Germany and France have driven eurozone into recession, economists warn – The Telegraph

Europe faces a bleak recession, economists have warned, after the eurozone’s German engine room reported a sharp slump in activity.
Business activity across Europe shrank this month according to the purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a closely watched survey by S&P Global.
The index fell from 49.9 in July to 49.2 in August. Any score of below 50 indicates falling activity, so this shows an accelerating decline in the eurozone.
Germany’s manufacturing heartlands are leading the decline. The country’s overall PMI dropped to 47.6, showing the sharpest contraction in more than two years. The French economy has also edged into negative territory at 49.8, led by a plunge in factory activity.
Britain also suffered its slowest growth in 18 months, while the world’s largest economy stands on the brink of a downturn too as bottlenecks, inflation and rising interest rates drain demand in the US.
Currency markets registered the mounting gloom by sending the euro touch a new low of close to $0.99 against the dollar.
Factories across Europe reported steep declines in demand as higher energy bills and the cost of living crisis trash their finances as well as those of their customers.
Salomon Fiedler, economist at Berenberg Bank, said the eurozone is now falling into recession.
He said: “The near-term prospects for European economies are bleak. UK GDP began to shrink in the second quarter of 2022 already, and the eurozone is likely to follow, with a recession starting in the third quarter.”
Mr Fiedler noted that factories are most exposed to high energy prices while the rest of the economy takes longer to feel the pinch.
The services industry is stagnating with a score of 50.2, while manufacturing output is dropping sharply at 46.5.
Chris Hare, an economist at HSBC, said: “Things are very likely to get worse this winter as the cost of living squeeze intensifies,” predicting inflation in the single currency area will rise into double digits later this year.
Predicting a recession, he said: “As European households turn their heating on this winter, the real feel of the inflation squeeze is set to ratchet up.
“We expect the economy to contract by 0.3pc in both the fourth quarter this year and the first quarter next year, before returning to very soft growth thereafter.”
In the US, the PMI dropped to 45, its lowest since the first half of 2020. Manufacturing growth slowed while the score for the services sector plunged to 44.1.
Paul Ashworth at Capital Economics said this is “consistent with a deep recession”.
“Based on the historical relationship, it suggests GDP should be contracting at a 3pc annualised pace,” he said, adding that relatively robust retail sales might help support the economy, while there are signs that lower demand will help moderate the pace of inflation, lessening pressure on the economy.
The PMI for the UK fell to 50.9, indicating growth is running out of steam in the private sector. As on the Continent, the drop was led by factories, where activity fell more quickly than at any point since May 2020.
A separate survey from the Confederation of British Industry confirms the manufacturing slump, with businesses reporting the first drop in output since February 2021, when the nation was in lockdown.
Alpesh Paleja, economist at the CBI, said financial help with bills would help support the economy in the face of enormous energy price rises.
He said: “From rising prices to bottlenecks in supply chains, manufacturers continue to operate against a background of high input costs and significant operational delays.
“When coupled with an oncoming economic downturn, it’s not surprising to see orders and activity ebb away as we move through the year.
“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.”   
That’s all from us today, thank you for following! Before you go, check out the latest stories from our reporters:
UK petrol and diesel prices fell for a seventh straight week, their longest slide since 2020.
Having hit records in July, the average prices of both petrol and diesel have slumped. For petrol, that’s the longest run of declines since November 2020, while for diesel it’s the most protracted drop since May of that year, amid Covid lockdowns. 
Road fuel prices surged earlier in the summer as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove up the cost of crude oil at a time when there was also a bottleneck in the global fuel-making system. Falling prices at the pump offer a sliver of relief amid rampant inflation in the UK, which has soared to a 40-year high of 10.1pc. Even so, petrol remains 27pc more expensive than a year ago.
The FTSE 250 has hit a fresh one-month low as a looming gas crisis in Europe and news of slower-than-expected business activity growth exacerbated fears of recession, while a stronger pound weighed on the FTSE 100.
The mid-cap index closed down 1pc, marking a third consecutive day of decline, as soaring UK gas prices fueled fears of surging inflation that has restrained the economy. The FTSE 100 shed 0.6pc.
David Madden, market analyst at Equiti Capital, said: "Although they’re still growing, there’s a fear that they could slip into contraction territory.
"Combined with that, the Bank of England have hiked interest rates loads of times but they’re not getting inflation under control. So now they’ll probably keep hiking rates and compounding the overall issue."
Norway plans to maintain its current high gas production level until the end of the decade as Europe plans to ditch Russian imports over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Norway’s energy minister has announced.
"I expect that we can maintain the production levels we are at now until 2030," Terje Aasland told Reuters in an interview.
"We see that there are projects and also plans for development and operation coming now that can help maintain the high gas volumes going forward," he said.
The Nordic country is expected to produce some 122bn cubic metres of gas this year according to official forecasts made in May, an increase of 8pc from 2021, possibly beating a record set five years ago.
Gas-rich Qatar has announced two major solar projects that will more than double its energy output from the renewable source within two years.
Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi hailed the new development as a major step in efforts to "increase the reliance on high-efficiency renewal energy" in the Gulf state, which is one of the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas producers.
The new plants at Mesaieed and Ras Laffan will take Qatar’s solar output to 1.67 gigawatts by the end of 2024, Qatar Energy said in a statement.
QatarEnergy awards the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for its industrial cities solar power project. pic.twitter.com/U6E84UAPV9
The pound risks falling to its lowest versus the dollar in more than two years if a gas supply crisis this winter pushes the UK into recession, according to JP Morgan Private Bank. 
Sterling is already down 12pc against the greenback so far this year, and is starting to reflect concerns that higher gas prices will fan inflation as economic growth contracts, said Sam Zief, head of global FX strategy at JP Morgan Private Bank.
A pound at $1.14 is “absolutely within reach if gas prices continue to do what they are doing,” Zief said in an interview.  
Traders had recently shifted to selling the pound because of UK problems compared with earlier in the year, when the currency’s weakness was more a case of dollar strength, Zief said. The pound rebounded today, climbing back above $1.18, although remains near its lowest level since March 2020. 
The former prime minister of Malaysia will serve a 12-year prison sentence after losing his final appeal over charges relating to the multibillion-dollar 1MDB embezzlement scandal. Simon Foy has more:
Najib Razak, who served as Malaysian prime minister from 2009 to 2018, was found guilty in 2020 of a criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering after illegally receiving about $10m (£8.4m) from a former unit of 1MDB, the country’s investment fund.
On Tuesday, Malaysia’s highest court upheld the ruling, saying the evidence overwhelmingly pointed to guilt on all charges. The conviction is the latest development in the 1MDB scandal, during which billions of dollars of public money was stolen by the Kuala Lumpur elite.
The money was spent on lavish goods including a Picasso painting, a superyacht, luxury fashion, celebrity parties and even to finance the Hollywood film the Wolf of Wall Street.
That’s all from me today – thanks for following! Handing over to Giulia Bottaro now.
The heir to the Murdoch media empire has complained about “sensational” language used by an Australian news outlet he is suing over its attempts to publicly “humiliate him”.
Matt Oliver has the story:
Lachlan Murdoch, eldest son of Rupert and chief executive of Fox Corporation, has lodged the claim against Crikey’s parent company in a federal court in New South Wales.
His move comes after Crikey revealed his lawyers had threatened legal action over an article that claimed the Murdochs and Fox News were “unindicted co-conspirators” in the US Capitol riots.
Crikey accused Mr Murdoch of an “abuse of media power” and dared him to sue in an open letter, published as a quarter-page advertisement in The New York Times.
On Tuesday, the media scion duly followed through, filing a written claim that argues his reputation has or could be seriously damaged by the offending article’s “allegations of criminality” and “sensational language”.
The article published by Crikey in late June, by political editor Bernard Keane, was entitled “Trump is a confirmed unhinged traitor. And Murdoch is his unindicted co-conspirator”.
Read Matt’s full story here
Sales of new US homes fell in July for the sixth time this year to the slowest pace since early 2016, extending a months-long decline in the housing market fuelled by high borrowing costs and a pullback in demand.
Purchases of new single-family homes decreased 12.6pc to 511,000 from a revised 585,000 in June, according to official data.
The July sales slump is the latest example of how the housing market is buckling under the weight of high prices and elevated borrowing costs.
Construction has slowed, home purchase applications are falling, and more buyers are backing away from deals. 
A senior Twitter executive turned whistleblower has accused the company of posing a risk to national security and warned some staff could be foreign spies.
Gareth Corfield and Matthew Field report:
Former head of security Peiter “Mudge” Zatko told US regulators that he found around half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees had routine access to “critical” internal controls, describing its security practices as driven by “wilful ignorance” that posed a "threat to national security and democracy".
When he tried to tell the board, including chief executive Parag Agrawal, Mr Zatko alleges he was told to deliver his findings in person instead of in writing and to present “cherry-picked” data to make it appear Twitter was making more of an effort to fix its problems than it truly was.
He also claims that Twitter’s public disclosures about the number of fake or “bot” accounts on the social network are misleading, CNN reported. Twitter said Mr Zatko’s allegations were “riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies”.
The disclosures will trigger fresh controversy over Twitter’s internal practices even as Tesla billionaire Elon Musk tries to back out of a $44bn takeover bid for the company. Twitter is suing Mr Musk to force him to go through with his $54.20 per share offer.
Read Gareth’s full story here
Oil prices pushed higher after Saudi Arabia said producer cartel Opec may be forced to cut output, threatening to pile even more pressure on struggling households.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the gulf state’s energy minister, said oil-producing nations may need to step in to end a recent slide in prices.
The Saudi minister said “extreme” volatility and a lack of liquidity meant prices were increasingly disconnected from market fundamentals.
He told Bloomberg: “Witnessing this recent harmful volatility disturb the basic functions of the market and undermine the stability of oil markets will only strengthen our resolve.”
Benchmark Brent crude rose as much as 2.7pc to top $99 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate traded above $93.
China is tearing down tower blocks and pausing construction on buildings that could house 75m people as Xi Jinping’s government seeks to prop up the country’s stalling property market.
Tom Rees has more:
Analysts have warned Beijing has adopted a “build, pause, demolish, repeat” strategy as Chinese officials seek to restrict supply to avoid a plunge in house prices and boost economic activity through more construction.
Researchers at Fathom Consulting revealed that around 3bn square metres of housing has been put on pause or demolished in recent years, stopping properties reaching the market. It is enough to house 75m people, more than the entire population of the UK.
Indebted Chinese developers have been plunged into crisis as the struggling property market weighs heavily on the world’s second-largest economy. China has vast unoccupied “ghost cities” after huge amounts of debt-fuelled development while demolitions have increased as builders run out of money.
​Read Tom’s full story here
Nissan will close its engine cylinder plant in Britain in 2024 when its contract with Renault expires.
The Japanese car giant will stop producing cylinder heads at its vast factory in Sunderland after more than 30 years, Sky News reports. Renault is its only customer.
The move won’t result in any job losses, with all 250 employees set to be redeployed elsewhere in Sunderland.
One airline that doesn’t seem to be feeling the impact of the travel chaos is Ryanair.
The budget airline has said it now expects to grow traffic to 166.5m passengers in the year to the end of March – up from a previous target of 165m – after adding to its UK winter capacity.
Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers said it had added more than 1m seats to and from 20 UK airports after rival British Airways cut its winter schedule.
Ryanair flew 97m passengers in its last financial year and a record 149m before the pandemic struck. 
Liz Truss will be “flying blind” if she cuts taxes in an emergency Budget without getting full economic and financial forecasts from officials, Rishi Sunak’s campaign chief has warned.
Tim Wallace has more:
Mel Stride, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee and Mr Sunak’s campaign whip, has written to the Chancellor and the head of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to ask for “reassurance” that work has begun on forecasts ahead of the next prime minister taking office next month.
He said: “OBR forecasts provide transparency and reassurance to the markets on the health of the nation’s finances.
“As a committee, we expect the Treasury to be supporting and enabling the OBR to publish an independent forecast at the time of any significant fiscal event, especially where, unlike other recent fiscal interventions, this might include significant permanent tax cuts.
“Whether such an event is actually called a budget or not is immaterial. The reassurance of independent forecasting is vital in these economically turbulent times. To bring in significant tax cuts without a forecast would be ill advised. It is effectively ‘flying blind’.”
It comes following reports that Ms Truss could take emergency action to address the cost of living crisis without an accompanying economic forecast soon after becoming prime minister. 
​Read Tim’s full story here
US futures edged higher this morning as markets look ahead to the Jackson Hole central bankers’ symposium later this week. 
Traders are bracing for hawkish talk at the Jackson Hole event after recent comments from Federal Reserve officials convinced many investors the central bank will continue to tighten aggressively into a slowing economy.
Futures tracking the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq all rose 0.2pc.
Finland has warned its citizens to brace for possible power outages this winter due to shortages of electricity.
In a forthright statement today, the country’s grid operator cited the cut-off in gas supplies from Russia, alongside other issues including a potential deal in the commissioning of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant.
Tuomas Rauhala at Fingrid said:
We are working closely with the authorities and transmission system operators in the Baltic Sea region to promote measures related to the adequacy of electricity.
The reliable operation of the electricity market, domestic power plants and inter-country electricity transmission connections will be absolutely essential for the adequacy of electricity in the coming winter.
MUST READ: Fingrid, the grid operator in Finland, isn't isn't pulling any punches about the energy crisis:

"Finns should be prepared for possible power outages caused by electricity shortages this coming winter"

Very clear, strong and transparent warninghttps://t.co/NhsoBSFutw
British households could be facing interest rates of 4pc as early as next spring as the Bank of England tries to keep soaring inflation under control.
That’s the view on money markets, where traders are ramping up their bets on more aggressive action by the MPC.
Traders are now pricing in 235 basis points of rate hikes by May. That would be enough to take interest rates from their current level of 1.75pc to 4pc.
It highlights the glom over the outlook for price rises, with economists now warning that inflation could peak above 18pc next year as energy prices continue to soar.
A month ago, traders were pricing in interest rates of less than 3pc.
Despite cynicism from rivals and fierce global competition, Britishvolt has repeatedly insisted it can help to prepare UK carmaking for the electric age, writes Howard Mustoe.
Formed in 2019, the company has raised £2bn – in principle at least – for one of the country’s first battery "gigafactories", including £100m from the taxpayer.
Spades are in the ground for a site in Blyth, hailed by bosses as "absolutely vital to maintain the UK industry".
So the sudden departure of the company’s chief executive and co-founder this weekend will spark consternation among British automotive bosses – as will a decision to reduce its valuation by £400m owing to pressure on international markets.
Read Howard’s full story here
The euro plunged to a new 20-year low this morning amid renewed fears that the energy crisis will keep inflation high and push the bloc into recession.
The latest PMI activity from the eurozone wasn’t as bad as feared, helping to ease the common currency off its two-decade low of $0.99005 hit earlier in the day.
But it was still down 0.3pc and holding below the key parity level of $1.
Kenneth Broux at Societe Generale said: "What we’re trying to figure out is how much of the move in the euro is driven by thin summer liquidity and how much is driven by flows.
"But of course the increase in gas prices yesterday is bad news all around."
European natural gas prices fluctuated amid further signs soaring energy bills are hitting economic activity.
Benchmark prices were trading above €290 per megawatt-hour after settling at a record high on Monday. Prices are almost seven times higher than they were at this time last year.
Russia’s Gazprom yesterday said it will halt flows through the Nord Stream pipeline for three days of maintenance next week, rekindling fears that supplies won’t resume after the work.
The instability has shocked global markets, sending gas prices from Asia to the US soaring amid a race for supplies.
Meanwhile, the latest PMIs for the UK and eurozone highlighted how economic growth is stagnating or contracting as energy bills drive up inflation.
Property transactions are returning to pre-Covid levels as the cost of living crisis cools the housing market, new data show.
Melissa Lawford has the details:
There were 110,970 home sales in July, according to HM Revenue and Customs. This was 7.2pc higher than in June and 2.6pc above the five-year pre-Covid July average.
Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent, said: “These figures, though positive, reflect what was happening several months ago and since then the market has moved on. On the ground, we are finding demand is still there but concerns about the rising cost of living and interest rate are prompting a more cautious approach.” 
The number of sales is now decreasing and transactions are progressing more slowly, Mr Leaf added.
Sarah Coles, of fund shop Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “An awful lot of these sales will have been agreed in March and April, before we were hit by the full impact of the cost-of-living crisis.”
In the months ahead, transaction figures are likely to more clearly reflect the fact that runaway inflation, rising interest rates and soaring energy bills are hitting affordabilty, Ms Coles said. “By the time we reached the summer, the market drained of available property and buyers evaporated.”
Year-on-year, July transactions jumped by 32.9pc, according to HMRC’s non-seasonally adjusted estimate. However, this annual surge was because transactions temporarily fell dramatically in July 2021, reflecting the end of the stamp duty holiday at the end of June that year.
BT is facing yet another strike as members of the Communication Workers Union confirmed they’ll walk out next week.
Call centre workers at the telecoms giant and engineers at broadband arm Openreach will strike on 30 and 31 August.
The CWU said the dispute "centres on workers opposing the imposition by company management of an incredibly low flat-rate pay rise".
It comes after more than 40,000 workers at BT walked out on July 29 and August 1 in the company’s first strike action in 35 years.
The company awarded a £1,500-a-year rise in April – a 5pc increase on average – and has said it won’t be reopening its 2022 pay review.
Rhys Herbert, senior economist at Lloyds Bank, says the latest PMI figures are "another sign that this is a difficult period for the economy".
Lower inflation in the US raised some hopes that prices in the UK may soon hit their peak, as many commodity prices, such as oil and metals, have fallen back and, to the benefit of many businesses, supply chains continue to improve.
However, any respite firms and consumers may hope to feel from the easing of these inflationary pressures will likely be offset by the continuing rise in natural gas prices.
Rising energy bills are already dealing a heavy blow to consumers and businesses. Firms will be particularly keen to understand what fiscal support a new Prime Minister will deliver, so that they can plan and invest accordingly.
In the meantime, many businesses will no doubt be somewhat cautious due to the uncertainty, but it is important that they remain flexible, use the capital and cashflow tools available to them and do not miss those opportunities that do remain in the market.
The UK economy almost ground to a halt in August as falling demand and supply troubles disrupted activity.
S&P Global’s PMI fell to 50.9 this month, the worst reading since lockdown in February 2021 and only just above the level of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
Manufacturing dragged down the index with the slowest activity in 27 months, while the services sector expanded at the slowest pace in 18 months.
It’s the latest report to paint a bleak picture of the UK economy, with the Bank of England expecting a recession later this year.
With energy bills soaring, economists now predict inflation could top 18pc next year – the highest since 1976.
Annabel Fiddes at S&P Global 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.
The tightening of financial conditions via interest rate hikes, the cost of living crisis, labour shortages and strained supply chains are all likely to dampen economic performance further and keep costs elevated in the months ahead.
Growth eased again in UK with the flash #PMI at an 18-month low of 50.9 (Jul: 52.1). Demand was impacted by economic uncertainty and high costs while employment growth also moderated. Read more: https://t.co/P4mdA0F04B pic.twitter.com/AUhinzpGgI
A regular emergency planning exercise to help the UK prepare for possible gas shortages has been doubled in size ahead of a looming energy crisis this winter.
Potential scenarios – including rationing electricity – will be practised for four days instead of the usual two, the BBC reports.
The National Grid drill, dubbed Exercise Degree, will get underway next month, simulating scenarios in which a loss of gas supply triggers an emergency for the UK’s energy system.
The Government insists there’s no risk to UK energy supplies and says consumers shouldn’t panic.
Elon Musk has demanded his friend former Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey give evidence to court as the Tesla billionaire tries to back out of his $44bn offer to buy the social media company.
Matthew Field reports:
Mr Musk has sent subpoenas to Mr Dorsey asking for communications surrounding the takeover and information about the number of spam accounts on the social network.
The Tesla and SpaceX chief executive is attempting to walk back on an offer to buy Twitter. He is being sued by the social network, which is trying to make him go through with the deal.
Mr Musk argues that Twitter misled him over the number of spam or "bot" accounts on the social network. The trial, in the Delaware Chancery, is due for October.
France’s economy is contracting for the first time in a year and a half, mirroring the downturn felt in Germany as the energy crisis and surging inflation batter Europe.
S&P Global’s PMI index dropped in August to its lowest level since the early months of the pandemic and suprised economists by falling into contraction territory.
New orders declined in both services and manufacturing, with firms the least confident since November 2020. Overall, service activity remained just above the level that indicates expansion, while manufacturing plummeted.
Meanwhile, German output began to shrink in July and tumbled again in August.
Joe Hayes, an economist at S&P Global, said:
High inflation and a waning post-Covid boost to demand has led businesses and consumers to cut back on discretionary spending. European economies look set for a challenging run into year-end.
August flash data revealed the first contraction in activity in France for 18 months with the #PMI at 49.8. The manufacturing sector was the main drag on the economy with output falling sharply while growth in the service sector moderated. Read more: https://t.co/9BvEwcKtyE pic.twitter.com/4ERrghMkAc
It seems the respite for Gatwick passengers was short-lived.
Around 26 easyJet flights in and out of the airport have been cancelled at short notice today, with bosses blaming staff sickness.
A spokesman told the BBC that Gatwick was facing staff shortages in its air traffic control tower.
It comes shortly after Gatwick revealed it’s ending its passenger cap this month and insisted it was "now very much operating business as usual" after months of travel chaos.
The FTSE 100 has started the day on the back foot as the deepening energy crisis across Europe fuelled recession fears.
The blue-chip index fell 0.5pc, with investors turning their attention to PMI data this morning for signs of the state of the economy.
BT bucked the downward trend, rising 1.4pc after the Government ruled French billionaire Patrick Drahi won’t be forced to cut his stake.
The domestically-focused FTSE 250 slipped as much as 0.2pc to a one-month low. John Wood Group tumbled more than 11pc after its revenue forecasts fell short of estimates.
Gatwick Airport has said it will end capacity caps this morning, bringing some relief to passengers as disruption at Heathrow continues through the winter.
Gatwick said it’s hired 400 security workers to help address a staffing crisis while delegating some workers to help relieve shortages at other airports.
"With additional resources across the Gatwick operation in place no further moderation of flying programmes is necessary", the airport said.
It came as Gatwick increased its passenger forecasts for 2022 to 32.8m as a result of higher demand in the first half, though it warned inflation and slowing demand in the winter could derail those forecasts.
It comes after Heathrow extended limits on passenger numbers until the end of October. British Airways yesterday admitted that travel chaos will last until March as it axed another 10,000 flights.
Read more: British Airways axes 10,000 flights and warns travel chaos to last until March
A French billionaire has been given the green light to build his stake in BT despite national security concerns.
In May the Government launched a review of Patrick Drahi’s decision to increase his holding in BT from 12.1pc to 18pc under new national security laws.
But the company said Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng had decided to take no further action, meaning the tycoon won’t be forced to sell down his stake.
Mr Drahi became BT’s biggest shareholder last year through his telecoms firm Altice. The move sparked fears he could be plotting a takeover of the former British monopoly.
Read more on this story: Fears of French broadband takeover as billionaire’s BT stake sparks national security review
The FTSE 100 has lost ground at the open as fears over the energy crisis continue to grip markets.
The blue-chip index fell 0.4pc to 7,507 points.
EDF’s Philippe Commaret has thrown his weight behind a cut to VAT on energy bills.
He told Radio 4: "I think cutting VAT is really important, because with the rise in electricity and gas bills in fact the revenues for the Government are increasing. So it is not fair, I think. "
He argued that the Government’s revenues from VAT should be flat, adding that the cut should apply to small businesses as well as households.
Asked about Tory leadership frontrunner Liz Truss’ plans to suspend green levies, he added: "I think that all ideas in order to keep bills for customers flat are really important and should all be considered.
"There is not only one lever that can be pushed. All the levers should be pushed right now as we face a catastrophic winter."
Good morning. 
We start the day with another dire warning about the looming energy crisis.
Philippe Commaret, EDF’s managing director for customers, warned Britain faces a “dramatic and catastrophic” energy crisis in the coming months.
He told BBC Radio 4 that half of UK households could be in energy poverty in January, and called on the Government to provide more support.
It comes after the latest predictions from Cornwall Insight showed energy bills are on track to top £5,300 per year in April – a sharp jump from the previous forecasts.
1) Cineworld pays out $100m to bankers and lawyers in ill-fated survival battle  World’s second-largest cinema operator is weighing up options for a rescue deal  
2) Europe’s population to halve as surging house prices force couples to have fewer children  Buying a home large enough to raise a family is increasingly out of reach
3) PwC hit with £200,000 lawsuit after auditor suffers ‘pub golf’ brain injury  Michael Brockie described as ‘walking miracle’ after having half his skull removed
4) Murdoch heir goes into battle over US Capitol riots criticism  Lachlan Murdoch’s lawyers threaten Australian news outlet with legal action over ‘co-conspirator’ claims
5) Vodafone sells Hungarian arm as Orban tightens his grip  Deal for mobile operator is latest example of prime minister’s efforts to control economy
Asian shares were down for a sixth straight session this morning after a renewed spike in European energy prices stoked fears of recession and pushed bond yields higher, while tipping the euro to 20-year lows.
Unease over China’s economy continued to percolate as a cut in lending rates and talk of a fresh round of official loans to property developers underlined stresses in the sector.
Chinese blue chips were off 0.2pc having received only a fleeting lift from the latest policy easing.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.4pc, and has fallen every day in the past week.
The Nikkei lost 1.2pc after a PMI survey showed factory activity in Japan slowed to a 19-month low in August amid persistent rises in raw material and energy costs.
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