Good morning. Today we're talking about falling energy bills, a new Twitter rival and the US approaches crunch time.
Falling energy bills
This week the energy regulator is expected to announce that average household bills will fall by almost 20% to £2,050 in July. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, energy prices rose to such a level that the government stepped in to subsidise utility bills to keep them at a level below the regulated price cap. This subsidy has kept average bills at £2,500 compared to the price cap of over £3,000. Although wholesale gas prices have fallen in recent months, households are still expected to face stubbornly high bills into winter, at almost double the rates paid in 2020, and remain above pre-pandemic levels for the rest of the decade, according to analysts at Cornwall Insight.
Meta copies Twitter
The owner of Facebook and Instagram wants to build the next major microblogging platform to rival Twitter. According to reports, Meta is planning to launch a text-based app it’s secretly been testing out with celebrities, influencers and creators. The app will feature a feed, and the ability to make text posts up to 500 characters long with attached links, photos and videos. Meta reportedly plans to release the competitor to Elon Musk’s app this summer and may eventually allow it to sync up with other contenders for Twitter’s crown, like Mastodon.
The US is edging ever closer to its “X-date,” when the country’s Treasury is expected to run out of cash and default if a new deal on its debt ceiling isn’t reached. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen said that the chances the US can pay all its bills by mid-June are “quite low”, while Goldman Sachs economists estimated that by 8 or 9 June the Treasury could see its cash levels drop below the $30bn – the bare minimum it needs to pay its bills. Today President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are set to resume negotiations to agree a deal. Failure to do so could see the US suspend its social insurance payments and the salaries of federal and military employees. Default also threatens to create volatility in global financial markets and wreak havoc on the global economy.
Stepping down: John Allan will stand down as chair of Tesco after allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
Profit sharing: Nationwide has revealed a £340m payout to its membership on the back of a 40% increase in annual profits.
To the moon: NASA has selected Jeff Bezos’s company Blue Origin to construct a spacecraft that will send astronauts to and from the surface of the moon, winning a contract valued at $3.4bn.
Lawyers united: London-based law firm Allen & Overy and New York's Shearman & Sterling plan to merge in a deal that would create one of the world's largest legal practices.
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Number Of The Day
The number of UK households who missed rent or mortgage payments in April, according to a survey by consumer group Which.
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