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Factory Slump Drags UK Economy Close To Stagnation In August – Business Live

25% on Monday to pass €700 per megawatt-hour for the first time. The level is about 14 times the seasonal average over the past five years.

— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) August 22, 2022n”,”url”:”″,”id”:”1561697025749557248″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”8e097b4a-29e8-4190-bfd0-6573912c0b8c”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”Jim Reid of Deutsche Bank told clients that the energy crisis had intensified.

“,”elementId”:”d88e658a-6660-46f8-bc48-bca34c74e30a”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:” n Starting in Europe, the energy crisis intensified yet further, after news over the weekend that Nord Stream would be shut for maintenance at the end of the month introduced fresh fears it would not re-open.

n European natural gas prices ratcheted +14.59% higher to €280/MWH, a record high. German power prices surged +18.60% to another record as well, closing at €663 and breaching €700/MWH intraday for the first time ever.

n”,”elementId”:”6a01f5f5-3412-4bef-b1c0-72c419e3cd11″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”This summer’s heatwaves have already strained Europe’s energy supplies. Such high prices will hurt households badly, while disruption during the winter months could be devastating for business activity.

“,”elementId”:”227e1f9b-2f51-4a35-8262-0359da756018″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”Tapas Strickland, a director of economics at National Australia Bank, says:

“,”elementId”:”7a9d552c-b40a-4fec-a7c1-af3ee14db4d7″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:” n “Europe’s dire energy situation suggests the peak of inflation is not here yet and the risk remains that high inflation is sticky for longer without further aggressive central bank action.

n “No surprise then to see the dollar at near multi-decade highs against a falling euro and British pound.”

n”,”elementId”:”189ba321-49a7-477f-b71d-ac0637ff0580″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TweetBlockElement”,”html”:”this is looking exponential now:

— BionicBanker (@BrokenBanker) August 22, 2022n”,”url”:”″,”id”:”1561687283530620929″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”defc232f-7689-4b84-9962-f37188144cf9″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”While energy shortage fears hit the euro, the dollar is in demand. Traders are anticipating the Federal Reserve will continue to lift US interest rates to battle inflation, despite the slowdown in the global economy.

“,”elementId”:”97a24e7c-622b-4603-95ae-8b5ed7c7fef4″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.ImageBlockElement”,”media”:{“allImages”:[{“index”:0,”fields”:{“height”:”2101″,”width”:”3500″},”mediaType”:”Image”,”mimeType”:”image/jpeg”,”url”:””},{“index”:1,”fields”:{“isMaster”:”true”,”height”:”2101″,”width”:”3500″},”mediaType”:”Image”,”mimeType”:”image/jpeg”,”url”:””},{“index”:2,”fields”:{“height”:”1200″,”width”:”2000″},”mediaType”:”Image”,”mimeType”:”image/jpeg”,”url”:””},{“index”:3,”fields”:{“height”:”600″,”width”:”1000″},”mediaType”:”Image”,”mimeType”:”image/jpeg”,”url”:””},{“index”:4,”fields”:{“height”:”300″,”width”:”500″},”mediaType”:”Image”,”mimeType”:”image/jpeg”,”url”:””},{“index”:5,”fields”:{“height”:”84″,”width”:”140″},”mediaType”:”Image”,”mimeType”:”image/jpeg”,”url”:””}]},”data”:{“alt”:”Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last night.”,”caption”:”Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last night.”,”credit”:”Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters”},”displayCredit”:true,”role”:”inline”,”imageSources”:[{“weighting”:”inline”,”srcSet”:[{“src”:””,”width”:620},{“src”:””,”width”:1240},{“src”:””,”width”:605},{“src”:””,”width”:1210},{“src”:”″,”width”:445},{“src”:”″,”width”:890}]},{“weighting”:”thumbnail”,”srcSet”:[{“src”:”″,”width”:140},{“src”:”″,”width”:280},{“src”:”″,”width”:120},{“src”:”″,”width”:240}]},{“weighting”:”supporting”,”srcSet”:[{“src”:”″,”width”:380},{“src”:””,”width”:760},{“src”:”″,”width”:300},{“src”:”″,”width”:600},{“src”:””,”width”:620},{“src”:””,”width”:1240},{“src”:””,”width”:605},{“src”:””,”width”:1210},{“src”:”″,”width”:445},{“src”:”″,”width”:890}]},{“weighting”:”showcase”,”srcSet”:[{“src”:”″,”width”:860},{“src”:””,”width”:1720},{“src”:””,”width”:780},{“src”:””,”width”:1560},{“src”:””,”width”:620},{“src”:””,”width”:1240},{“src”:””,”width”:605},{“src”:””,”width”:1210},{“src”:”″,”width”:445},{“src”:”″,”width”:890}]},{“weighting”:”halfwidth”,”srcSet”:[{“src”:””,”width”:620},{“src”:””,”width”:1240},{“src”:””,”width”:605},{“src”:””,”width”:1210},{“src”:”″,”width”:445},{“src”:”″,”width”:890}]},{“weighting”:”immersive”,”srcSet”:[{“src”:”″,”width”:1900},{“src”:”″,”width”:3800},{“src”:”″,”width”:1300},{“src”:””,”width”:2600},{“src”:””,”width”:1140},{“src”:”″,”width”:2280},{“src”:”″,”width”:980},{“src”:”″,”width”:1960},{“src”:””,”width”:740},{“src”:”″,”width”:1480},{“src”:””,”width”:660},{“src”:””,”width”:1320},{“src”:””,”width”:480},{“src”:””,”width”:960}]}],”elementId”:”d537b7a4-3dd2-4b38-baef-e7c5bee0ea64″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”Wall Street saw its worst day since June last night, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 2% as the summer rally fizzled out.

“,”elementId”:”9c9f7204-7825-49bf-8fac-dbafd3104fe6″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.SubheadingBlockElement”,”html”:”Also coming up today”,”elementId”:”61910d78-e90c-412e-931e-34b00ff18cc4″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”The latest surveys of purchasing managers across Europe will show the damage caused by soaring energy prices and extreme weather this summer, including low water levels on the Rhine.

“,”elementId”:”f72a2bfa-6a4f-4b5d-94f1-aed1ef3a48a0″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”August’s flash purchasing managers surveys are expected to show that eurozone factories shrank again this month, while the services sector struggled.

“,”elementId”:”10fe4092-8f33-4119-9f66-d757e419f10c”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”Michael Hewson of CMC Markets has the details:

“,”elementId”:”d6f5bf77-8288-47cf-9f42-3893826e0476″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:” n Surging energy prices, along with sharply declining water levels on the Rhine have cut the rug out from the manufacturing sector in Germany with today’s August flash PMI expected to see a further decline from 49.3 to 48, while services activity is also expected to slip further from 49.7 to 49.

n In France the picture isn’t any better, although the services sector is benefitting from a bit of a tourism boost, however the forest fires could well pull economic activity here down quite a lot more. In manufacturing economic activity is likely to slip to 49, from 49.5, while services could slip from 53.2 by a lot more than the 53 that is currently being forecast.

n”,”elementId”:”100e6ea4-32fd-4c85-8baf-00498b8be86c”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”In the UK, the picture is slightly better, but the PMI survey could show a slowdown in growth.

“,”elementId”:”d1bea474-10c3-41b4-8ed0-e284e6f04230″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:” n With August being a slow period due to holidays, we could well start to see economic activity on the PMI level start to slide into contraction territory, from 52.1 for manufacturing in July and from 52.6 for services in July.

n”,”elementId”:”b69ba96c-ecd8-4b5d-a02c-319241bef00e”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.SubheadingBlockElement”,”html”:”The agenda”,”elementId”:”d4b52127-2106-4df4-8687-72529e810c82″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:” n 9am BST: Eurozone flash manufacturing and services PMI survey for August

n 9.30am BST: UK flash manufacturing and services PMI survey for August

n 11am BST: CBI survey of industrial trends

n 2.45pm BST: US flash manufacturing and services PMI survey for August

n 3pm BST: Eurozone consumer confidence survey for August

n 3pm BST: US new home sales for July

n”,”elementId”:”d8c7dbae-2150-4c0e-84f3-ebca6a4f0bee”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1661236612000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”07.36 BST”,”blockLastUpdated”:1661237585000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”07.53 BST”,”blockFirstPublished”:1661236612000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”07.36 BST”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”07.36″,”title”:”Introduction: euro at two-decade low”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Tue 23 Aug 2022 11.31 BST”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Tue 23 Aug 2022 07.36 BST”}],”filterKeyEvents”:false,”id”:”key-events-carousel-mobile”}”>

UK factory output falls for first time since Feb 2021, reports CBIThe latest survey of UK factories by the CBI has confirmed that the sector is slowing.

British industrial output fell over the past three months for the first time since February 2021, according to the CBI’s ‘industrial trends’ report.

Firms also reported a drop in new business, with the order book balance hitting its lowest since April 2021.

This mirrors the message from this morning’s PMI survey, which showed a surprisingly sharp drop in factory activity this month.

CBI economist Alpesh Paleja says:

“With expectations for future growth subdued, steps will need to be taken to shore-up confidence in the short to medium term – particularly supporting vulnerable firms and consumers with energy price rises,”

UK customers face ‘catastrophic winter’ as energy costs soar, says EDF retail boss

Jasper Jolly

The UK faces a “dramatic and catastrophic winter for customers” as energy prices soar, according to a stark warning from the head of EDF Energy’s retail business.

Philippe Commaret, the energy firm’s managing director for customers, called for extra government intervention, including help for households to insulate their homes and a VAT cut for small businesses as prices jump to record levels.

Prices for gas and electricity, which had already shot up around the world as economies recovered from coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, have been sent soaring by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Russia using its control over European gas supplies to try to gain political leverage.

“We face, despite the support the government has already announced, a dramatic and catastrophic winter for customers,” Commaret told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“In January, half of the UK households might be in fuel poverty.”

Here’s the full story:

No let-up in Europe’s energy crunch:

MAP OF THE DAY: Day-ahead electricity prices in Europe are eye-watering, with lots of countries setting record highs for today. Notable to see the Nordics close to €400 per MWh, and Germany at €600. Before 2020, anything above €75-100 was considered expensive| #EnergyCrisis

— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) August 23, 2022 UK pubs and brewers call for urgent help on energy billsA closed pub in Shepton Mallet, England, last month. Since the year 2000, a quarter of pubs have closed in the UK, totalling more than 13,000 locations. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty ImagesBritain’s pubs and brewers are calling for more help to handle soaring energy prices.

A survey by industry trade title The Morning Advertiser has found that three-quarters of pub operators cannot afford the jump in energy bills; more than 65% said they’d seen their utility costs increase by over 100%.

Heath Ball, MD of The Frisco Group, which operates three pubs across the South East of England, warns that the UK could see ‘mass pub and restaurant closures’ unless the government provides more help.

“This energy bill crisis comes on the back of the most testing of times as businesses try and recover from the Covid crisis and I think it poses an even greater threat to the survival of pubs.

Brits face the prospect of losing thousands of pubs if something isn’t done soon to help.”

The brewing industry also faces soaring energy prices, alongside higher raw material costs.

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have written to chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, calling for an urgent cap on energy prices for small businesses, and grants for renewable technology to help firms reduce energy use.

SIBA chairman Roy Allkin says:

“With energy bills soaring we are calling on Government to back British beer and help independent brewers with an energy price cap for small businesses, and to offer grants and incentives for the many businesses looking to brew with more green energy.

It is also vital that the Governments plan to tempt people back to the pub with a new discounted draught duty rate is extended to the smaller twenty and thirty litre containers used by small brewers, or risk Global lager brands being the only ones who benefit.

The discounted draught duty rate was announced in October’s budget, followed by a photocall with then-chancellor Rishi Sunak and PM Boris Johnson posing with 30-litre kegs that didn’t actually qualify for the saving.

Back in the travel sector, Gatwick has been forced to cancel some flights at the last minute, just hours after declaring it was ‘business as usual’ (see earlier post).

The airport has blamed the disruption on staff sickness, leading to late-notice absence in its air traffic control tower.

Sky News reports that around 26 EasyJet flights to and from Gatwick to be cancelled at the last minute.

Today’s PMI reports show that the UK fared better than France and Germany, which both recorded drops in private sector activity this month.

But the UK could soon follow them into contraction, warns Matthew Ryan, head of market strategy at global financial services firm Ebury:

The UK’s cost of living crisis is set to get worse before it gets better, and with energy prices continuing to march to fresh highs, it seems increasingly likely that a sharp slowdown, and a potentially protracted recession, may be on the horizon.

“That said, we note that UK economic data continues to hold up slightly better than in the Euro Area, which appears fragile in light of the bloc’s higher sensitivity to the ongoing energy crisis in Europe.

Paul Dales of Capital Economics says:

Even though the S&P Global/CIPS composite flash PMI stayed above the no-change level of 50.0 in August, it probably won’t be long before it joins other indications suggesting that the [UK] economy is already in recession.

The fall in the new export orders balance, from 46.4 to 40.5, suggests that weak overseas demand is taking a toll on UK companies, Dales adds.

August’s PMI report shows that UK businesses are facing a slew of worries, from rising prices and slowing demand to the strike at Felixstowe port.

Dr John Glen, CIPS Chief Economist, explains:

Supply chain managers reported client reluctance to spend as the cost of living and the cost of doing business remained at elevated levels and both domestic and export orders were affected. In turn, job creation took a hit with the weakest rise for 17 months as confidence dropped amongst manufacturers to the lowest for over two years.

Makers began to re-think their capacity-building strategies under challenging economic conditions and placing a question mark over whether they should continue hiring.

Service companies had a better month, but only marginally as new order levels were sustained and optimism remained that customers would continue to buy throughout the year. However, this may reverse quite quickly.

There are many concerns keeping private sector business owners awake at night, such as disruptions to supply chains from war, the highest inflation in the UK for almost 50 years, the impact of higher interest rates and now port disruptions in the UK to name a few.”

Factory slump leaves UK economy near stagnation in AugustJust in: A slump in factory output has dragged the UK private sector to near stagnation this month.

Growth in Britain’s private sector slowed to a crawl in August as factory output fell and growth in the larger services sector slowed, according to the latest survey of purchasing managers at UK firms.

Companies reported muted customer demand as well as shortages of both labour and inputs, adding to signs that a downturn is looming.

The closely-watched flash UK composite PMI, which tracks the private sector economy, fell to an 18-month low of 50.9, down from July’s 52.1, near to stagnation.

UK manufacturers reported the sharpest fall in production since May 2020, when the economy was in its first Covid-19 lockdown. Factories blamed reduced customer demand, the delayed delivery of inputs and labour shortages.

The Flash UK manufacturing PMI sank to just 46.0, a 27-month low, down from 52.1 (A reading below 50 shows activity fell).

That will add to concerns that the UK is sliding towards recession, after the economy contracted in the April-June quarter.

Annabel Fiddes, economics associate director at S&P Global Market Intelligence said:

“The UK private sector moved closer to stagnation in August, as mild growth of activity across the service sector only just offset a deepening downturn at manufacturers.

Waning customer demand amid the weaker economic outlook, and shortages of both staff and inputs, were reported to have hit goods producers hard, with firms registering the quickest drops in output and new work since May 2020.

Excluding the initial phase of the pandemic in early-2020, the reduction in manufacturing output was the quickest seen since the start of 2009. Meanwhile, the service sector registered the weakest increase in activity since the recovery began in early 2021.

Polish chemicals group Grupa Azoty is temporarily halting production of some key products including nitrogen fertilizers due to record gas prices.

The move illustrates how soaring energy prices are leading to ‘demand destruction’ (where it simply isn’t economical for a factory to operate).

Reuters has the details:

The current situation in the natural gas market, which determines the profitability of production, is exceptional, completely independent of the company and impossible to forsee,” the company said in a regulatory filing on Monday.

Grupa Azoty said it would carry out investment processes and maintenance during the standstill and would continue to produce catalyzers, polyamide film, humic acid, thermoplastic starch and concentrated nitric acid.

Shares in Grupa Azoty have dropped 4% today, and are down a fifth over the last month.

Poland’s top chemicals company stopped making some key fertiliser products because of record natural gas prices 🚨🇵🇱

🏭 European gas rallied to an all-time high this week, triggering demand destruction across the region

💰 Now fertiliser supply at

— Stephen Stapczynski (@SStapczynski) August 23, 2022 Natural gas prices in Europe are about seven times higher than they were at this time last year amid signs that soaring energy costs are crippling economic output 🇪🇺

— Stephen Stapczynski (@SStapczynski) August 23, 2022 With business growth in both France and Germany shrinking this month, it’s no surprise that the wider eurozone has struggled in August too.

Eurozone business activity contracted for the second month running as the service sector growth ground to a near-halt.

S&P’s Global Flash PMI, just released, fell to its lowest since February 2021 as the cost of living crisis forced consumers to cut spending and supply constraints hurt manufacturers, leaving factories in a downturn.

This pulled the eurozone PMI Composite Output Index down to an 18-month low of 49.2, down from July’s 49.9 (which showed a marginal contraction).

Andrew Harker, economics director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said the eurozone economy appears to be shrinking, and that firms face a struggle over the rest of the year.

“The latest PMI data for the eurozone point to an economy in contraction during the third quarter of the year.

Cost of living pressures mean that the recovery in the service sector following the lifting of pandemic restrictions has ebbed away, while manufacturing remained mired in contraction in August, seeing another record accumulation of stocks of finished goods as firms were unable to shift products in a falling demand environment. This glut of inventories suggests little prospect of an improvement in manufacturing production any time soon.

“Declining output is now being seen across a range of sectors, from basic materials and autos firms through to tourism and real estate companies as economic weakness becomes more broad based in nature.

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