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  • Daily business and finance update 31st May 2023

Daily business and finance update 31st May 2023

Mortgage deals run dry

Good morning. Today we're talking about dwindling mortgage offers, chipmaker’s milestone valuation and Asda’s latest acquisition.

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Mortgage deals run dry

British banks have pulled nearly 800 mortgage deals from the market in the past week as fears grow over how high interest rates will go. Last week official figures showed that inflation in April slowed to 8.7% from 10.1% the previous month but with core inflation — which strips out volatile items such as food and energy — is at a 31-year high. Markets now think the Bank of England will have to raise rates above their current level of 4.5% to as high as 5.5% this year to bring down inflation to the target of 2%. Since the inflation announcement expectations of a prolonged high interest rate environment has fed through to mortgage pricing. The average rates on two- and five-year fixed deals have increased to above 5% from around 3% a year ago.

Trillion dollar chips

Nvidia’s market value soared to a $1 trillion days after upgrading its sales expectations thanks to soaring demand for its AI chips. Shares in the US chipmaker have more than doubled since the start of the year and it’s become the fifth company to reach the trillion milestone after Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft. This week Nvidia unveiled several new updates, including a supercomputer, robotics platform and engine to create AI-based interactions with video game characters.

Petrol station merger

Asda announced it will buy petrol station operator EG Group for £2.3bn as it takes further steps into the convenience food sector. Asda and EG are owned by the billionaire Issa brothers and private equity group TDR Capital. The combined group will have revenues of almost £30bn, 170,000 employees, nearly 600 supermarkets and 700 petrol forecourts. Asda is the UK’s third biggest supermarket behind Tesco and Sainsbury’s and has historically lagged its rivals who have hundreds of smaller ‘express’ outlets. These stores boomed during the Covid lockdowns when consumers were wary of travelling and mixing in larger, busier stores. Last year Asda bought 132 forecourts from the Co-op and announced plans to open 300 convenience stores in the next four years, creating 10,000 new jobs.



Back on strike: Passengers are bracing for the first of three rail strikes this week as services in England come to a standstill amid a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

Behind bars: Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has begun her 11-year prison sentence in Texas.

Bleak warning: Some of the world’s most influential tech leaders say AI risks the extinction of humanity.

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The value of the Turkish lira reached this week against the US dollar after the re-election of President Erdogan - a record low. The lira has slumped around 7% since the start of the year, and lost more than 90% of its value over the past decade.

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