Daily business and finance update 2nd August 2023
Booming banking profits
Good morning. Today we're talking about booming banking profits, Uber’s first profit and encouraging food inflation data.
Booming banking profits
HSBC has become the latest lender to see profits jump driven by higher interest rates on loans and mortgages. The London-based bank, which makes most of its income from Asia, more than doubled its profits in the first half of the year to $21.7bn. In light of the strong results, HSBC announced a $2bn share buyback for investors. The news comes as banks face increasing pressure to pass on more of the interest rate rise to savers, with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt declaring that banks were being too slow. So far only about a quarter of the rises have been passed through, according to the financial regulator.
Uber’s milestone results
Uber reported its first ever operating profit, beating analyst expectations and marking a major milestone for the ride-hailing giant. Uber's performance was driven by record numbers in its ride-hailing and delivery businesses combined with “cost discipline”. In the three months to June, Uber posted an operating profit of $326m with trips during the quarter growing 22% to 2.3bn, or approximately 25m trips per day on average. The company has lost more than $30bn since launching in 2009 as it pursued a relentless plan for global expansion. In the past year Uber has introduced flight, train and coach bookings on its UK app and says it plans to expand further into other travel services in the country.
Food inflation optimism
Prices in stores fell for the first time in two years, in another sign that the cost-of-living crisis is starting to ease. The British Retail Consortium said that shop prices were 0.1% lower in July than in June. Annual inflation dropped to 7.6% in July from 8.4% in June. Cooking oils, fats, fish and breakfast cereals were cheaper while clothing and footwear retailers slashed prices due to wet weather. The figures should offer some relief for households struggling with tight budgets, although rising interest rates continue to lift mortgage costs for many homeowners.
Property price drop: House prices fell at the fastest annual rate for 14 years last month, according to Nationwide.
Energy profit slide: Oil giant BP profits has reported a steep fall in profits between April and June after energy prices fell back from spikes caused by Russia's war with Ukraine.
Bakery expansion: Greggs is to open more shops in supermarkets and airports, after the bakery chain reported higher sales thanks to strong demand for its evening pizza deals.
Fun and games: Toy company Mattel has announced it is on the lookout for its first-ever "Chief UNO Player" to spearhead its newest addition, UNO Quatro.
The open rate of work emails sent between 3pm and 6pm on Sunday, according to an analysis of 8.7m messages, making it the best time to send.
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