IEA blames Saudi Arabia, UAE for oil price spike

gHello.

There’s some (must-have) positive data to start your Friday, after the latest GDP figures showed the UK economy recorded its strongest growth since World War II last year.

GDP grew by 7.5% in 2021 – the biggest increase in 80 years. It also means Britain has outpaced other major economies in the post-pandemic rebound.

While the economy contracted by 0.2pc in December due to omicron, it was a less severe hit than expected. For the fourth quarter, the GDP increased by 1 pc.

5 things to start your day

1) Inland Revenue ‘handed over’ over £4billion Covid loan fraud, MPs say HMRC’s efforts to recover stolen funds from taxpayers branded ‘unambitious’

2) Britain to import 70% gas as North Sea reserves run out Dependence on foreign fuel will raise new questions about the country’s strategic independence

3) Andrew Bailey attacks Brussels over plans to cut City off from European banks Bank of England governor says such move would ‘fragment the international system’

4) AstraZeneca ready to tweak Covid vaccine as it finally turns a profit The pharmaceutical giant is working with the University of Oxford to tackle new variants

5) Credit Suisse ‘failed to freeze cocaine smuggling wrestler’s bank account’ Ex-employee accusation comes as bank reveals £1.6billion loss

What happened overnight

Asian markets fell on Friday after a sell-off on Wall Street in response to a jump in US inflation that revived expectations that the Federal Reserve will embark on a more aggressive campaign of monetary tightening. Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Wellington, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta all fell into the red, although Singapore rose slightly. Tokyo was closed for vacation.

coming today

Business : British American Tobacco (Annual results); Lancashire Holdings, Tate & Lyle, Victrex (temporary); Electrocomponents (Business Update)

Economy: GDP (UK)industrial production (UK)manufacturing (UK)trade balance (UK)consumer price index (All)Michigan Consumer Confidence Index (WE)Fed Monetary Policy Report (WE)