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Sunak to offer economic update on Thursday

Louis Ashworth
·28-min read
Sunak - Jeff J Mitchell/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Sunak - Jeff J Mitchell/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Markets Hub embed test
Markets Hub embed test

03:53 PM

Wrap-up

Time to wrap up! European equities made a decent close, with the FTSE 100 the strongest performer:

 These were some of the day’s top stories:

  • Eurozone recovery stalls: Flash PMIs indicated the eurozone’s economic recovery has stalled, with activity falling slightly compared to August. Analysts warned the UK may soon follow.

  • Sunak speech tomorrow: The Budget has been scrapped, and Chancellor Rishi SUnak will instead offer an economic update to the House of Commons on Thursday.

  • JP Morgan shifts €200bn of assets to Frankfurt: JP Morgan is moving about €200bn (£184bn) of assets from the UK to Germany with only a little over three months until the Brexit transition period ends. 

Thanks for following along today. We’ll be back tomorrow morning!

03:28 PM

Sky’s Rigby: No Budget this year

Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby says there will be no Budget this year – something which had already been strongly rumoured: 

03:22 PM

Analysis: What Sunak can learn from other countries on jobs support

Rishi Sunak has a problem, my colleague Tim Wallace writes. The Chancellor’s furlough scheme, which successfully protected millions of jobs through the first lockdown, closes at the end of October.

Tim writes:

It has been winding down since August, encouraging people to go back to work and limiting the bill to the Treasury, which currently stands at £40bn.

But a resurgence in the virus means new restrictions have been introduced, so the crisis is not over yet.

The problem is urgent. About a tenth of business employees were still on furlough at the start of this month, according to ONS surveys, amounting to around 2.2m people.

By the end of next month their employers will either have to take them fully back on to the payroll, or make them redundant.

Pressure is mounting to extend the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) or replace it with a new system of support. So what are the Chancellor’s options?

03:18 PM

Sunak confirms economic update

As ever, the Chancellor has employed his unique personal branding: 

02:54 PM

Labour whips: Sunak to make statement on economy tomorrow

As if Thursday weren’t exciting enough already…

02:48 PM

Full report: JP Morgan shifts assets to Frankfurt

My colleague Michael O’Dwyer has a full report on JP Morgan’s move to Frankfurt. He writes:

International banks have been moving assets and making changes to their operations to ensure they can continue to function fully if there is no deal between the UK and the EU on market access once the transition period ends at the turn of the year. 

However, the number of job losses in the City as a result of Brexit has so far been lower than previously feared. 

JPMorgan already books transactions for some of its European clients through its German subsidiary but is understood to be increasing the capital in its Frankfurt entity in preparation for the end of the Brexit transition. 

02:45 PM

Japanese bank Mizuho plans to cut office space in New York and London – Bloomberg

Mizuho, the Japanese bank, plans to cut down on office space in New York and London as it braces for more home working by staff, Bloomberg reports.

The news service says:

Employees in those financial centers won’t all need to come to the office every day in future, according to Hiroshi Nagamine, a senior executive at Japan’s third-largest bank. “We will reduce the space,” he said in an interview, adding that specific plans are yet to be ironed out.

02:17 PM

Asda brings back door marshals

Asda is restoring shop floor marshals and applying Covid-proof coating on trolleys to fight a second wave of coronavirus.

My colleague Laura Onita reports:

The UK’s third-largest supermarket will put 1,000 staff outside stores and in the aisles of larger outlets to reiterate the need to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing as they shop. 

It is also applying a protective coating to all baskets and trolley handles in a bid to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The shield was used at the NHS Nightingale hospital at the Excel centre in east London earlier this year built at the peak of the crisis earlier this year. 

01:50 PM

Incoming Amigo chief executive steps aside

Amigo
Amigo

More chaos at embattled subprime lender Amigo. Glen Crawford, the firm's incoming CEO, has informed the company that he no longer wishes to re-join the board and take up the position.

Amigo said:

The unexpected withdrawal of his candidature follows a divergence of views with a majority of the board.

Mr Crawford has terminated his current contract with the firm with immediate effect, it added. 

Gary Jennison, who joined the board as a non-executive director just over a month ago has been appointed as chief executive, subject to regulatory approval.

Mr Jennison said:

It’s fair to say that I like a tough challenge and, when it’s sorted, I take a lot of pride from the end result. Amigo is a business full of good people at all levels and working together we can sort this. Our customers need us and by Amigo not being able to lend more widely at the moment, they are the ones that are missing out.

The ability of Amigo to help our current and future customers – who typically can’t access mainstream finance – could genuinely change their lives and set them on a path to financial inclusion.

01:37 PM

Wall Street opens mixed

US market data - Bloomberg 
US market data - Bloomberg

US stocks have opened mixed amid warnings from Fed officials on the need for more stimulus to lift the economy from its virus-induced slump.

12:58 PM

Bank of England acknowledges lapses in how audio feed was handled

Bank of England - REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
Bank of England - REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

The Bank of England made mistakes by not realise its low-latency audio feeds could be misused, an review had found.

Following concerns raised last year that subscribers to a service called Statisma News had been able to get a few seconds of advantage over other traders through a low-latency feed of Threadneedle Street’s press conferences, the Bank’s Internal Auditor and Independent Evaluation Office said:

Our Review has indicated that there were occasions where, with the benefit of hindsight, this misuse by a third party supplier of the Bank’s audio feed could have been identified sooner by the Bank. 

It acknowledged that low-latency streams could offer a “non-negligible” delay advantage over video streams. 

The review criticises the bank over a failure to follow up properly on a claimed misuse of the audio feed two years ago:

In late 2018, an external party made a specific allegation to the Bank with regards to Encoded Media’s use of its feed. This was not fully investigated because it was not considered possible in the Bank’s Press Conference environment. This was based on the Bank’s understanding of the facts, but it was incorrect. 

It made a series of recommendations, including that the Bank should monitor social media for evidence of companies that offer “inappropriate access” to its publications and press conferences.

12:35 PM

FCA: No evidence of wrongdoing over Bank of England audio feed

The Financial Conduct Authority has closed its probe into allegations last year that hedge funds used a low-latency audio feed to get early information from Bank of England press conferences.

In a statement, the City watchdog said:

There was a suggestion that, following the publication of decisions by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, an audio feed of the press Q&A had been used to share or otherwise facilitate access to information in a way that was contrary to the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR). 

We have examined these matters fully. We do not believe the audio feed contained any inside information, nor have we found any activity of concern or misconduct. Our enquiry is now closed and we have informed the Bank and other parties connected to the review.

12:21 PM

Diploma shares soar after US acquisition

Shares in technical products group Diploma have soared after it raised £194m to complete its acquisition of Windy City Wire Cable, a “a leading value-add distributor of premium quality, low voltage wire and cable” based in the US.

The group sold £190m worth of shares to institutional investors, and a further £4m to retail investors.

Diploma said WCW was a “highly attractive business” in one of its key markets, with a “strong track record of performance”.

Completion of the takeover is expected to be finished by mid-November.

Chief executive Johnny Thomson said:

The acquisition of WCW is an exceptional opportunity for Diploma. As a high-quality wire and cable distribution business with a strong management team and an impressive value-add customer proposition, WCW is a perfect fit with our business model.

Royal Bank of Canada’s Andrew Brooke sounded caution over the deal, noting there are questions about how some of Diploma’s end markets, including the aviation sector, will recover from Covid-19.

12:03 PM

Wall Street set for slight rise

US shares are set to rise slightly at the open in about an hour and a half, although the Nasdaq is likely to dip slightly.

The benchmark S&P 500 closed up about 1pc yesterday, although a lack of progress on a US relief package is continuing to dampen investor enthusiasm.

11:49 AM

Joules boss says summer sales better than expected

Joules  - Handout
Joules - Handout

The boss of Joules, best known for its brightly coloured clothes, said sales were better than expected over the summer, but still recovering from the hit of the pandemic. 

My colleague Laura Onita reports:

Nick Jones, who joined the retailer in October from Asda, said more people have been shopping with Joules online and in-store since lockdown. It made sales of almost £40m for the three months to the end of August, down however by almost a fifth compared with this time last year. 

The drop was due in part to the gradual reopening of its 128 branches after shops were forced to shut in March. Wholesale also put a damper on its performance as revenue fell by 59pc, with sales from department stores in the US such as Nordstrom and Dillard’s slow to recover. 

Joules started life more than three decades ago, when Tom Joule started selling clothing on a stand at a country show in Leicestershire. Emily Salter, a retail analyst at GlobalData, said that Joules is well-placed to rake in sales over the festive season as it is less reliant on party clothes. 

The retailer has been protected by selling casual and cosy items, which could continue to be popular as shoppers are once again encouraged to work from home.

11:36 AM

Mars ditches Uncle Ben’s brand

Uncle Ben’s - AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
Uncle Ben’s - AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Uncle Ben’s rice products will be renamed Ben's Original after its owner Mars acknowledged that the logo depicting an elderly African-American man promoted racial stereotypes.

My colleague Simon Foy reports:

The revamped Ben’s products, which feature the same blue font, orange packaging and half of the name, will hit shelves in 2021.

Fiona Dawson, head of Mars’ food business, said: “It’s time for him to retire.”

Ms Dawson pointed out that the term “Uncle” had overtones of servility and had sometimes been used disparagingly in the US to refer to black men. “Clearly that’s something we would not want to be associated with,” she said. 

The move is the latest example of the corporate world dropping longstanding labels in response to concerns around racial inequality prompted by the black lives matter movement. 

11:18 AM

US mortgage applications highest since 2009

Applications for mortgages in the US jumped to an 11-year high in the week to September 18th.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s purchasing index jumped 3.4pc to reach its highest level since January 2009.

The index dropped sharply earlier this year as the pandemic first hit, but rates have subsequently plunged, fueling a recovery in America’s housing sector. 

11:00 AM

Heathrow boss: Traffic at 15pc–20pc of usual levels

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow , says the airport is at 15pc to 20pc of its typical traffic levels for this time of year.

Speaking at the World Aviation festival, he said Heathrow is developing different planning scenarios, but said he expects business to return:

We are thinking about different kinds of models because we really don’t know how long the crisis will last for and who will be left at the end. If the mix of airlines and the nature of the demand changes then will be changing our business model.

He called for pre-journey testing, saying it is “by far the best way of getting as close to normal as we can”.

10:42 AM

PZ Cussons falls after mixed results

PZ Cussons - Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg
PZ Cussons - Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Soap-maker PZ Cussons is one of the FTSE 250’s biggest fallers today, after posting mixed results.

It published full-year results for the twelve months to the end of May, alongside a separate trading update covering the quarter since.

The group – which owns brands including Imperial Leather – reported a slight dip in full-year revenues, which it blamed on Covid-19 and challenges in its Nigerian markets.

Capacity constraints impacted its shower gel brands, but its Carex hand wash business performed strongly.

Its performance in the quarter to the end of August was stronger, with revenue growth of 23pc across the period that PZ Cussons pinned partly on “strong demand for hygiene brands”.

Chief executive Jonathan Myers said:

The operating landscape remains highly volatile with many of the economies we operate in moving into recession, the continuing uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic and categories remaining highly competitive with pressure on discounting and cost.

While it remains very difficult to forecast and give guidance we expect some adverse headwinds for the rest of the year following this good start.

Shore Capital’s Darren Shirley noted the group faces a number of challenges, noting its ongoing strategic review.

10:16 AM

Fresnillo and Polymetal fall as gold price drops

The FTSE 100 is in excellent spirits today – all but two of London’s blue-chips are in the green amid a widespread rally. Only precious-metal miners Polymetal and Fresnillo are falling, as the prices of gold continues to edge lower:

At the top end, construction companies are performing strongly, with Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments among the top risers.

09:58 AM

Full report: Economic rebound loses steam

My colleague Russell Lynch has a full report on today’s PMI figures. He writes:

Manufacturers showed more resilience than services firms but still saw a slowing pace of activity, the survey showed. While the index signals growth for now, business confidence is now at its lowest ebb since May.

Although a firm bounce-back from the record 20.4pc slump seen in the lockdown is still expected between July and September, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at survey compiler IHS Markit, said the economy could “easily” shrink again as consumer spending slides. 

09:44 AM

PMI reaction: Stagnation looms

The eurozone’s stalling PMI numbers indicate where the UK is likely to be in a few weeks’ time, according to Samuel Tombs from Pantheon Macroeconomics:

The economic recovery decelerated in September and is set to stall in Q4, in response to rising Covid-19 infections. As in the first wave of the virus, Eurozone data provide a guide to the economy’s likely position in a few weeks’ time, given that UK infection numbers are tracking those in France and Spain, with a short lag.

As a result, the decline in the Eurozone composite PMI to 50.1, from 51.9 in August, is a concerning sign. British firms already anticipate that growth will slow to a virtual halt, with expectations for growth in demand over the next 12 months falling for a second consecutive month, and to the weakest level since May.

Thomas Pugh from Capital Economics notes that the PMI data was taken before yesterday’s restriction announcements – a factor that is likely to impact the readings, which have been criticised in the past as too based on sentiment. he added:

The fall in the services PMI was probably in part due to the expiry of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out restaurant discount scheme.

There’s also been some interesting discussion between IHS Markit’s chief business economist Chris Williamson, and the Twitter account @econhedge (parts of their conversation are embedded below, click through for the full series of tweets).

Mr Williamson has rowed back IHS Markit’s use of the term “acute” in relation to the UK services slowdown.

 

09:28 AM

Market moves

European equities have shot higher this morning, with the FTSE 100 leading risers at 2.2pc up. London’s blue-chips have been given a boost by the pound’s woes, although sterling has now recovered to trade pretty flat.

09:17 AM

Money round-up

Here are some of the day’s top stories from the Telegraph Money team:

Investor newsletter REFERRAL (article)
Investor newsletter REFERRAL (article)

09:06 AM

HSBC and Goldman Sachs pause plans for office return – City A.M.

HSBC - TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images
HSBC - TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

HSBC and Goldman Sachs have put plans to get staff back into their offices on ice as the Government tightens restrictions, City A.M. reports.

The paper says:

HSBC said it will stop the return of so-called phase one teams to its UK offices, according to a memo issued yesterday. 

Critical workers who support customers in branches and those in a small number of open offices will continue to come into work, the lender said, but the majority of its staff would remain at home. 

In a staff memo seen by City A.M., Goldman Sachs also put plans to increase the number of staff returning to its London office on pause, but the US banking giant said it would “remain open” for those who “need to be in the office”.

08:47 AM

Sunak looking at wage ‘top-up’ scheme

Rishi Sunak - Ian Lamming/PA
Rishi Sunak - Ian Lamming/PA

The Treasury is working on plans for a successor to the furlough scheme to fend off a wave of unemployment in the autumn.

My colleague Russell Lynch reports:

The fresh restrictions announced by Boris Johnson on Tuesday – which could last as long as six months – were greeted with shock by sectors like hospitality still dependent on the £47bn scheme due to the lack of details on future support.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has warned of a “disaster” if the scheme comes to an abrupt halt at the end of October while Mr Johnson has said Chancellor Rishi Sunak will show “imagination” and “creativity” in protecting jobs. 

But work on the Treasury is under way looking at the possibility of the state subsidising the wages of workers able to work 50-60pc of their normal hours, according to the Financial Times. 

Economic Intelligence newsletter SUBSCRIBER (article)
Economic Intelligence newsletter SUBSCRIBER (article)

08:32 AM

UK rebound loses steam

 Just in: Britain’s economic rebound lost steam this month, with purchasing managers’ index readings falling across the board.

The UK’s readings (where a score above 50 indicates growth) were:

  • Services: 55.1 (est. 55.9)

  • Manufacturing: 54.3 (est. 54)

  • Composite (a weighted balance of the two): 55.7 (est. 56.1)

More follows… 

08:24 AM

JP Morgan to shift €200bn in assets from UK to Germany – Bloomberg

JP Morgan - TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
JP Morgan - TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

US investment banking giant JP Morgan is shifting about €200bn in assets from the UK to Frankfurt due to brexit, Bloomberg reports. The move will make it one of Germany’s biggest banks.

The news service reports:

The US bank plans to finish the migration of the assets to its Frankfurt-based subsidiary by the end of the year, people familiar with the matter said. The change could boost its balance sheet enough to become the country’s sixth-largest bank, based on the assets of the biggest commercial lenders last year.

08:12 AM

Eurozone ekes out moderate growth as services stalls

The results were slightly foreshadowed by France and Germany’s performances, but the eurozone-wide flash PMIs confirm that the bloc’s services sector recovery has apparently stalled.

The eurozone’s readings (where a score above 50 indicates growth) were:

  • Services: 47.6 (est. 50.6)

  • Manufacturing: 53.7 (est. 51.9)

  • Composite (a weighted balance of the two): 50.1 (est. 51.9)

Overall, those readings are likely to disappoint investors, with consistently better-than-expected manufacturing readings not enough to offset the services slowdown. The composite reading represents the narrowest growth possible.

IHS Markit, which gathered the data, said:

Business activity stalled across the eurozone in September, albeit with increasingly divergent trends by sector and country. Faster growth of manufacturing, led by Germany, was offset by a renewed downturn in the service sector, which was often linked to resurgent [Covid-19] infection rates.

A net loss of jobs continued to be reported, though the rate of payroll reduction eased, notably in manufacturing, thanks in part to improved future expectations. Price pressures meanwhile moderated during the month. 

Chris Williamson, IHS Markit’s chief business economist, said:

The eurozone’s economic recovery stalled in September, as rising COVID-19 infections led to a renewed downturn of service sector activity across the region.

A two-speed economy is evident, with factories reporting that production growth was buoyed by rising demand, notably from export markets and the reopening of retail in many countries, but the larger service sector has sunk back into decline as face-to-face consumer businesses in particular have been hit by intensifying virus concerns. 

07:56 AM

AA shares plunge as three suitors turns to one

AA  - REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo
AA - REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

Shares in roadside assistance company AA have slumped this morning after two potential buyers terminated talks with the company.

AA had risen strongly over recent weeks after revealing interest from three potential private equity suitors. Two of these – Centerbridge Partners and Platinum Equity – now say their discussions with the group’s management have ended by mutual agreement.

Now, only TowerBrook Capital Partners is still in discussions, with a September 29th deadline to make an offer.

AA has substantial levels of debt – according to Bloomberg data, it had a market capitalisation of about £180m as of 8:30am, but total debt of around £2.8bn.

07:40 AM

German services sector slows as manufacturing boom continues

Germany’s flash PMIs offer a slightly brighter picture than France’s. After taking a little longer to regain momentum, the manufacturing sector in Europe’s biggest economy appears to be performing strongly, with its top reading in more than two years.

In a troubling development, however, the services sector returned to contraction territory – pulling the overall, composite reading to a three-month low.

Germany’s readings (where a score above 50 indicates growth) were:

  • Services: 49.1 (est. 53)

  • Manufacturing: 56.6 (est. 52.5)

  • Composite (a weighted balance of the two): 53.7 (est. 54)

IHS Markit said:

[The data] showed a further increase in German business activity in September, driven by a sharp rise in manufacturing production. However, the overall pace of growth eased for the second month in a row amid a slight setback in activity across the service sector.

On the employment front, the survey showed workforce numbers falling modestly and at the slowest rate for seven months, as businesses reported increased optimism towards the outlook.

IHS Markit economist Phil Smith said:

While latest PMI data shows German economic output continuing to rise in September, it highlights a growing divergence in trends between manufacturing and services…

Rising numbers of coronavirus cases have coincided with a drop in confidence among service providers, while manufacturers appear to be shaking off any worries about the potential for further restrictions domestically or abroad, with confidence among goods producers improving to the highest for more than two-and-half years.

07:28 AM

French business activity falls

France’s composite purchasing managers’ index – a gauge of activity in the services and manufacturing sectors – has fallen into contraction territory, in a worrying sign for the eurozone’s recovery.

The ‘flash’ PMI readings, released this morning, reflect private companies’ responses on whether business has improved or got worse compared to the prior month. France’s readings (where a score above 50 indicates growth) were:

  • Services: 47.5 (est. 51.5)

  • Manufacturing: 50.9 (est. 50.6)

  • Composite (a weighted balance of the two): 48.5 (est. 51.9)

Although manufacturing was strong than expected, that services miss is likely to cause worries. It’s the first time overall French business activity has dropped in four month.

IHS Markit, which gathered the data, said:

The fresh downturn was predominantly driven by a solid reduction in activity at services firms, while manufacturers recorded a slightly faster output expansion than in August. The contraction in aggregate business activity came amid a modest reduction in new work.

The result marked the first deterioration in demand for three months, with the rate of decline accelerating to the quickest since May. New orders fell in both monitored sectors, albeit at a quicker pace among service providers.

Companies continued to cut staffing numbers, while a fall in new orders meant many burned through back orders instead.

IHS Markit economist Eliot Kerr said:

The sharp rise in COVID-19 cases recorded across France during September helped to explain the first fall in business activity since May. August data had already pointed to a slowdown in the recovery but now the path towards pre-coronavirus levels of activity has gone into reverse.

07:10 AM

Market moves

European market have opened solidly higher, although they still have some distance left to climb to recover from Monday’s sharp sell-off. 

Bloomberg TV - Bloomberg TV
Bloomberg TV - Bloomberg TV

07:04 AM

SSP warns of ‘considerable job losses’

Travel food outlet owner SSP – which owns brands including Upper Crust – said it had been forced to restructure and undertake “considerable job losses” as a result of the pandemic.

In a trading update cover the period from April to September, the group said sales are likely to be at the lower end of its expected range, down 86pc compared to last year (equivalent to a £1.3bn hit).

Offset partially by cost savings, its operating profit are expected to land roughly in the middle of its previously estimated range (a loss of £180m to £250m).

Simon Smith, its chief executive, said:

Covid-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact on the travel industry and on SSP's businesses in all geographies.

The FTSE 250 group said it had seen a small improvement in weekly sales figures, which are currently running about 76pc below 2019 level – compared to 95pc lower in April and May.

It said this improvement had been driven mainly by continental Europe, including a comparatively strong recovery for the French and Germany rail industries.

Across SSP’s operations, around a third of its units have reopened – a faster pace than anticipated at its interim results in June.

It didn’t give specifics on the scale of job losses, but said:

Whilst the decision to implement redundancies across the Group is extremely regrettable, it has been a necessary step to protect the business and preserve cash in the near term.

06:46 AM

Pound touches lowest since July 23rd

The strengthening dollar – a sign of market nerves –has put pressure on the pound, which dropped to as little as as $1.268 this monring – its lowest price since July 23rd.

Adding to pressure on the currency, foreign secretary Domininc Raab this morning told Sky News that a full second lockdown couldn’t be ruled out, and pushed back against suggestions chancellor Rishi SUnak will pursue a wholesale extension of the furlough scheme.

06:22 AM

FTSE set to open higher

Good morning.  The FTSE 100 is tipped to open higher as the UK braces for the prospect of tighter coronavirus restrictions. Markets drifted overnight as the US dollar rose to a two-month high on persistent worries about the global economic recovery.

5 things to start your day 

1) The Government is under growing pressure to support businesses affected by new coronavirus restrictions. 

2) Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office Minister, has warned that up to 7,000 trucks could face two-day queues at Dover after Brexit. 

3) Pubs in Dublin, many of which remain closed even after the longest shut-down in Europe, complain of a "lack of trust" from authorities.  

4) Tesla promises $25,000 car in three years: Elon Musk says that there is not a long term future for internal combustion engine cars. 

5)  Chad Rigetti, the man behind the UK's first quantum computer, on his hopes that the reality can finally match the hype

What happened overnight 

Asian markets were mostly lower on Wednesday as investors kept a wary eye on how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the economic outlook.

Stocks slipped Wednesday in Japan, Hong Kong and Seoul but rose in Sydney after the government reported retail sales fared better than expected.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.6pc to 23,220.33, reopening after a four-day weekend, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong edged 0.1pc lower, to 23,700.69. South Korea's Kospi sank 0.8pc to 2,313.86. Shares fell in Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan but rose in Jakarta.

The Shanghai Composite index inched up 0.1pc to 3,275.87. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.5pc to 5,871.90 after the government said retail sales fell 4.2pc from the month before in August, much less than the 11pc forecast, Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

Coming up today

  • Interim results: Staffline, Ten Entertainment

  • Full-year: PZ Cussons

  • Trading statement: Halma, SSP Group

  • Economics: Flash PMIs (UK, Japan, eurozone, US); Q2 GDP final reading (Spain)