Good morning. We’ll get data for UK growth during March at 7am, which will complete the Office for National Statistics’ estimates for the first quarter of the year.
The consensus is for a 1.7pc quarter-on-quarter fall, showing the UK economy re-entered a contraction amid widespread restrictions. Still, the drop will be far smaller than initially feared.
Alongside growth, we’ll also get trade data, which is expected to show a continued recovery in UK exports during March.
Later on, however, is the big event: US inflation data, which will confirm whether the world’s biggest economy is heating up at a fast enough rate to cause concern.
5 things to start your day
1) Inflation threat sparks global stock market sell-off: FTSE 100 falls 175 points as investors await crucial price data from the US today amid fears world’s biggest economy is overheating.
2) New concern over HS2 leg to Leeds: Campaigners have urged the PM not to abandon a high-speed rail link leg to Leeds after the Queen’s Speech stoked fresh fears it could be axed.
3) Activists sue Government over North Sea oil and gas drilling: Climate campaigners have launched a High Court battle against the Government over its support for North Sea oil and gas drilling.
4) Goldman banker ‘quits after making millions from Dogecoin’: Aziz McMahon resigned after benefiting from the joke digital currency’s meteoric growth this year surpassing that of any other cryptocurrency.
5) How Hitachi’s plan to replace UK’s train fleet went off the rails: The cracks discovered on the Japanese company’s Azuma trains are the latest in a litany of problems.
What happened overnight
Asian shares fell for a second straight session on Wednesday to one-month lows as investors speculated surging commodity prices and growing inflationary pressure in the US could lead to earlier rate hikes and higher bond yields globally.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan faltered 0.5pc, after tumbling 1.6pc on Tuesday for its biggest daily percentage drop since March 24.
At 682 points, the regional index is not too far from a record high of 745.89 touched in February and is still up 3pc this year so far, on top of a 19pc jump in 2020 and a near 16pc rise in 2019.
Shares in China opened in the red, with the blue-chip index off 0.2pc.
Australian stocks slipped 0.6pc while South Korea’s KOSPI index skidded 0.7pc. Japan’s Nikkei reversed early gains to be down 0.4pc.
Analysts, however, doubted the sell-off would extend much further in a world of easy accommodative policy and fiscal largesse.
Coming up today
Corporate: Investec (Full year); Compass Group, Tui, Airtel Africa (Interim results); Coca-Cola HBC, National Express, Marshalls, TI Fluid Systems, Spirax- Sarco (Trading update)
Economics: Trade balance, industrial, manufacturing and construction output, GDP (UK), consumer price index (Ger), industrial production (EU)