Violet Hudson

Money digest: today’s need-to-know financial news | 27 April 2016

Money digest: today’s need-to-know financial news | 27 April 2016
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Asda shoppers need to be careful when picking up a so-called bargain from the supermarket giant’s shelves: the chain has been warned by the Competition and Markets Authority not to mislead customers with ‘confusing price promotions’ according to the BBC. From now on, multi-buy offers will represent better value than single-buy, and ‘was’ prices will have to be on the shelf longer than ‘now’ prices. Richard Lloyd, of Which? magazine, which investigated the supermarket, said ‘Asda has been found breaking the rules and now must immediately clean up their act.’

The Guardian reports that Britain’s growth will have slowed in the last quarter from 0.6 per cent to 0.4 per cent when GDP figures are released later today. The Chancellor George Osborne blames referendum uncertainty.

The World Bank warns that commodity prices will remain low compared to last year, but has upped its forecast for global oil prices by 10 per cent. Having thought in January that oil would average $37 a barrel in 2016, the World Bank now posits $41 as likely due to ‘improving sentiment and a weakening dollar’. The Telegraph reports that oversupply has flooded and thus crippled the oil market. And the same is true for other industrial commodities: energy, metals and agricultural raw materials.

Vodafone customers beware: a scam charging for missed calls from 0845 or 0843 numbers is stinging customers for up to £300. The swindle, reported by the Daily Mail, sees a mysterious number ringing Vodafone customers’ mobiles. Even when they don’t pick up, they get a bill saying they have called the number back – with some calls alleged to have lasted up to 12 hours. ‘We have taken proactive measures to ensure none of the customers affected are out of pocket’ said a spokesperson for Vodafone. 'As this is an industry-wide issue, we are working with Ofcom and other operators to identify and close down this issue as soon as we can.'

It had to happen. After all, how much difference can there be in the technologies to suck in air and blow out air? Thus Dyson, of vacuum fame, launches a hairdryer. The Daily Telegraph calls the £299 gadget a ‘labour of love’ for creator, billionaire Sir James Dyson. ‘At Dyson we develop products to solve problems,’ he said. ‘It isn’t about making a quick buck.’ Conventional hairdryers cost around £25.

Have we reached peak Apple? It seems that customers may have hit saturation point with the tech giant’s products: one in two smart phones sold in America is an iPhone. But without a groovy new product to tempt back existing customers, Apple is seeing its sales wane. This quarter they were down 13 per cent to a rather feeble $50.6 billion. According to the New York Times, Apple’s chief executive Timothy D Cook said ‘This, too, shall pass… The future of Apple is very bright.’ Perhaps: but without a new product, and with limited influence in China, Apple can only see its sales decline. Still, when you happily crib slogans from Sufi poets and Orange ad campaigns, perhaps innovation isn’t top of your list.