Reports says Heathrow unions are close to a pay deal with British Airways
Pound rises on Boris Johnson resignation
FTSE climbs amid European rally
Tom Stevenson: The downturn is about to start inflicting pain on investors
The eurozone will be plunged into recession regardless of whether or not Putin cuts gas supplies to the continent, an economist has warned.
Carsten Brzeski at ING said: “The long-awaited economic recovery of the eurozone has been cancelled. None of the current risk factors for the eurozone economy is likely to disappear soon.”
ING cut its 2022 growth forecast for the region to 2.6pc and predicted a recession “at the turn of the year”. Mr Brzeski said this was “without actually predicting a full stop of Russian oil and gas”.
Fears have been mounting that the escalating energy crisis will lead to rationing and blackouts this winter, pushing Europe into a downturn.
ING said this would make it harder for the European Central Bank to tighten monetary policy, predicting that it will only raise interest rates by 100 basis points before the end of the year. Money markets are betting on 140 basis points of hikes.
Mr Brzeski added: “The looming recession, not only in the eurozone but also in the US, along with doubts about debt sustainability in the eurozone, should prevent the ECB from going beyond the initial normalisation, keeping rates on hold in 2023.”
That's all from us today, thank you for following! Before you set off for the evening, have a look at the latest stories from our reporters:
Social media apps to be banned from suspending news organisations under new law
Social media apps will be banned from taking down news organisations accused of breaching their rules under news laws to make the tech giants more accountable.
Youtube and Facebook will be forced to keep news stories on their websites even if their moderators are reviewing them, as part of changes to safeguard press freedom in the Online Safety Bill.
Ministers tabled an amendment to protect against the "arbitrary removal of articles" following a number of cases where social media companies have taken down stories before reversing their decisions.
Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary, said: "Our democracy depends on people’s access to high quality journalism and our world-leading internet safety law brings in tough new safeguards for freedom of speech and the press online.
"Yet we’ve seen tech firms arbitrarily remove legitimate journalism with a complete lack of transparency and this could seriously impact public discourse. These extra protections will stop that from happening."
Planning delays trigger housebuilding slowdown , says Persimmon
A wave of planning delays and supply chain upheaval has triggered a slowdown in housebuilding, one of Britain's biggest developers has warned.
Persimmon blamed planning hold-ups after the number of new homes completed dropped to 6,652 for the six months to June, compared to 7,406 over the same period a year ago.
The performance slip caused shares to fall 5pc to 1,772p in afternoon trading. Persimmon's revenues were also down by 8pc to £1.7bn over the period.
Chief executive Dean Finch said he still expected half-year profits to beat the company's expectations as demand and prices remained strong.
"As we rebuild our outlet position, delays in the planning system, disruption in material supply chains and challenges in securing labour have impacted completions in the period."
That's all from me for today – thanks for following! Ben Woods is in the hot seat for the rest of the day.
Lurpak owner defends surge in butter price
The owner of Lurpark has been forced onto the defensive following a backlash over a surge in the price of its butter.
The price of the costly Danish spread has jumped by more than a third over the last year, with a 1kg tub reaching more than £9.
The huge jump in prices has invited ridicule from shoppers and forced supermarkets to start putting security tags on the butter.
Arla Foods, which owns the dairy staple, said: "We understand that inflation in food prices is hitting many households really hard.
"Unfortunately, our farmers are facing a similar situation with prices for the feed, fertiliser and fuel they need to produce milk all rising significantly."
Britain in 2022… Lurpak butter is at £6 a tub in ASDA and even has a security tag on it.
Mental! 😂🤦🏼♂️ pic.twitter.com/ZxOocgYeZg
— Charlie Bennett (@CharIieBennett) July 5, 2022
Price of offshore wind power at record low
The price of offshore wind power has fallen to a record low amid growing competition among developers in a boost to Britain's attempt to ditch fossil fuel imports.
Rachel Millard has more:
Developers have agreed to build new farms for a guaranteed electricity price of £37.35 per MWh, beating the previous record of £39.65 per MWh set in 2019. The prices have fallen more than 65pc since 2015, when they were almost £120 per MWh.
Britain has secured electricity from 93 renewable projects expected to come online between 2024 and 2027, in a new auction round announced on Thursday. Officials said the 11GW contracted could power up to 12m homes or 40pc of the total.
Tidal stream power is included for the first time, alongside offshore and onshore wind and solar power.
It comes as households are struggling with soaring energy bills due to global shortages of natural gas worsened by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
BoE should 'front load' rate rises, says Catherine Mann
The Bank of England should "front load" interest rate rises in order to fight inflation, even if it boosts the chances of a policy reversal in the future.
That's according to MPC member Catherine Mann, who said it was key to move quickly if there was uncertainty over inflation.
Ms Mann has voted for half-point increases three times this year. The majority of policy makers opted instead to move in smaller quarter-point increases.
Given the shocks that have hit the UK economy this year, Ms Mann said: "I think history will be kind if there is a future policy reversal."
Gas prices extend rally as supply fears mount
Natural gas is heading for its longest stretch of daily gains in more than nine months as persistent worries about Putin's supply cuts spread through the market.
Benchmark European prices, which have doubled over the last month, surged as much as 9pc in a seventh day of gains.
The crisis has also sent power prices to record highs as Russia's grip over energy supplies sparks fears of rationing and blackouts across the continent this winter.
A key pipeline from Russia to Germany is running at just 40pc of its capacity and is scheduled to close for maintenance starting next week. Concerns are mounting that it won't return to full service after the work.
Wall Street rises after jobless data
Wall Street's main indices have pushed higher as fears about inflation and the pace of interest rate rises eased.
US jobless claims rose last week, suggesting a moderation in the labour market's recent strength.
Reports that China is preparing a 1.5 trillion yuan (£187bn) stimulus plan also boosted commodity prices as the dollar retreated for the first time in five days.
The S&P 500 rose 0.6pc at the opening bell, while the Dow Jones was up 0.7pc. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.5pc.
Net zero agenda to hobble Britain with £180bn of tax rises
The net zero push and Britain's ageing population will force Britain to hike taxes or cut spending by more than £180bn, the budget watchdog has warned.
Tom Rees has the details:
The Office for Budget Responsibility said a loss of revenue from motoring taxes and soaring spending on old age care will cause debt to exceed 100pc of GDP by the middle of the century and 267pc in 50 years.
Keeping debt at pre-pandemic levels, around 75pc of GDP, would require an extra £37bn every decade for the next fifty years, raised either through tax increases or spending cuts each decade.
The watchdog said it is a “significant sum, but over the space of a decade not an inconceivable one”, totalling £185bn over the next five decades.
Without action, debt would be at higher levels than seen during the Second World War, the OBR warned in its Fiscal Risks and Sustainability report.
"Global shocks add to ageing and other domestic cost pressures to place public debt on an unsustainable path," the OBR said.
US jobless claims rise to highest since January
Applications for US jobless benefits rose last week to the highest since January, in a sign the recent strength in the labour market is starting to moderate.
Initial unemployment claims increased by 4,000 to 235,000 in the week to July 2, according to Labor Department data.
Continuing claims for state benefits rose to 1.38m in the week to June 25, still near a historic low but the highest in nine weeks.
The rise in claims underscores some moderation in what’s been an extremely tight labiyr market, as applications hold near the highest level since January.
Interest rate rises by the Federal Reserve are expected to cool demand for workers, which could lead to more layoffs.
The figures come ahead of tomorrow’s employment report from the Government, which is expected to show the US added the fewest jobs in over a year in June and the unemployment rate held near the lowest in more than five decades.
Sainsbury's investors vote down living wage policy
A majority of shareholders appear to have voted against a resolution that would have forced Sainsbury's to become an accredited living wage employer.
Chairman Martin Scicluna said that only 17pc of votes had been cast in favour of the shareholder resolution, which was opposed by the company.
The resolution had been brought by ShareAction. The votes are a preliminary tally before the full vote is released later.
Simon Rawson, director of corporate engagement at the non-profit, asked the board what discussions they had for them to think it was "desirable not to pay a wage that covers the cost of living".
Mr Scicluna said that Sainsbury's was "the leader" in terms of supermarkets who pay a living wage.
Covid test maker in row with Government hit by sales slump
A British Covid-19 test maker embroiled in a row with the Government has lost more than a quarter of its value after being hit by a sharp slowdown in sales, writes Hannah Boland.
Shares in Novacyt plunged by 25.6pc to hit their lowest level since the start of the pandemic after it announced revenues of £16.5m for the first half of 2022. This compares to revenues of £52.2m in the same period last year.
Revenue from Covid-19 products including PCR testing kits dropped from £47.6m to £13m and the company admitted that the drop off was "faster than previously anticipated.”
Without a pick-up in sales, total revenues for the year is now likely to fall well short of prior expectations. Novacyt now expects revenues of £25m, against a previous forecast of £35m to £45m. This would push the company to a trading loss of around £11m for the year.
Novacyt’s sales and share price crash caps a torrid year, which has seen it embroiled in a row with the government over a supply contract.
HSBC banker resigns after 'nut job' climate comments
A top banker at HSBC has resigned after an uproar over a presentation he made that accused central bankers of overstating the financial risks of climate change.
Stuart Kirk, the bank's global head of responsible investing, was suspended in May after he attacked climate “nut jobs” during the speech.
He also asked: “Who cares if Miami is six metres underwater in 100 years?"
In a post in LinkenIn, Mr Kirk said he was stepping down, adding: "I have concluded that the bank's behaviour towards me since my speech at a Financial Times conference in May has made my position, well, unsustainable."
IAG shares rise on deal hopes
Shares in IAG, owner of British Airways, have popped higher today on hopes it has now avoided a summer of strikes.
Unite: BA has improved pay offer, deal reached
Unite says it will re-ballot Heathrow-based member after reaching a pay deal with British Airways.
Talks were said to be close to a conclusion earlier today, and a statement from the union suggests it is happy with the outcome.
That could mean some travel disruption this summer can now be avoided.
Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary, said:
We welcome that BA has finally listened to the voice of its check-in staff. Unite has repeatedly warned that pay disputes at BA were inevitable unless the company took our members’ legitimate grievances seriously. I pay tribute to, and stand with, our members who have fought hard to protect their pay.
Fair to say markets didn’t really react to Mr Johnson confirming his exit. Sterling trade flat throughout. There wasn’t much new material for traders (or algorithms) to respond to, so it’s no big surprise.
Timetable for new PM next week
Speaking outside Number 10, Mr Johnson says a timetable for transition of the Conservative Party leadership (and, therefore, the next PM) will be published next week.
Pound steady as Johnson confirms resignation
Sterling is trading fairly flat as the PM confirms he will step down once a new Conservative leader has been found.
Patel says she will stay on as Johnson announces resignation
Johnson poised to resign
Follow our politics live blog here for the latest updates
I’ll bring you the latest market and business reaction here
Pound gains cool amid Johnson cabinet confusion
After a jump and mild pullback following the initial announcement of Boris Johnson’s exit, the pound grabbed more gains for much of the morning.
It’s softened a bit more since, however, as Mr Johnson presses on with installing a new cabinet despite being on the brink of quitting.
Johnson statement expected at 12:30pm
Boris Johnson is expected to give a statement at 12:30pm.
Business of state freezes up as Westminster await Johnson statement
From my colleague Nick Gutteridge…
Parliamentary committee hearings on the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and the National Security Bill were both briefly opened and then adjourned a few minutes ago because there was no minister available to attend.
— Nick Gutteridge (@nickgutteridge) July 7, 2022
Jet2 blames airports for travel chaos
Jet2 has blamed airports for failing to properly prepare for the return of air travel as pandemic restrictions eased.
My colleague Helen Cahill reports:
The low-cost airline said airports were "woefully ill-prepared and poorly resourced" and had failed to plan for an increase in customer numbers.
The company also criticised ground handlers for delivering "often atrocious customer service", and criticised long queues for security searches.
Jet 2 executive chairman Philip Meeson said many of the company's suppliers had been unwilling to invest to deliver good customer service over the summer season.
Heathrow unions and BA near deal to avert strikes
Unions representing 700 staff at Heathrow Airport are close to a deal with British Airways that could mean strikes this summer are avoided, the BBC reports.
Following nine hours of negotiations on Wednesday, an "agreement in principle" is now being discussed, the BBC understands.
Such an deal could be signed later on Thursday and would then be put to a ballot of GMB and Unite union members.
Union sources said a “good offer” on pay is on the table.
Last month, workers, who are mostly check-in staff, voted to go on strike over pay, with unions saying the action was due to a 10pc pay cut imposed during the peak of the pandemic not being reinstated.
Greg Clarke is reportedly new levelling up secretary
Steven Swinford from the Times is on a bit of a tear, and now reports that Greg Clarke, the former business secretary, will replace the (sacked) Michael Gove as levelling-up secretary. Mr Clarke was removed from the Government by Boris Johnson in 2019.
Being told Greg Clark is about to be announced as the new levelling up secretary (!!!!)https://t.co/z7kP1Gy8rE
— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) July 7, 2022
Times: Johnson announcement at 1pm
The Times’s political editor says Boris Johnson’s resignation announcement will land at 1pm… and possibly come with some other job announcements.
This could get very messy
If Boris Johnson resigns but mounts his own interim Cabinet reshuffle it will bleed into Tory leadership contest
Likely to be accusations of unfair advantage
What if Nadhim Zahawi decides it's necessary to announce a major new cost of living package?
— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) July 7, 2022
Wage-price spiral fears grow on rising inflation expectations
Expectations for inflation, wages and output prices have all risen, according to a new Bank of England survey.
The readings from the latest Decision Makers’ Panel – closely watched by the Monetary Policy Committee – will be tough reading for officials. Bloomberg reports:
Firms questioned in June expected to increase prices by 6.3pc and wages by 5.1pc over the next year… Expectations for inflation in a year’s time stood at 7.4pc, while the three-year figure was 4pc, still double the target.
The survey, which a number of officials have highlighted as key to their decision making, will increase concerns at the central bank that inflation, already at a four-decade high of 9.1pc, is becoming entrenched.
Reaction: Outlook still ‘bleak’ for sterling
We’re expecting a statement from the Prime Minister fairly shortly, though that may mean waiting until around midday.
In the meantime, here’s IG’s Chris Beauchamp with a pretty downbeat view on the pound’s rise today:
The pound has been looking for any excuse to bounce against the dollar following its drubbing lately. Boris’ decision to go removes at least some of the uncertainty, and means that a snap election is off the cards. Longer-term the outlook is still bleak for the pound, so this bounce is unlikely to last.
Reaction: Lack of election makes Bank of England’s job easier
A handover within the Conservative Party – rather than another general election – reduces the chance of economic surprises and makes the Bank of England’s job easier.
That’s the assessment from JP Morgan’s UK economist Allan Monks, who says:
Political uncertainty is a factor that will enter the BoE’s thinking, but as the current situation is unlikely to lead to a public vote it will not carry quite the same weight. With inflation a problem, hesitation or inaction by the BoE could exacerbate the problems it faces.
Mr Monks added that Mr Johnson’s resignation reduces the chance of a rushed tax cut:
Johnson’s departure lowers the odds of an imminent and politically motivated large scale cut. Pressure for something along these lines will remain as the party looks to prepare for the next election (which could now occur earlier than 2024, the previous most likely time). But we would expect the next fiscal move for this year to be focused on targeted and time limited support in response to the cost of living squeeze and very high natural gas prices.
UK equities shrug off Johnson exit
The FTSE 250 – London’s mid-cap stock index, a decent bellwether for the domestic economy – briefly popped higher after news of Boris Johnson’s resignation first broke. It has now pulled back, so it seems safe to say investors aren’t too concerned about the news.
More reaction: Financial markets prefer certainty
The analysis just keeps coming. Mike Owens at Saxo Markets says the boost to markets is likely a result of greater political certainty.
We’ve seen GBP pop about 0.5pc higher on news that Boris Johnson has decided to resign as prime minister.
Although predominately driven by the strong dollar, another less significant factor pushing the pound lower over recent weeks has been the political uncertainty, so I think we can expect to see some relief being priced into the UK currency as more details of Johnson’s plan to step down are announced.
Financial markets prefer certainty, and this situation is no different. We also see the FTSE 250 hitting the highs of the session, although it’s a strong morning for European equities in general and difficult to attribute much of the move to the political headlines.
Reaction: Lower taxes may come alongside higher interest rates
Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, says Boris Johnson's departure may mean fiscal policyhas to be a bit looser and monetary policy has to be a bit tighter.
Those implications largely depend on the winner and their attitude towards Brexit and fiscal policy. Someone leaning more to the right, like Liz Truss and to a lesser extent Penny Mordaunt, may be more inclined to play hardball in the negotiations over the Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol, which may mean the pound is weaker than otherwise and inflation is higher for longer.
But someone like Rishi Sunak or Jeremy Hunt, may take a more constructive attitude regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol and relations with the EU. That may mean the pound is stronger than otherwise, thereby easing some of the inflationary pressure.
Perhaps the key point is that all candidates will have to lean towards lower taxation to have a chance of being voted in by Conservative Party members. What would matter most is whether that comes alongside some desire for fiscal discipline or an ideological want for lower taxes regardless.
The latter may add to inflationary pressure if it leads to a net loosening in fiscal policy, while the former may not if lower taxes are funded by higher taxes elsewhere and/or spending cuts.
Overall, it’s important not to overstate the economic implications of what is undoubtedly a big political event. And a lot depends on who is the next PM.
But to the extent it does matter for the economy, the door to looser fiscal policy may have been nudged open. However, that may just mean the Bank of England has to raise interest rates further to offset any resulting boost to inflation.
Reaction: All eyes on PM's replacement
Matthew Ryan, head of market strategy at Ebury, says all eyes will be on who replaces Johnson, but recession concerns and the Bank of England's efforts to tackle inflation remain the priorty.
So far, GBP has taken the political uncertainty in its stride, and actually posted modest gains this morning on the headlines that Johnson was planning to resign.
Markets were already fully expecting him to go, but news of an imminent resignation, and the avoidance of a likely messy and potentially ugly removal from office, has given the pound a modest leg up.
Attention among traders will now turn to who will replace the outgoing PM.
At present, there is no clear candidate to replace Johnson, with bookmakers fairly evenly torn between half a dozen or more candidates, though Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Ben Wallace appear to be frontrunners.
Until a clear favourite emerges, we won’t have any real read on potential policy implications.
That said, we think that any policy changes will likely have limited implication for sterling, which we expect to be driven more by ongoing UK recession concerns and Bank of England monetary policy.
Chart: PM exit gives boost to pound
More reaction: Pound braced for further losses
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, also issues a warning on the tricky road ahead for the pound.
Markets have not been massively perturbed by the political machinations – there is not a deep political risk to UK assets here.
But I would stress that the outcome from the PM’s exit mean tax cuts are more likely to happen sooner, whoever is in Number 10 when autumn comes around.
Looser fiscal policy is the likely result of political pressures – the ‘cost of living crisis’ looms large – which would only make it harder to tame inflation; all of which is likely weighing on the pound still.
Options markets indicated traders are increasingly positioned for further losses.
Three’s a crowd in any marriage: weak politics, weak economy and weak central banks make for unhappy bedfellows that engender higher-for-longer inflation.
Reaction: New PM has a massive job on their hands
Walid Koudmani, chief market analyst at financial brokerage XTB, says pressure on the pound will remain despite an immediate relief from the Prime Minister's exit.
The resignation of Boris Johnson as UK PM will breath a sigh of relief for UK investors as it curtails the uncertainty of a government in name only.
We saw some instant buying in the GBP which gained against the euro as investors reacted to the news of his impending resignation.
Make no mistake however, the GBP remains severely weak due to the dire state of the UK economy which is underperforming its peers, likely to enter into a recession while the Bank of England refuses to hike interest rates aggressively to deal with the escalating inflation.
The new Prime Minister – whoever that is – has a massive job on their hands.
Reaction: No new leader can change the macro outlook
FX analyst Viraj Patel is sceptical about the move in the pound this morning.
He says no new Tory leader has a "magic wand" to fix the broader economic problems such as surging inflation and a looming slowdown.
This, he says, is what's driving sterling much more than the "messy" political situation.
⚠️ The pound is actually rallying on rumours Boris has resigned. This is a head fake... no new Tory leader has a magic wand to change the UK macro outlook or the UK current account deficit - which is what has been driving the pound lower. Sell on rallies. UK politics messy $GBP pic.twitter.com/IDHFnsUjUD
— Viraj Patel (@VPatelFX) July 7, 2022
Boris Johnson to stay on until autumn
Some more details are emerging about Boris Johnson's plans to resign.
The Prime Minister is set to make a statement to the nation later today, when he'll announce his resignation.
The BBC's Chris Mason says he'll stay in place until a successor is selected in the autumn.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who called on Johnson to quit, said he would stay in his role to protect national security.
It looks like Nadhim Zahawi will also remain as Chancellor amid fears about instability in financial markets.
He will serve as PM until a successor is elected in the autumn
— Chris Mason (@ChrisMasonBBC) July 7, 2022
Markets push higher
As well as gains for the pound, stocks are also taking comfort from Boris Johnson's looming resignation.
The domestically-focused FTSE 250 has extended its gains, with a rise of 0.9pc.
It's the first real sign of movement in the markets as a result of the political turmoil upending Westminster. Still, investors remain far more focus on broader economic concerns such as surging inflation and the risk of a recession.
Pound rises on Boris Johnson resignation
It's now all but confirmed – Boris Johnson is resigning.
The Prime Minister has spoken to Tory 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady and agreed to stand down, PA reports.
A new Tory leader is set to be in place by the party conference in October.
The news has pushed the pound 0.5pc higher against the dollar, with traders hoping for an end to the political turmoil.
Currys shares jump despite inflation warning
Shares in Currys have leapt to the top of the mid-cap index this morning even after it warned surging inflation will dent profits next year.
The electronics retailer posted an increase in pre-tax profits to £186m over the year to the end of April, up from £156m in the previous year.
Currys told investors it was buoyed by £69m in savings through cost-cutting, which helped to offset around £50m of cost inflation in the operations of running its stores, particularly from higher energy bills.
Shares rose more than 7pc to the top of the FTSE 250.
However, the company said it expects profits to drop to between £130m and £150m in the new financial year due to "the current economic outlook and inflationary headwinds".
Chief executive Alex Baldock said inflation had picked up "harder and faster" than expected.
Nadhim Zahawi says Boris must go now
Nadhim Zahawi has told Boris Johnson he must resign now.
In a letter posted on Twitter, the newly-appointed Chancellor said things would "only get worse".
He added: "You must do the right thing and go now."
Prime Minister: this is not sustainable and it will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and most importantly of all the country. You must do the right thing and go now. pic.twitter.com/F2iKT1PhvC
— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) July 7, 2022
FTSE risers and fallers
The FTSE 100 has climbed for a second day as investors shrugged off political turmoil as Boris Johnson clings on to power.
The blue-chip index rose 1.2pc, with energy and mining stocks among the biggest risers.
Shell gained more than 2pc after it revealed a $1bn windfall from soaring energy prices and reversed up to $4.5bn in previous writedowns. BP jumped 3.8pc.
Persimmon was the biggest faller, dropping 5.7pc after it said the number of homes it delivered in the first half was lower than expected. This dragged down rival housebuilders including Berkeley, Barratt and Taylor Wimpey.
Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain also slumped 5pc after it said the cost-of-living crisis had hit its gaming revenues.
The domestically-focused FTSE 250 rose 0.8pc. Currys was the biggest winner, gaining more than 8pc after its results.
Jet2 blasts 'inexcusable' airport disruption
Jet2 has taken aim at "inexcusable" airport chaos as the holiday firm warned its performance in the year ahead will depend on how quickly services can return to normal.
The group said it has been "directly impacted" by the disruption as it laid bare the troubles caused by airports and suppliers being "woefully ill-prepared and poorly resourced".
It said customers have had to endure a "very much poorer experience" than they should have, with passengers hit by flight delays, cancellations, long queues, baggage handling problems, and a lack of onboard catering supplies.
The comments came as Jet2 reported operating losses narrowed to £323.9m for the year to the end of March, down from £336.1m the previous year.
Pre-tax losses widened to £388.8m from £341.3m.
Jet2 executive chairman Philip Meeson said: "Most of our 10 UK base airports have been woefully ill-prepared and poorly resourced for the volume of customers they could reasonably expect."
He said this was "inexcusable, bearing in mind our flights have been on sale for many months and our load factors are quite normal".
Shell set for $1bn windfall from record fuel prices
Shell reckons it landed a windfall of more than $1bn (£840m) last quarter as surging fuel prices boosted its refining business.
The FTSE 100 energy giant said its indicative refining margin jumped to $28.04 a barrel in the second quarter – up from $10.23 in the first three months of the year.
That increase is expected to have a positive impact of between $800m and $1.2bn.
It's the first sign of how oil companies have benefited from a recent surge in fuel prices that have left motorists forking out record sums at the pumps.
Shell also expects reversals of between $3.5bn and $4.5bn on previously impaired assets after revising up its long-term oil price predictions.
The company took a $3.9bn impairment in the first quarter stemming from its planned exit from assets in Russia.
Elon Musk fathered twins with one of his top executives
ICYMI – an explosive story from overnight reveals Elon Musk's total count of children has risen to nine.
The Tesla chief and Shivon Zilis, a top executive at his neurotechnology firm Neuralink, had twins in November 2021, according to a Business Insider report.
In April, Mr Musk and Ms Zilis filed a petition to change the name of the twins to "have their father's last name" and contain their mother's last name as part of their middle name, the report said, citing court documents.
A month later, a Texas judge approved the petition, the report added.
It also said Ms Zilis has recently been floated as one of the people Mr Musk could tap to run Twitter after his $44bn deal acquisition.
Ms Zilis, 36, is identified on her LinkedIn profile as director of operations and special projects at Neuralink, which is co-founded and chaired by Mr Musk, 51.
FTSE 100 opens higher
The FTSE 100 has pushed higher at the open, extending its run of gains after a sell-off earlier in the week.
The blue-chip index rose just shy of 1pc to 7,177 points.
House prices jump at fastest pace since 2007
UK house prices have shrugged off fears of a market slowdown, rising at their fastest monthly pace since early 2007 in June.
A continued shortage in supply combined with strong demand drove prices up for a 12th consecutive month. Prices rose 1.8pc from May and were 13pc ahead of the same month last year.
The average price of a home is now £294,845, according to Halifax.
Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said:
The UK housing market defied any expectations of a slowdown.
The supply-demand imbalance continues to be the reason house prices are rising so sharply. Demand is still strong – though activity levels have slowed to be in line with pre-Covid averages – while the stock of available properties for sale remains extremely low.
Russian oil could be capped at $60 a barrel
The US and its allies are said to have discussed capping the price of Russian oil at between $40 and $60.
The range spans from what is believed to be Russia’s marginal cost of production and the price of its oil before its invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg reports.
G7 countries and the EU have already agreed to phase out Russian oil imports, but Moscow has simply ramped up supplies to other countries.
Russia is still pulling in more than $600m (£502m) a day from oil. Benchmark Brent crude is currently trading at around $100 a barrel.
Putin orders businesses to help fix weapons
Putin is tightening his grip over businesses and workers as the Russian economy begins to falter.
The Kremlin has proposed new laws that would force private businesses to repair tanks and weapons and make new goods for the military.
It would also force "special measures" on workers, including night shifts and overtime.
The drastic move reflects Russia's difficulties as its war in Ukraine drags on and sanctions continue to hammer the economy.
Earlier this week the Kremlin unveiled £24bn of spending cuts over the next three years as Russia braces for a recession.
5 things to start your day
1) US buyer cleared for takeover of British nuclear sub supplier - Ultra Electronics will be sold to Boston-based Advent International
2) Six Nations Rugby chairman denies conspiring to destroy Phones 4U - Ronan Dunne testified that he attended a secret lunch with Olaf Swantee but did not discuss pricing strategies
3) HSBC to sell Russian division to banking tycoon - Lender under pressure from ministers to 'fully condemn' Kremlin's war
4) Nadhim Zahawi’s fight for tax cuts in the face of brutal economics - Time is not on the side of the new Chancellor with his colleagues in open revolt
5) Inside the corporate war engulfing Ben & Jerry’s activist agenda - Serving up social justice leaves sour taste for Unilever
What happened overnight
Tokyo shares opened higher this morning, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index rising 0.7pc.
In contrast, Hong Kong stocks opened down. The Hang Seng Index dropped 1pc and the Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.07 percent, or 2.22 points, to 3,353.13.
However, the Shenzhen Composite Index on China's second exchange edged up 0.06pc.
Coming up today
Corporate: Baltic Classified Group, Currys, Watches of Switzerland (full-year results); Entain, Ferrexpo, John Wood Group, Persimmon, RS Group, Victrex (trading update)
Economics: Halifax house prices (UK); ADP employment change, jobless claims (US)