Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
1. Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Tuesday appeared to deny there was any infighting within the governing Conservative party during a visit to New Zealand, where he said the country was near the top of the queue for a trade deal post-Brexit. Johnson played down recent media reports in London of infighting in the Conservative party along the lines of the Leave-Remain rifts it suffered during the referendum.
2. Fraud investigators have opened an inquiry into possible corruption by Rio Tinto in Guinea, nearly nine months after the miner reported itself to authorities in three countries over suspect payments, the Times reports. The Serious Fraud Office said that it had “opened an investigation into suspected corruption in the conduct of business in the Republic of Guinea by the Rio Tinto group, its employees and others associated with it.”
3. A raft of top European companies will be forced to pull out of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Russia or face crippling sanctions under draconian legislation racing through the US Congress, the Telegraph reports. Berlin and Brussels have threatened retaliation if Washington presses ahead with penalties on anything like the suggested terms, marking a dramatic escalation in the simmering trans-Atlantic showdown over America’s extra-territorial police powers.
4. Convenience chain McColl’s has confirmed it is retendering its £2 billion supply deal with retailer Nisa, in a potential blow to Sainsbury’s planned £130 million takeover of Nisa, according to the Telegraph. McColl’s has emerged as the unlikely kingmaker in Sainsbury’s swoop on Nisa, as the 1,300-store group provides almost two fifths of Nisa’s revenues through a five-year supply deal set to expire next year.
5. London copper struck its highest level since mid February on Tuesday after a unexpected strength in China’s economy and a weaker dollar fanned upside technical momentum, Reuters reports. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange jumped by 1.2% to $US6,097 a tonne by 03.49 BST (Tuesday 10.49 p.m. ET), after a 0.4% gain in the previous session.
6. Banks are guilty of a “spiral of complacency” as lenders from credit card providers to car financiers have eased their lending standards and allowed borrowers to “rack up more and more debt”, one of the Bank of England’s leading officials has warned, according to a Times report. Alex Brazier, executive director of financial stability at the bank, raised the spectre of Northern Rock’s collapse as he said that regulators had become concerned at the way in which cheap credit was being handed out without regard for risk.
7. EasyJet has announced the largest cabin crew intake in its 21-year history, with plans to hire more than 1,000 staff. More than 1,200 men and women will be given permanent and fixed-term positions at the budget airline, the Guardian reports. This will increase its total number of cabin crew to 8,100. Earlier this year, the Luton-based carrier revealed that it was recruiting more than 450 pilots and providing opportunities for its first officers to be promoted to captaincy roles.
8. The first phase of a four-year £246 million Government investment into battery technology has been launched in a move that could help bring down household electricity bills, Sky reports. The long-term vision includes creating giant battery facilities around the National Grid to store excess wind and solar energy for when demand rises.
9. Asian stocks were subdued on Tuesday, while the dollar crept up from a 13-month low on Tuesday after stronger-than-expected readings on U.S. factory and services activity ahead of the start of a Federal Reserve meeting later in the day, reports Reuters. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat in early trade, with a number of markets looking for fresh impetus after hitting multi-year highs in recent weeks, and Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.3%.
10. The size of more than 2,500 different everyday items in the UK has decreased in the last five years, while prices have stayed the same or even risen according to new research from the Office for National Statistics released on Monday. The trend, known as shrinkflation, has taken hold across UK consumer goods in past years.