimately leading to a better product and more influence for Meta. The move could force Meta’s AI competitors, Google and Microsoft, to open-source their models to retain users—and the data that comes with them.
Tata Motors, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, has announced plans to build a £4bn battery plant in the UK. The plant, which will be located in Somerset, is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs. It will have an initial capacity of 40 gigawatt hours, which is enough to power around 100,000 electric vehicles. The plant is part of Tata's plans to accelerate its shift to electric vehicles. The company has already announced plans to launch 10 new electric models by 2025. The government is hoping that the plant will help to create a "battery ecosystem" in the UK, and attract other battery manufacturers to the country. The announcement comes as the government is working to reduce its reliance on imported batteries and transition the country away from petrol and diesel cars.
Rental rises: Private rents rose faster last month than they have since records began in January 2016, latest figures show.
Profit slide: Goldman Sachs reported a 58% drop in quarterly profits, driven by major hits in its commercial real estate investments and consumer lending business.
Bank account controversy: Nigel Farage has launched a fresh attack over Coutts bank's decision to close his account.
The number of countries you can journey to without a visa if you own a Singaporean passport. It's now the world's most powerful passport, the UK is joint-fourth, at 188 visa-free destinations.
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