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British Supermarkets Confront Their German Discounting Demons

LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Britain’s big supermarkets say they have never been more competitive on price, yet their customers are still flocking to German-owned discount stores Aldi and Lidl.

And the discounters’ supermarket sweep still has a long way to run, industry executives say, with Aldi UK CEO Giles Hurley pledging Britain’s lowest prices “no matter what”.

That is forcing Britain’s major players – market leader Tesco (TSCO.L), Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L), Asda and Morrisons – to cut more costs so they can keep a lid on prices and cling on to shoppers who have been hit by a cost of living crisis.

Full coverage: REUTERS

Oil Falls On Worries Interest Rates Will Rise More And Curb Fuel Demand

Feb 22 (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a third trading session on Wednesday on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will indicate later in the day that interest rates are set to rise more, stoking concerns of lower global economic growth and demand for fuel.

Brent crude futures for April delivery fell 30 cents to $82.75 a barrel by 0721 GMT after recording a 1.2% decline on Tuesday. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for April dropped by 38 cents to $75.98 a barrel. The March WTI contract expired on Tuesday down 18 cents.

Full coverage: REUTERS

Asia Equities Fall On Fear Of Hawkish Central Bank Hikes

HONG KONG, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Asian stocks slid to a 47-day low on Wednesday as heightened outlooks for interest rates and geopolitical tensions weighed on risky assets.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) fell 1.02%, touching its lowest since Jan. 6.

Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) was down 1.32%, in its the worst performance in about a month following a Tuesday purchasing managers’ index report showing the factory sector had contracted.

Full coverage: REUTERS

Lloyds Full-Year Profit Flat As Bad Loan Charge Weighs

LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) reported flat annual profit for 2022 on Wednesday, as a jump in income driven by higher interest rates was offset by mounting bad loan provisions.

Britain’s biggest mortgage lender reported pretax profit of 6.9 billion pounds ($8.4 billion), unchanged on the prior year and in line with analyst forecasts compiled by the bank.

The bank announced it would pay a 1.6 pence per share final dividend and a share buyback of up to 2 billion pounds, taking total shareholder returns for 2022 up to 3.6 billion pounds.

Full coverage: REUTERS

Morning Bid: Not If Or When But How Fast?

A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Anshuman Daga:

Is it really good news? Probably yes, probably not.

Economies from the United States to Germany to Britain are showing an unexpected pick-up in business activity, but markets are again giving a thumbs-down to these indicators.

Just as inflation once again becomes the biggest pain point for investors after they conveniently put away such worries last month, strong growth cements the case for higher interest rates.

Full coverage: REUTERS

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Industry Dynamics

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