Supply chain issues hit UK factories as fuel crisis enters week two – Business LIVE | Business
Hello and welcome to our continued coverage of the global economy, financial markets, business and the UK supply chain crisis.
“When sorrows come, they don’t come as lone spies. But in battalions! like Claude put it wisely Hamlet. And today the UK is facing a bunch of problems.
Business confidence has “fallen off a cliff” as supply bottlenecks, rising energy prices, fuel shortages and impending tax increases hit the economy.
The Institute of Directors warned that business confidence in the UK had fallen to its lowest level since February, deep in the latest lockdown.
Its business morale index fell from +22 points to -1 point in September, which signaled a return to pessimism in February, when the economy was constrained by foreclosure restrictions.
Ussher kitten, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said the UK business environment has “deteriorated considerably” in recent weeks.
After a period of optimism at the start of the summer, leaders of small and medium-sized businesses across the UK are now much less certain of the overall economic situation and the IoD CEOs Economic Confidence Index has fallen from a cliff in September.
“A higher proportion of our members expect costs to increase over the next year than they expect revenues to increase. This is not helped by the government’s recent move to increase employers’ national insurance contributions, which discourages hiring just as the leave scheme ends.
Unions, economists and other business groups have also warned that the end of the leave scheme yesterday will worsen the UK’s economic woes.
The oil crisis has entered its second week. Yesterday nearly half of all independent service stations in the UK were still dry or short of some type of fuel on Thursday, following panic buying that hit the forecourt last Friday.
With high demand still rapidly draining sites, Soldiers are ready to drive tankers to help with the resupply effort due to a lack of heavy truck drivers.
Brian Madderson, president of the Petrol Retailers Association, warned yesterday:
“The pressure hasn’t been eased from drivers wanting to refuel when they can, wherever they can. Trying to calm this down seems like a monumental task at the moment. “
The oil crisis is improving in northeast England, Yorkshire, Scotland and Wales, but large areas still suffer from significant shortages, according to an internal Whitehall analysis seen by The Times.
This analysis shows that the fuel levels are still far too low:
Average fuel levels on the forecourt remain at 20 percent for the fourth day in a row, compared to the usual 43 percent. Industry sources said there could be disruptions for up to a month.
Whitehall’s analysis classifies each region as red, amber, or green. It shows that in England, London, the South East, the North West and the West and East Midlands are classified in red, with levels below 20%.
The larger shortage of truck drivers is hitting the economy, warning that Christmas could be severely disrupted as families struggle to find food and holiday gifts.
The government is also urged to allow more butchers in the country, with the British agricultural industry warning that hundreds of thousands of pigs may need to be slaughtered within weeks.
Lizzie wilson, Policy Services Officer at National Pig Association (NPA), said the shortage of butchers meant processors were operating at 25% reduced capacity. This means that mature pigs ready for processing are declining on farms, leading to welfare issues.
“There are currently around 120,000 pigs sitting on a farm that should have already been slaughtered, slaughtered, part of the food chain and eaten now.”
UK households are also seeing their energy bills soar today, as the energy price cap is lifted. The cap means those whose default rates pay by direct debit will see their bills increase by £ 139, from £ 1,138 to £ 1,277, based on typical usage.
It will increase the cost of living for families this winter. Charities are warning that the government’s new £ 500million winter hardship fund will not provide enough support, given the £ 20-a-week universal credit cut next week.
But the increase in the cap has been overtaken by soaring global energy prices in recent weeks, which has forced several UK suppliers to close their doors.
On the economic front, we get new inflation data from the US and the Eurozone that will be closely watched and find out how global factories fared last month.
Data released already today shows Asia’s manufacturing activity was lackluster in September amid signs of slowing Chinese growth and factory closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Investors are also feeling gloomy, with European stock markets set to open lower after steep falls in Asia-Pacific stock markets overnight (Japan’s Nikkei closed down 2.3%).
- 9 a.m. BST: Euro zone manufacturing PMI survey for September
- 9:30 a.m. BST: UK manufacturing PMI survey for September
- 10 a.m. BST: Eurozone inflation report for September
- 1:30 p.m. BST: US PCE inflation measurement for August
- 2:45 p.m. BST: US manufacturing PMI survey for September
- 3 p.m. BST: University of Michigan survey of U.S. consumer confidence