The pound has experienced its longest losing streak since the early days of the pandemic, as markets bet interest rates won’t go as high as feared.
Traders are currently betting the prime rate – currently 5% – will hit as high as 6 instead of 6.5%.
The stance has knocked the pound for seven days in a row, its worst rally since March 2020.
The currency slide comes after figures showed UK private firms posted their slowest growth in six months.
Companies report that interest rates have begun to bite.
The economic slowdown was revealed in the closely watched purchasing managers index, which shows the number of new orders companies receive and their ability to raise prices.
The PMI fell from 52.8% to 50.7%, surprising economists who had expected no change.
Chris Williamson, chief economist at S&P GLOBAL, said. “Rising interest rates and higher living costs appear to be taking a toll on households, dampening the post-pandemic recovery in leisure spending.”
He said the survey would “blow back warnings about a recession”.
The slowdown will also be closely watched by the Bank of England, which will decide next week on the extent of further rate hikes to reduce inflation.
At the beginning of July, the market was betting that the Bank would have to be aggressive.
But now, 68% of traders think next week’s gain will be just 0.25% instead of 0.5%.
The softer inflation figures reinforce the view that the Bank’s efforts are finally working after 13 rate hikes.
Divorce probe ‘quickly’
Companies that offer “quick” divorce and online will writing are being probed by the competition watchdog, amid concerns they may not be able to give accurate advice.
Online divorces have exploded since the lockdown pandemic put a strain on many households.
But some families have complained to the Competition and Markets Authority about the quality of service and say they have been affected by the hefty additional fees.
“It’s essential for companies to get the basics right,” said CMA director Sarah Carddell.
MPs found ONLY 2% of venture capital funding goes to businesses set up by women – and even less to businesses founded by ethnic minorities.
Harriet Baldwin, head of the Finance Committee, said: “As public funds play such an important role in the success of the UK venture capital sector, more needs to be done.
The Treasury Department recently launched a “Genderism in the City” investigation to investigate barriers faced by women in the financial sector – including complaints of sexual harassment.
Super six months
PRICE comparison site MoneySupermarket has been pushed by many shoppers around for better credit card deals.
The company’s sales have grown 11 per cent to £213.8million in the past six months, although it has been hit by a downturn in the mortgage market.
The company said it doesn’t expect to monetize its energy division for the rest of the year as price ceilings limit competition in the market.
Telecommunications link is not a big deal
The boss of phone network provider Vodafone says its merger plan with rival Three will overcome all regulatory hurdles.
Sheriff Margherita Della Valle said the deal should go ahead – despite concerns about national security risks and soaring prices.
Vodafone argued that the planned partnership with Three would be good for customers and allow for more investment in its network.
And Ms Della Valle said that since both companies already operate in the UK and have security licenses, merging them should be no problem.
But worries surrounding Three’s Hong Kong-based billionaire boss Sir Li Ka-shing persist.
Vodafone increased customer contracts by 14.4% from a year ago, as telcos can increase bills by adding 3.9% to the inflation rate.
The higher prices meant Vodafone’s UK branch increased sales by 5.7%, despite losing 66,000 mobile customers.
Pawn and see the loan increase
Cash-strapped people are turning to pawn shops, with loan values up 41 percent over the past year.
Figures from accounting firm MAZARS show the value of pawn loans rose from £158m to £223m last year.
Meanwhile, the amount owed on pawnbroker loans has also increased by a third, to £57m.
The sharp increase meant that many households lost valuables in default, as the pawnbroker became the legal owner of the used items.
Paul Rouse, of Mazars, described the increase as a concern, adding: “This is a sign that too many people are struggling.”
Cricket kit maker ENGLAND Castore got a Bazball boost although the Aussies kept the Ashes.
The sportswear company founded by brothers Tom and Phil Beahon in 2016 says cricket sales have increased by a fifth in the Test series – topped by the bucket hats favored by captain Ben Stokes.
Once sold out, the £25 coins are now being turned over and resold on eBay for £60.
Castore has grown rapidly after reaching kit deals with Premier League sides Newcastle United and Aston Villa, as well as Formula One team McLaren.
It ranks as the second fastest growing company in the UK after revenue tripled to £115m last year and it hopes to grow revenue by 100 per cent this year.