Morning Financial Press Review
Paul Kettle
AM Press Round-Up -2 min read
07:17, 25th March 2019

Below are the key morning headlines from today’s papers, featuring the Financial Times, The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail & more - see the full Press section here.

Shell to switch 700,000 UK homes to renewable energy. Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ (RDSB) FOLLOW will begin supplying renewable electricity to more than 700,000 homes in the UK this week as it powers up plans to take become the world’s biggest electricity company. Under the brand Shell Energy, it will become one of the country’s biggest green power suppliers overnight when it replaces First Utility, a year after acquiring the “big six” challenger brand. Customers will automatically switch to green energy at no extra cost. “On Monday morning more than 700,000 homes will wake up, turn on the lights, and switch on the kettle, using renewable electricity,” said Colin Crooks, the chief executive of Shell Energy Retail.

Asian stocks slump as US recession fears grip markets. Australian treasury yields hit a record low in a grim portent for the economy, while the Nikkei falls 3% in wider share selloff. Shares in Asia Pacific have slumped after a key market indicator flashed an “amber warning” that the United States is heading for a recession. Bond yields also continued to fall across the world with Australian 10-year treasury yields falling to a record low on Monday of 1.756% in what analysts see as a strong indicator of a downturn hitting the resource-rich country. Stocks were also under pressure in Sydney with the ASX200 benchmark index closing down 1% to a four-week low.Equities were sold off across Asia Pacific. In Japan the Nikkei was down 3%, bond yields slipped to their lowest point since 2016 and the yen – seen as a safe haven investment – was at its highest in more than a month. The Kospi index in Seoul dropped 1.8%, the Hang Seng was down 1.82% and Shanghai retreated 1.3%.

Tesco ‘misled supplier’ over Irish stores. Tesco (TSCO) FOLLOW has apologised after blaming a decision to pull some British products from its Irish stores on uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the European Union. Britain’s largest supermarket chain, which has more than 6,800 stores and 440,000 staff around the world and has 151 branches in Ireland, was accused of using Brexit as an excuse last night after it said it had failed to “properly explain” why it is taking a supplier’s goods off shelves next month. The grocer, which told an English manufacturer this month that concerns about the aftermath of Brexit had forced it to delist products from its Irish stores, now insists this is not the case.

An embattled British energy minnow is to install its electricity storage technology alongside solar panels in businesses across the UK after striking a deal with Norway’s state power giant. Redt Energy (RED) FOLLOW said the deal with Statkraft would mean it installs “vanadium redox flow” machines capable of storing up to 60 megawatt-hours of energy in aggregate — equivalent to the daily electricity needs of 6,000 homes. The storage machines will be offered to businesses over the next three years alongside solar panels capable of generating up to 100 megawatts of electricity. Statkraft will fund the installations in return for businesses signing long-term power purchase agreements, which it claims will save firms up to 20% on their electricity costs.

Companies at risk as Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) FOLLOW rules out DLA Piper’s cyberattack claim. British companies are at risk from insurers refusing to pay out on claims for cyberattacks after a private legal battle between the country’s largest law firm and its insurance provider. DLA Piper, Britain’s biggest law firm by revenue, is bringing a case against Hiscox for refusing to pay out on a multimillion-pound insurance claim for damage caused by the Petya cyberattack, The Times has learnt. The dispute comes as the boards of leading businesses, including Lloyds Bank, Tesco Bank, TSB, Talktalk and British Airways, focus on cybersecurity after the targeting of high-profile organisations to disrupt service or access customer data.

The UK is the best placed large country in the race to switch from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy sources, says the World Economic Forum (WEF). A study of 115 nations ranked the UK as eighth in its preparedness for the energy transition, and the only G7 nation in the top 10 of the WEF’s index. However, the UK’s success is being undermined by the largest greenhouse gas emitters – including the US, China, India and Russia – whose progress on energy transition has stalled. Despite the climate pact signed in Paris three years ago, the world’s energy systems have become less affordable and are no more environmentally sustainable than they were five years ago, warned the WEF.

Tesco begins plastic-free trial for selection of fruit and veg. Only loose versions of 45 products will be sold in Extra stores in Watford and Swindon. Tesco (TSCO) FOLLOW is launching a trial to remove a selection of plastic-wrapped fruit and vegetable to cut down on packaging waste. Britain’s biggest retailer said it would run the month-long pilot from Monday at two of its Extra stores, in Watford and Swindon, removing plastic packaging from 45 foods where loose alternatives are available. The items include apples, onions, mushrooms, peppers, bananas and avocados. The development comes after Tesco announced last year that it would ban hard-to-recycle plastic packaging by 2019 and make all packaging fully recyclable by 2025.

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