It’s time to conclude.
The cost of living squeeze on British workers continued as wages failed to keep pace with prices.
Regular pay fell in the quarter to February, with base income rising only 4% – not matching inflation which was above 6% that month.
The latest UK labor market report also showed public sector workers’ pay was falling by more than 4% in real terms and the long-term illness due to Covid was pushing people away from the job market.
That helped bring the unemployment rate below pre-pandemic levels and to the lowest point since the 1970s.
Our Economics Editor Larry Elliott says the impact of the pandemic on over-50s and public sector workers is particularly troubling:
US inflation has reached its highest level since 1981, up 8.5% for the year to the end of March. The war in Ukraine has driven up energy costs for Americans, and food and housing costs have also jumped.
Economists have said the latest price spike will intensify pressure on the US Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, but some are also hopeful it could be the peak of inflation.
UK retail sales growth slowed last month as fears over the rising cost of living led to the biggest drop in consumer confidence since the 2008 financial crisis:
the World organization of commerce cut its forecast for world trade growth this year from 4.7% to 3% due to economic disruption caused by the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The WTO has also warned that poorer countries risk facing food shortages.
Development charity Oxfam is also deeply concerned. He warned that more than a quarter of a billion people around the world could be pushed into extreme poverty this year amid a spike in global food prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the continued impact of Covid and rising global inequality.
The World Bank is providing further financial support to Ukraine, approving a $1bn (£770m) package to help keep essential services running.
Russia’s economy is set to shrink by more than 10% in 2022, the country’s former finance minister Alexei Kudrin has said following crippling sanctions imposed following the invasion of Russia. Ukraine.
Sri Lanka must default on its debts for the first time since its independence in 1948, because a deep financial crisis obliges it to preserve its scarce foreign exchange reserves.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance announced that all debt payments would be temporarily suspended while a bailout is agreed with the IMF, saying:
The government is only taking the emergency measure as a last resort in order to prevent a further deterioration in the financial situation of the republic.
Frances O’Grady will step down as general secretary of the Trades Union Congress at the end of the year.
The first woman to hold the post in the TUC’s 154-year history, she said it had been the greatest honor of her life to serve the trade union movement during a turbulent decade for working people.
Extinction Rebellion protesters forced the closure of Lloyd’s of London insurance market, after using superglue, chains and locks to block entrances to the building.
The group is demanding that Lloyds stop insuring fossil fuel projects.
The general manager of easyJet insisted the great summer getaway will not be spoiled, even though up to a fifth of staff have fallen ill amid a surge of Covid, leading to hundreds of flight cancellations.
The online fashion retailer asos expects to take a £14m hit to profits and a 2% reduction in growth, following its decision to halt business operations in Russia in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine .
One of the UK’s biggest accountancy firms, Deloitte, is being investigated by regulators for its Go-Ahead audits, after the bus and train operator was implicated in a scandal for wrongfully withholding £50m of taxpayers’ money.
German investor optimism fell to its lowest level since the start of the pandemic as the war in Ukraine and rising inflation rattled confidence.
Good evening. GW