EU leaders set to approve energy windfall tax

G.ood morning.

All eyes are on UK borrowing figures this morning amid hopes Rishi Sunak could unveil new measures to ease the cost-of-living crisis this week.

The budget deficit is running £ 26bn lower than forecasts in the first 11 months of the financial year, giving the Chancellor some wiggle room ahead of tomorrow’s Spring Statement.

At £ 13.1bn, public borrowing in February was down on last year but ahead of the £ 8bn forecast.

The increase is largely due to surging inflation, which pushed up the cost of servicing government debts.

5 things to start your day

1) Director quits Civil Aviation Authority over British Airways shares Fiasco comes weeks after Heathrow airport chief removed from hiring panel

2) Boris Johnson goes for nuclear option in energy drive Fresh urgency on security of supply is pushing atomic power back up the agenda

3) London house prices ’50pc overvalued’, sparking correction fears Analysts warn that prices are likely to fall

4) Rishi Sunak, the ‘jam tomorrow’ Chancellor He has the fiscal firepower to help rescue households, but his ‘low-key’ Spring Statement may not be the time he chooses to use it

5) P & O’s mass sackings put hundreds more ferry jobs at risk, warns rival DFDS tell Grant Shapps it may have to start using agency workers if he allows “unlevel playing field”

What happened overnight

Gains in banks, energy and mining stocks lifted Asian equities a little higher on Tuesday as investors braced for aggressive US rate hikes and war disrupting oil supplies.

Oil futures rose nearly 3pc to a two-week high in Asia.

The yen fell through the key 120 level against the dollar for the first times since 2016 and Treasuries extended losses after the US Federal Reserve chairman on Monday flagged a more aggressive tightening of monetary policy than previously anticipated.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2pc. Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.7pc to 27,276.

China’s blue chip index opened 0.2pc lower while Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 0.7pc.

Coming up today

  • Corporate: Alliance Pharma, Harworth, Kingfisher, Luceco, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Staffline (full-year); Carnival, SCS, Softcat, YouGov (interim)
  • Economics: Public sector net borrowing (UK)

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