The number of data outages reported on Twitter soared by nearly 1,800pc in the nine hours after Elon Musk ordered the temporary closure of the company’s offices.
The company told staff in a memo overnight that it had shut down all its locations “effective immediately”, raising concerns about the effective running of the business amid reports of a mass staff exodus.
Mr Musk had already sacked half of Twitter’s staff shortly after completing his $44bn (£38bn) takeover three weeks ago and issued an ultimatum to remaining employees on Wednesday.
It said they had until Thursday to decide whether to stay at the company, where they would need to commit to a new “hardcore” working environment.
Since then the number of outages reported on the platform have skyrocketed, according to monitoring website Down Detector.
It showed there had been 10 complaints of outages in the 24 hours until 11pm last night.
However, this rocketed to 188 by 8.30am, and has remained at high levels since.
Read the latest updates below.
That’s all from us today, we shall see you on Monday! Before you go, have a look at the latest stories from our reporters:
Germany draws blackout contingency plans with industry
Germany is trying to draw up agreements with major users of electricity to reduce consumption this winter in case gas has to be rationed.
The two biggest grid operators in the south of Germany are approaching huge manufacturers like BASF SE to find out how much electricity demand they can cut if needed.
Germany’s plan would enable organised power cuts, known as brownouts, in certain regions, allowing firms to plan in advance.
Banksy urges fans to shoplift from Guess after store uses his art
Banksy has accused Guess of stealing his ‘flower thrower’ art piece for its Regent Street store display.
In an Instagram post to his 11.5m followers the artist said:
It is unclear whether Guess has licensed the rights to use the artist’s image in its clothing line.
North Sea tax revenues to hit record levels
North Sea oil and gas producers are to pay a record £21bn of tax next year after Jeremy Hunt announced a fresh raid on the industry’s profits.
The Chancellor will raise a record £20.7bn after inflicting rates of 75pc on fossil fuel companies, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
The government’s tax and spending watchdog believes half this money will come from the windfall tax on profits made by energy companies. The Chancellor increased the so-called Energy Profits Levy to 35pc from 25pc in the Autumn Statement.
The Resolution Foundation think-tank said this will raise the effective tax rate on North Sea oil and gas companies’ profits to 75pc.
It said: “This is close to double the pre-crisis rate.”
Wave of illness hits Britain’s growth prospects
Jump in number of long-term sick will harm the economy, says IFS
Tom Rees reports:
A wave of long-term illness keeping millions of people out of the workforce is at risk of stifling Britain’s growth prospects, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned.
The think tank (IFS) said that record levels of long-term sickness are “going to constrain growth” and risk wiping out the most important boost to the economy since the financial crisis.
An extra 400,000 people have left the jobs market and are classed as long-term sick since the pandemic struck, worsening widespread worker shortages. Experts believe the illness crisis has been years in the making but warn it is being worsened by the record NHS backlogs.
Xiaowei Xu, an economist at the IFS, said: “Now in the context of at least not rising immigration, and potentially falling labour supply, we’re really going to have to look at how we can get productivity growth going again.
“It’s particularly worrying in the context of growth in the 2010s… it was mainly driven by increasing hours worked… with very little growth being driven by capital investment or productivity growth.”
Fed economist says it’s possible to avoid a recession
A senior Federal Reserve economist has said that the latest data on consumer spending, wages and prices suggest the central bank’s chances of achieving a softer landing has improved.
“Some of the releases were pointing to perhaps revisiting the likelihood of a soft landing,” Andrea Raffo, the Minneapolis Fed’s director of research said at an interview at the bank on Thursday.
The Fed increased interest rates to 4pc at the beginning of November and said that “ongoing increases” are likely.
Musk says Twitter ‘more alive than ever’
The #RIPTwitter hashtag may have been trending this morning but the billionaire owner of the platform shrugged off his critics in typical fashion:
Record numbers of users are logging in to see if Twitter is dead, ironically making it more alive than ever!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2022
Fight over collapse of $32bn FTX
The disgraced founder of collapsed cryptocurrency business FTX has been accused of trying to syphon assets from the exchange to the Bahamas.
Senior technology reporter Matthew Field has the details:
Lawyers handling the bankruptcy filed an emergency motion on Thursday night, alleging Sam Bankman-Fried was attempting to “undermine” the court process and trying to “move assets from the debtors to accounts in the Bahamas under the control of the Bahamian government”.
It comes amid a brewing legal battle over jurisdiction of the bankruptcy, with US and Bahamian authorities tussling over who should oversee the case.
Cryptocurrency exchange FTX, founded by 30-year-old Mr Bankman-Fried, filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware last week, leaving up to one million creditors out of pocket and a $8bn (£6.7m) black hole in its accounts.
Read why the Bahamas has been accused of securing “unauthorised access” to the company’s systems “for the purpose of obtaining digital assets”.
Shares in Mike Ashley’s Frasers surge
Frasers shares have surged as much as 5.7pc after Numis changed its recommendation to investors to “buy”.
The investment bank said the “Selfridges of sport” was becoming the partner of choice for luxury and sporting goods.
It predicted an acceleration in organic revenue growth and said Frasers’s underlying cash generation had been underappreciated.
Frasers, owned by retail tycoon Mike Ashley, is the only stock on the FTSE 350 that is higher this year, up 6.5pc verses a fall of 32pc across the market.
Numis set a price target of £1 a share. Frasers shares are trading at 817.5p.
How Newport Wafer Fab became a flashpoint in Britain’s showdown with China
The UK is taking a more muscular approach to protecting critical infrastructure from foreign interference after Grant Shapps, the business secretary, said he would block the sale of Newport Wafer Fab to Chinese-owned Nexperia on national security grounds.
Matthew Field has insight on how the deal for the Welsh micro-chip maker unravelled:
It took three business ministers and nearly six months of wrangling.
But on Wednesday night, the Government finally concluded its National Security Review for Britain’s biggest chip factory.
Grant Shapps, the business secretary, said he would block the sale of Newport Wafer Fab to Chinese-owned Nexperia on national security grounds.
Shapps claimed there was a risk relating to “technology and know-how that could result from a potential reintroduction of compound semiconductor activities at the Newport site, and the potential for those activities to undermine UK capabilities”.
Read how the long-awaited decision came more than a year after Nexperia announced it was buying the chipmaker after it fell into financial trouble.
Germany seeks deals to limit blackouts
Germany is trying to draw up agreements with major users of electricity to reduce consumption this winter in case gas is rationed for power generation.
The two biggest grid operators in the south of Germany are approaching huge manufacturers like BASF SE to find out how much electricity demand they can cut if needed.
Talks have begun with some firms to agree contracts that enable shutdowns for a few hours a day as winter approaches, according to an industry body.
Germany produces about 15pc of its power from gas and there could be a shortfall because, in the case of a cold snap, supplies are likely to be siphoned to meet household heating demand.
Germany has been been reluctant to admit that cuts might be necessary this winter compared to France, which could have hundreds of hours of blackouts.
Its plan would enable organized power cuts in certain regions, known as brownouts, allowing firms to plan in advance.
An economy ministry spokesman said “there are currently no indications that the security of supply or the stability of the system are at risk”.
Wall Street opens higher
It has been a positive start in New York at the opening bell.
The S&P 500 has opened up 0.6pc to 3,970.70, while the tech-focused Nasdaq is also 0.6pc higher at 11,206.54.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 0.5pc to 33,728.27.
JD Sports is FTSE 100’s biggest gainer
JD Sports shares are the biggest gainer on the FTSE 100 this afternoon as investor confidence was boosted by its US rival Foot Locker.
Foot Locker reported third quarter results that beat estimates and an outlook for the full year that was also ahead of market expectations.
JD Sports shares are up 4.5pc on the day to nearly £1.20.
AMT Coffee calls in administrators
Airport and railway station kiosk chain AMT Coffee has been sold after it appointed administrators, as the change in commuter habits after the pandemic decimated the refreshment seller’s customer base.
The company, a familiar name to many commuters and travellers across both the UK and Ireland, has been sold in a pre-pack deal to food and beverage retailer SSP Group.
The takeover will save 200 jobs at 25 of AMT Coffee’s sites but will result in the closure of 18 of its locations and its former head office in London, with the loss of 100 jobs.
Joint administrator Nick Holloway said:
The pandemic and broader economic headwinds have made this a particularly tough period for those working across the UK hospitality industry.
Our priority as joint administrators will be to provide support and assistance to those impacted by redundancy.
Oil prices slip on global economy fears
The price of the main US crude oil contract, WTI, fell Friday below $80 per barrel for the first time since September on concerns about the global economy and rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in China.
A barrel of WTI for delivery in December was down 1.9pc at $80.08, having briefly passed below $80 per barrel.
Meanwhile, the main European contract, Brent crude oil for delivery in January, was down 1.6pc at $88.33.
Jaguar plans to pounce on sacked Twitter workers
Laid off tech industry workers in Britain – many of whom could be victims of the staff layoffs at Twitter and Amazon – could find a new home at Jaguar Land Rover.
The 100-year-old luxury carmaker is looking to hire hundreds of engineers to help develop electric car technology.
The carmaker, which wants to become an “electric-first” business from 2025, has announced a jobs portal for displaced tech workers to fill 800 roles spanning self-driving, electrification, machine learning and data science.
It comes after Elon Musk laid off half of Twitter’s workforce after taking over the social network three weeks ago, with hundreds more expected to quit after he issued an ultimatum on Wednesday for staff to decide within a day if they wanted to leave.
On Monday it was claimed Amazon is preparing to lay off some 10,000 staff, while Facebook owner Meta has also announced it is cutting 11,000 jobs.
Jaguar Land Rover said it believed workers leaving big tech groups were most likely to have the required skills to fill new roles in Britain, Ireland, the United States, India, China and Hungary.
Wall Street poised to open higher
US stock index futures rose as investors digest warnings from Federal Reserve officials on interest rates.
S&P futures gained 0.8pc, recovering poise after the index dipped 0.3pc and US bond yields rose on Thursday, following comments from St Louis Fed President James Bullard.
Bullard said interest rates might need to hit a range from 5-5.25pc from the current level of just below 4pc to be “sufficiently restrictive” to curb inflation.
Wall Street’s biggest banks are at odds over how high the Fed will take interest rates, although they all appear to agree the next move will be a 50 basis point increase to a range of 4.25pc to 4.5pc.
Nomura expects increases to 5.75pc before a retreat to 5pc, Morgan Stanley expects a peak of 4.75 pc, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo & Co anticipate a peak of 5.25pc and Bank of America expect a quarter point cut in December.
JP Morgan thinks rates will reach 5pc and stay there until 2024.
The dates Royal Mail workers are striking in December
Royal Mail workers are to launch a fresh wave of strikes throughout December in a round of industrial action set to cause misery for millions of households posting gifts in the run up to Christmas.
Tesco to offer staff pay advances
Tesco is offering its staff advances on their pay as a deepening cost of living crisis looms.
Britain’s largest supermarket will offer 280,000 of its workers up to 25pc of their contractual pay early if they pay a small fee.
Tesco said that would help staff avoid taking on expensive debt with high interest payments, such as pay day loans.
Inflation has surged to a 41-year-high, driven up by rising energy bills and double-digit price hikes for food like milk, eggs and cheese, leaving many lower wage households facing tough choices this Christmas.
More of national income spent just on debt interest
In his opening remarks of today’s IFS briefing on the Autumn Statement, director Paul Johnson acknowledged an understandable question as taxes and government borrowing increase.
He said: “Surely with lots of tax and lots of borrowing it should be boom time for public spending.”
This graph outlines part of the reason why the Government also needs to cut public spending to keep the public finances in order.
The interest the Government has to pay to service its debts is at historic highs:
Other than a short period in 1980s we’ll be spending more of our national income on debt interest than at any time since 1950s. Cost of all that borrowing is coming home to roost with a vengeance.
We’ll be spending more on debt interest than on any public service bar the NHS https://t.co/MmYRZry6uT
— Paul Johnson (@PJTheEconomist) November 18, 2022
Nearly 15pc of adults to be paying top rate of income tax
The number of people paying the top rate of income tax will surge after the announcements in the Autumn Statement.
Mr Hunt confirmed that the threshold for paying the 45p top rate of income tax would be lowered from £150,000 to £125,140.
This graph shows the proportion of the population paying 60p or 45p in income tax will be heading towards 15pc by 2028:
There will now be more people paying income tax at 60% or 45% than there were paying at 40% back in 1990.
And 8 million paying at 40%.
A huge change to the structure of our income tax system. https://t.co/kJo4EfoBos
— Paul Johnson (@PJTheEconomist) November 18, 2022
IFS asks if UK is heading for ‘another lost decade’
Middle England is set for “quite a shock”, the IFS has warned, as they will not benefit from Jeremy Hunt’s targeted support announced in the Autumn Statement.
IFS director Paul Johnson said Britain has “started a new era of higher taxes, higher spending and a bigger state”.
It comes after the OBR warned yesterday that over the next two years, household disposable income will be compressed by 7pc.
Mr Johnson said: “It will be those on middling sorts of incomes who feel the biggest hit.
“They won’t benefit from the targeted support to those on means-tested benefits.
“Their wages are falling and their taxes are rising. Middle England is set for a shock.”
The Resolution Foundation think tank is in agreement, having said Mr Hunt’s announcements have piled further pressure on “the squeezed middle”.
The IFS’s briefing this morning saw a steady stream of graphs on the economic impact of the Autumn Statement released.
Director Paul Johnson said that an ageing population and pressure to boost funding for public services meant that “higher taxes look to be here to stay”.
That makes this graph on the squeeze on household incomes more worrying:
Real household disposable income is set to fall by 7% over next 2 years.
This is the largest fall in recorded history this year, followed by the second-largest fall in recorded history next year. pic.twitter.com/dxrpziGrFG
— Institute for Fiscal Studies (@TheIFS) November 18, 2022
Record rise in fuel duty would add 12p to price of litre of petrol
Drivers will be hit with a record rise in fuel duty that would add 12p to the price of a litre of petrol if the Government goes ahead with a planned increase next year.
My colleague Howard Mustoe has the latest insight:
The proposed 23pc increase pencilled in for 2023 will raise £5.7bn, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
If it were to be put in place today, this would push the average price of diesel to a record of more than £2 a litre. Unleaded would rise to £1.76 per litre.
The OBR listed the planned rise as an “adverse economic and fiscal risk” in its assessment of Jeremy Hunt’s budget.
It said the increase in the fuel duty rate in late March “would be a record cash rise and the first time any Government has raised fuel duty rates in cash terms since Jan 1 2011. It is expected to raise the price of petrol and diesel by around 12 pence a litre.”
Two-decade wage stagnation leaves workers £15,000 worse off, says Resolution Foundation
Here is a reminder of what the Resolution Foundation has predicted following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
It said two decades of wage stagnation will cost workers £15,000.
Jeremy Hunt’s announcements have piled further pressure on “the squeezed middle”, with personal tax rises announced during the parliament set to deliver a permanent 3.7pc income hit to typical households, the Resolution Foundation said today.
The focus on stealth tax rises by freezing thresholds means that the overall effect of the government’s personal tax rises this parliament “is to squeeze not just higher-income households, but those on middle-incomes too”, the think tank said.
The OBR’s weaker forecast for pay means that real wages are now not expected to return to their 2008 level until 2027.
Had wages instead continued to grow at their pre-crisis rate during this unprecedented 19-year pay downturn, they would be £292 a week – or £15,000 a year – higher.
The think tank also said energy support from the Government will cover less than a third of rising bills next year.
Qatar to announce shock beer ban at World Cup stadiums
Beer will be banned from being sold at World Cup stadiums after senior figures at the tournament in Qatar apparently pressured Fifa into stopping sales.
The move is a huge blow to official beer provider Budweiser, as Tom Morgan explains:
Just two days before Qatar faces Ecuador, it appears that supporters arriving at the venues will be unable to access any alcohol at all.
Budweiser, the official beer provider, had been expecting to be able to sell beer within the ticketed perimeter of the stadium for three hours before kick-off and an hour after the final whistle. That will no longer be permitted.
A looming row adds to concerns around preparations, with many water fountains at airports, metros and stadium still switched off.
Road workers are also racing to repair potholes and fans have expressed dismay over £12 beer prices within the main fan zone.
As it stands, no immediate complaints have been raised by World Cup organisers about alcohol provision in fan zones.
Credit Suisse expects deeper UK recession next year
Credit Suisse has reacted to the Autumn Statement by downgrading its growth forecast for the UK next year from a decline of 0.4pc to 1.3pc.
The Swiss investment bank said the drastic downturn in its estimate was due to the reversal of more than half of the mini-Budget’s tax cuts and the increase in energy bills from April next year.
The energy price guarantee will mean the average household will pay £3,000 a year for energy rather than the present £2,500.
The bank’s head of UK economics Sonali Punhani said Credit Suisse now believes Britain is already in a recession which will last until the third quarter of next year, with the peak trough in GDP expected to be a decline of 2pc, worse than its previous estimate of 1pc.
Big supermarkets to be ‘hit hard’ before Christmas
Retail sales grew ahead of market expectations in October and Hargreaves Lansdown has indicated this may be down to a shift in behaviour.
The financial services firm said sales had been buoyed by increases at second-hand stores and auctioning houses.
Lead equity analyst Sophie Lund-Yates said:
In these uncertain times when people’s pay packets aren’t stretching as far as usual, it seems consumers are looking for alternative ways to get their hands on what they want.
This trend does point out just how tough things have become though – switching to second hand on this scale is no small shift in behaviour.
Food sales also fell 1pc, as soaring food prices dented volumes.
As we head into the festive trading season there’s a very real chance some of the UK’s big supermarkets are going to be hit hard, with expectations perhaps not living up to reality.
It’s also important to remember that overall, retail sales volumes are still below pre-pandemic times.
Pound rises despite economic outlook
The pound has risen 0.6pc against the dollar, even as strategists warn that Britain’s poor economic outlook will slash living standards and disposable incomes.
Analysts remain sceptical about sterling’s medium-term prospects even after the Autumn Statement restored some faith in the UK’s public finances.
Strategists at Japanese financial services firm MUFG issued a note saying:
The Autumn Statement again highlights the poor outlook and downside risks for the pound.
The record current account deficit is forecast to improve but will remain elevated at 5.8pc this fiscal year and 5.2pc next fiscal year.
Expect GBP underperformance to persist.
A pound is worth $1.19.
British Airways advert’s embarrassing typo
This is not what British Airways bosses will want to see while they are “siting” down with their morning coffee.
My esteemed colleague Ed Cumming has spotted a misspelling in the company’s new advertising campaign plastered on the side of a London bus today. Take a look:
Theranos fraudster to be sentenced today
A federal judge in the US will decide today whether disgraced Theranos chief executive Elizabeth Holmes should serve a lengthy prison sentence for duping investors and endangering patients while peddling a bogus blood-testing technology.
Holmes’ sentencing will take place in the same San Jose, California, courtroom where she was convicted on four counts of investor fraud and conspiracy in January.
It marks a climactic moment in a saga that has been dissected in an HBO documentary and an award-winning Hulu TV series about her meteoric rise and mortifying downfall.
US District Judge Edward Davila will take center stage as he weighs the federal government’s recommendation to send Holmes, 38, to federal prison for 15 years.
That’s slightly less than the maximum sentence of 20 years she could face, but far longer than her legal team’s attempt to limit her incarceration to no more than 18 months, preferably served in home confinement.
Feted as the female Steve Jobs, Holmes had promised to redefine healthcare by testing for dozens of potential diseases with just a drop of blood.
Spending squeeze ‘implausible’ says IMF economist
Ben Zaranko, an economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, has branded the spending squeeze on day to day spending budgets that have been pencilled in after the election as “implausible”.
He warned that in real terms – ie when accounting for inflation – it would leave many government departments with smaller budgets in 2028 than they had in 2010 – when George Osborne began his austerity drive.
The department in charge of levelling up, which had been a central part of Rishi Sunak’s agenda when he was chancellor, is facing a cut in real spending of more than 50pc if these plans are realised.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said yesterday that being “pro-education is being pro-growth”, but education spending is set to barely rise over 18 years if big increases in NHS spending force other departments to find big savings.
Almost all departmental budgets are set to rise in real-terms between now and 2025. But the (implausibly) tight post-2025 spending plans imply cuts for some areas and would leave many public services in 2028 with a lower budget than 18 years earlier.
— Ben Zaranko (@BenZaranko) November 18, 2022
Centrica’s share price highest in a year
British Gas owner Centrica is the top performer on the FTSE 100 so far, with its share price hitting a 52-week high at 94.6p.
The 3pc increase from its previous close comes with natural gas prices heading for a weekly gain and Europe ready for a cold snap this weekend.
The stock has risen 31pc so far this year as the energy crisis sends gas prices surging.
Twitter shutdown ‘suggests further lay offs are coming’
With Twitter staff told they cannot return to any of the social network’s offices until Monday, the question is: why?
Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the office shutdown “suggests further lay offs are coming”. She added:
For those members of staff that did vote with their feet on the new demands, it proves as a stark reminder to employers of how society has changed.
Flexibility and working from home are now must, not nice, to-haves.
Royal Mail union targets Christmas post with fresh wave of strikes
Royal Mail workers are to strike on Christmas Eve and throughout December in industrial action that could bring misery to millions hoping to send presents and cards.
Chief business correspondent Oliver Gill and Ross Ibbetson have the details:
The Communication Workers Union last night said it would not allow bosses at Royal Mail “to destroy the livelihoods of postal workers.”
The union said workers would strike on December 9, 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24.
The action comes as millions of people celebrating Christmas will be hoping to use Royal Mail to deliver festive gifts and cards to their loved ones, as well as to order goods for parties and dinners.
The CWU had already targeted the Black Friday weekend with strikes scheduled for Nov 24, 25, 30 and Dec 1, when shoppers flock to online stores to sweep up bargains before Christmas.
Energy and mining boost FTSE 100
The FTSE 100 index opened higher as the energy and mining sectors boosted the exporter-heavy index a day after the Autumn Statement aimed at returning stability to the economy.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 rose 0.1pc, while the more domestically focused FTSE 250 midcaps dipped 0.1pc.
The energy sector’s 0.7pc increase led gains, along with a 0.4pc rise in mining stock due to higher precious metal prices.
British Gas owner Centrica is up 3.2pc while SSE has risen 1.4pc.
Steven Bartlett interview – free to read
He’s an investor on Dragons’ Den and huge names are desperate to be on his podcast, but the entrepreneur Steven Bartlett was not always in such a good place.
He has given an interview to Charlotte Lytton and it is currently free-to-read for non-subscribers for a brief period.
Read why he said he “wasn’t happy” despite being a millionaire at 23.
Legal & General hail Autumn Statement
Legal & General has described Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement as a “positive step forward” which will allow the financial services firm greater flexibility to invest in new infrastructure.
The asset manager said its Pension Risk Transfer business continued to perform “strongly” and is “actively engaging” with pension schemes that either have or are close to having a surplus as a result of rising interest rates.
The company’s shares are leading the charge on the FTSE 100 in early trading, up 3pc.
The apparent chaos at Twitter, where staff have been told they cannot enter any of the social network’s offices until Monday, has led to #RIPTwitter trending at number one on the platform.
This has been helped in no small part by this tweet from its new owner.
Natural gas futures up 15pc
Natural gas prices in Europe are heading for a weekly gain with traders keeping a close eye on the weather.
A brief cold snap is forecast for most of the continent this weekend, with Berlin set to drop below 0C, giving a taste of how households will react when the winter months arrive.
Benchmark futures have gained nearly 15pc this week, even with European gas storage almost full.
UK markets inch up at the open
The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 have both opened 0.1pc up.
The blue-chip index is at 19,122.31 while the domestically-focused market stands at 19,122.31.
Retail sales return to growth in ‘false dawn’
Retail sales rebounded in October in what economists fear may be a “false dawn” before the cost-of-living crisis truly bites.
Excluding fuel sales, the volume of goods sold in shops and online rose 0.3pc after a 1.5pc drop in September, when stores were closed for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Even so, this was lower than economists had expected, having forecast a 0.6pc gain.
Pantheon Macroeconomics suggested the October increase in sales was merely a “false dawn” caused by the reopening of stores after the Queen’s funeral.
Double digit inflation and rising taxes and interest rates mean living standards are on course for the biggest drop on record according to the OBR, reducing consumer spending power.
Elon Musk shuts Twitter staff out of offices as hundreds quit
There is yet more confusion about what is happening at Twitter after an email told staff all its offices were immediately closing until Monday.
No reason was given for the sudden closure of all the social network’s premises.
It comes after Elon Musk on Wednesday told employees to decide by Thursday whether they wanted to stay at the company.
He said they “will need to be extremely hardcore” to build “a breakthrough Twitter 2.0” and that long hours at high intensity will be needed for success.
Since taking over Twitter less than three weeks ago, Musk has booted half of the company’s full-time staff of 7,500 and an untold number of contractors responsible for content moderation and other crucial efforts.
We already knew that Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement was paving the way for years of pain but the Resolution Foundation’s report makes for worrying reading.
The scaling back of the energy price guarantee, which will keep average bills at £2,500 until April, means the typical household will only have 30pc of the rise in their gas and electricity bills offset.
Even after the new energy price guarantee and cost of living payments, around one-in-eight families (3.3m in total) will be paying over £2,000 more next year than they were in 2021-22.
5 things to start your day
1) Welfare bill soars by £90bn as Jeremy Hunt protects pensioners but clobbers workers – Economists label the Autumn Statement as ‘George Osborne rhetoric and Gordon Brown policy’
2) Why Jeremy Hunt is relying on a surge in migrants to boost Britain’s flagging economy – New arrivals to the UK could help deliver much needed growth as tax burden hits new high
3) Hunt overrules Bank of England to push ahead with plans for Big Bang 2.0 – Chancellor confirms post-Brexit reforms that could unlock billions in investment
4) FTX collapse worse than Enron, claims cryptocurrency firm’s liquidator – Filing calls company executives ‘inexperienced, unsophisticated, and potentially compromised’
5) Royal Mail union targets Christmas post with fresh wave of strikes – The CWU had already planned walkouts on Black Friday weekend
What happened overnight
European equity futures edged higher and Asian stocks pared their gains after Chinese technology shares came off their intraday highs.
Hong Kong’s benchmark erased all its advance to trade slightly lower while contracts for US equities were flat. Investors are awaiting results of quarterly index reshuffling later Friday for Hong Kong’s benchmark gauge.
Treasury yields were little changed after the previous day’s jump when St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said policymakers should increase interest rates to at least 5% to 5.25% to curb inflation. He also warned of further financial stress ahead.
The dollar steadied. Oil was poised for a weekly loss as concerns over a worsening demand outlook filtered through the crude market.