Helen Nugent

Brexit, HSBC, energy and pensions

Some gloomy news this morning as toy manufacturers and brewers announce price hikes to their products. The Guardian reports that the price of some toys, including Lego and Peppa Pig merchandise, could increase by up to 15 per cent as a result of the plunging pound. Natasha Crookes, spokeswoman for the British Toy and Hobby Association, said most UK toy makers, who typically design products in Britain but have them manufactured and imported from east Asia, had managed to contain price rises until now. Meanwhile, Heineken and Carlsberg have become the latest beer makers to raise prices, following MolsonCoors – maker of the UK’s most popular beer, Carling – and ABInBev, whose stable of brands includes Budweiser. According to The Guardian, brewers have signalled that far larger Brexit-related rises are on the horizon. In other Brexit news, ThisisMoney reports that US bank Citigroup will move some jobs out of London to a rival European financial centre because of Brexit.

James Cowles, Citigroup’s chief executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the bank had been in talks with governments and regulators in different countries, including Ireland, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Swiss bank Credit Suisse has also confirmed it is considering a number of European cities.

HSBC HSBC will close a further 62 bank branches in the UK in 2017, the BBC reports.

The news follows a Which? report at the end of last year which found that HSBC closed the most branches in 2015 and 2016. HSBC said the plans brought its ‘branch restructuring programme’ to an end.

BT The Telegraph reports on a story which has been dominating business news for the past few days: BT’s accounting scandal in Italy. Yesterday BT endured its worst ever day as a public company as investors punished the company for revealing a deterioration in its UK public sector and corporate business alongside the details of improper accounting by its Italian business.

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