Thursday, February 2

Heathrow says it needs 25,000 more staff; Barclays beats forecasts with £2bn profits – business live | currencies


Introduction: Heathrow says it needs 25,000 more staff; Barclays beats forecasts with £2bn profits

Good morning, and welcome to our live, rolling coverage of business, economics and financial markets.

Heathrow has warned that a cap on passenger numbers could be reintroduced on some of the busiest days to avoid travel chaos over Christmas.

Europe’s busiest airport also admitted it is still 25,000 staff short to cope with passenger numbers at peak times.

The airport operator, which on 30 October is due to lift the current 100,000 passenger per day cap introduced during the summer holiday travel chaos, said it was in talks with airlines over a cap on “peak days in the lead up to Christmas”. It explained:

We are working with airlines to agree to a highly targeted mechanism that, if needed, would align supply and demand on a small number of peak days in the lead up to Christmas. This would encourage demand into less busy periods, protecting the heavier peaks, and avoiding flight cancellations due to resource pressures.

Speaking on BBC radio 4’s Today programme, Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said:

We don’t want to have a cap at all, we want to get back to full capacity as soon as possible. The reason for having a cap is to make sure we keep supply and demand in balance. It was absolutely the right thing to do over the summer.

It’s been a better summer than people had expected. The service was much better than people expected, almost back to 2019 levels, based on the feedback people give us. The passenger numbers were also better and we went from being one of the quietest airports in Europe to the busiest airport in Europe. Unfortunately we are still loss making but I hope if we can get the right regulatory settlement that can change. But it’s not been easy, it’s definitely been challenging.

A number of banks have reported bumper profits for the three months to the end of September. Barclay’s has made a pretax profit of £2bn for the third quarter, up 6% from a year earlier, while analysts had expected a dip to £1.8bn. Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank, smashed market expectations with a net profit of €1.1bn for the third quarter. London-based Standard Charteredwhich focuses on Asia, has also reported better-than-expected profits, of $1.4bn, up 40%.

Higher income helped offset the £381m Barclays put aside to deal with potential defaults, as it prepared itself for a potential rise in bad debts, as customers struggle with soaring food and energy bills. The bank said:

Delinquencies remained below historical levels and coverage levels have been broadly maintained at the portfolio level in light of an uncertain macroeconomic backdrop. The deteriorating macroeconomic forecast resulted in an increased charge, partially offset by consuming economic uncertainty post-model adjustments, which were established in prior periods in anticipation of the future deterioration, which is now captured within the modeled output.

Yesterday the FTSE 100 was hit by HSBC putting aside $1.1bn to protect itself against potential defaults in the third quarter, more than expected.

Asian stock markets have moved cautiously higher, with Japan’s Nikkei rising 0.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 0.4%.

In the US, the Nasdaq closed 2.25% higher on Tuesday, despite disappointing numbers from Google owner Alphabet. Revenue fell below analysts’ expectations in the third quarter, as it continues to battle an industry-wide tech slowdown.

Michael Hewson sums up Tuesday’s action on Wall Street.

The Nasdaq 100 led last night’s gains for US stocks, with a third successive positive daily close, however there was still some apprehension around the results from microsoft and Google owner Alphabet, both of whom closed higher, not only around how much of a slowdown we might see in their latest quarterly numbers, but also what sort of outlook these big two tech giants would paint.

In any event it was a mixed bag with Alphabet missing expectations, while Microsoft managed to outperform, however the shares of both still slid back after hours, although this weakness doesn’t look set to weigh unduly on today’s European open, due to strong gains in Asian markets.

The miss from Alphabet was less of a surprise given the slowdown seen in Snap’s numbers last week, with misses across all of its core businesses.

Agenda

  • 10am BST: UK 7-year Treasury gilt auction

  • 12pm BST: US MBA mortgage applications for week of 21 October

  • 1.30pm BST: US trade for September

  • 3pm BST: Bank of Canada interest rate decision (forecast: 75bps hike to 4%)

  • 3pm BST: US New home sales for September


www.theguardian.com

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