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Foreign exchange services

travel money lloyds

Foreign exchange

Move money between different currencies and make international payments.

Our foreign exchange services allow you to move money between different currencies.

You should be aware of the potential risks of foreign exchange rates changing.

If you convert your money back to the original currency you may incur a loss as a result of our foreign exchange margins and movements in the market.

I'd like to see:

International money transfers

Lloyds Bank International Foreign Exchange services (One-off transfers)

Make international payments online or by phone.

  • Sending money to friends and family abroad.
  • Paying your mortgage or local bills.
  • Send and receive money internationally for free.
  • Transfer money between your currency accounts.
  • All major currencies available.

Need to know

  • You need to have a current or savings account with us to use this service.
  • Correspondent and recipient bank charges may apply.
  • The amount received will vary as the exchange rate fluctuates constantly.
  • Penalties may apply, dependent on account withdrawal restrictions.
  • Where payments involve moving money from one currency to another and the exchange rate has not been booked. Changes in rates of exchange may occur and cause the value of the payment to go up or down.

Money transfer service

Spot Foreign Exchange

Make international payments and exchange one currency for another at the current exchange rate.

  • Transferring money straight away in different currencies.
  • Buying goods online in different currencies.
  • Charges may apply, dependent on account withdrawal restrictions.

Transfer one currency to another

Regular Currency Plan

Lloyds Bank International Foreign Exchange services (Regular transfers)

  • An efficient way of making regular currency exchange transfers.
  • Making overseas mortgage payments.
  • Paying a currency salary back to your home country.
  • Payments to relatives overseas.
  • Regular transfers with foreign exchange.
  • No commission charges.
  • No minimum transfer required.
  • No charges for making international payments online or by phone.

Regular currency exchange transfers

Limit Order Foreign Exchange

Lloyds Bank International Foreign Exchange services (Future transfers)

Place an order to exchange your money when an agreed target rate is struck.

  • The rate you want to achieve is not currently available.
  • A transfer is not needed immediately.
  • Set a target exchange rate for your transaction.
  • Arrange a conversion to the required currency when the rate reaches a certain level.
  • £100,000 minimum order  or currency equivalent.
  • Only available to Premier Banking customers.

Future money transfers service

From the UK call:

03457 449900

Outside the UK, call:

+44 (0) 1539 736626

Our automated services are available 24/7.  If you need to speak to an adviser not all Telephone Banking services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Contact us for contact numbers and opening times which may vary depending on the service that you require.  

There may be limits on payments you can make and we may not be able to start processing all payments instructed out of normal banking hours. Calls may be monitored and recorded in case we need to check we have carried out your instructions correctly and to help us improve our quality of service. Call costs may vary depending on your service provider.

Is international banking for you?

Check you're eligible by answering a few questions

International current accounts

Current accounts available in Sterling, Euro and US Dollar

Help and guidance on how to transfer money overseas.

Maximise your holiday money

Compare exchange rates, find local currency bureaux and get the best deal on your foreign exchange

Travel Money

Currency buyback, currency cards, money transfers.

Whether you're looking to buy currency for an upcoming holiday, exchange leftover currency back to pounds, or send money to an account overseas; our currency comparisons can save you money by showing you the best deals available right now from the UK's biggest foreign exchange providers

Get the best exchange rate

From Argentine pesos to Vietnamese dong; get the best travel money deal by comparing the exchange rates, fees and commission from the UK's top currency brands.

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Travel money

We partner with Eurochange, the foreign exchange experts to provide this service.  Your order and payment details will be processed by Eurochange.  Together, we have over 65 years of specialist foreign exchange expertise.

On this page

travel money lloyds

Why choose NatWest travel money?

Choose from over 70 currencies including Euros, US Dollars and Turkish Lira

Competitive rates and no hidden fees

 Collect from one of travel money provider Eurochange branches

Order now and collect from a Eurochange branch in as little as 60 seconds

About travel money

travel money lloyds

How do you buy travel money?

Foreign currency is usually sold by a currency exchange company, also known as a bureau de change. These companies specialise in exchanging one currency for another, offering rates of exchange based on the changing international money market.

Modern currency exchanges typically offer the option to buy currency online. At NatWest, we’ve partnered with Eurochange to offer online and telephony currency ordering with convenient options for home delivery or branch collection.

How can I order travel money?

It’s easy, quick and secure to order your currency online with us.

Via the NatWest mobile app

Just click on your account, look for Manage My Card, then Going Abroad and click Order Travel Money.

By telephone

If you would prefer to order your currency over the phone, or if you have any questions about our travel money service, you can speak to one of our team on 0330 174 8523 (Relay UK 18001 0330 174 8523).

Lines are open Monday to Saturday 9am until 5pm and Sunday 11am until 4pm (except bank holidays).

Next day delivery available when ordered before 2:30pm on the previous day. If ordered on a Saturday, delivery will be the following Monday. Free delivery on orders over £500, otherwise a £5 delivery fee applies.

Why order with us?

Minimum order amount

Maximum order amount

Exchange rate commission

Delivery charges

(free for orders over £500)

We're here to help

If you would rather order your currency over the phone, or if you have any questions about our travel money service, you can speak to one of our team on  0330 174 8523 (Relay UK 18001 0330 174 8523) .

travel money lloyds

Any leftovers?

Found some leftover holiday money while unpacking your suitcase? If you are a customer with us, you can visit one of our NatWest branches where we will buy back your foreign currency and credit the GBP amount directly to your bank account.

What can I exchange as a branch buy back?

We only accept bank notes, not coins. We also can't accept bank notes that are damaged, out of circulation or due to be going out of circulation in the next 6 months.

We accept most major currencies, but we can't buy back every single currency as there're restrictions in place on certain currencies. For example, we can’t accept currencies that have been replaced by the euro and we can’t buy currency from countries that operate a closed currency.

travel money lloyds

Visit a Eurochange branch

Use our handy branch locator to decide which Eurochange branch you could collect your travel money from. With over 190 Eurochange branches nationwide and currency collection available in as little as 60 seconds after your order, it’s a convenient way to grab your cash quickly.

What currency do you need?

travel money lloyds

What currency do you need for Europe?

Many members of the European Union use the euro. You may see the euro referred to as EUR or using the € symbol. 

Travelling to a European country and not sure if it uses the euro? You can check this list on the European Union website .

travel money lloyds

What currency do you need for America?

The dollar is the official currency of the United States of America. It might be referred to as USD or using the $ symbol.

It is used in all its member states. You can order dollars from us by clicking below.

travel money lloyds

What currency do you need for Dubai?

As a city within the United Arab Emirates, the official currency used in Dubai is the dirham.

You may see it labelled as AED. Order dirham for delivery or collection today.  

travel money lloyds

Choose from more than 70 currencies

Travelling somewhere else? We offer more than 70 currencies including Japanese yen, Turkish lira, and Australian dollar – all available for delivery or collection.

travel money lloyds

Need some reassurance?

Choosing the right amount of travel money for your trip.

You can order up to £2500 of foreign currency.  Remember, you must declare to UK customs when taking £10,000 outside of the country.

Collect your currency in 60 seconds

Dashing for the airport for a last minute break or business trip? Order online or by telephone and your order will be ready to collect in a Eurochange branch in as little as 60 seconds later.

Convenient payment options

We take security seriously. Online and telephone payments can be made securely by debit or credit card.

Sell back unused currency

If you’re a customer of NatWest, we’ll buy back your unused currency and credit the amount directly to your current account.

travel money lloyds

Want to use an alternative?

Prefer plastic to paper? You can use your NatWest debit card abroad and some of our current accounts don’t charge any transaction fees. Withdraw cash from international ATMs, use chip and pin or even contactless.

Our guide to using your card abroad

Try our card currency calculator and you could get a clearer picture of your conversion rates and charges while using your debit, credit or savings card abroad.

Calculate your conversion rates

Frequently asked questions

Orders and delivery, can i change the date of my delivery.

Unfortunately, the date of your delivery can’t be changed once your order has been placed. 

If you need further help please get in touch with one of the team on  0330 174 8523  (Relay UK 18001 0330 174 8523) . Lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm.

What ID do I need to collect my order?

Collection is available from our travel money partner Eurochange’s branches only. Please note that orders  cannot  be collected from NatWest branches.

When you collect your order from one of the Eurochange branches please bring the following:

1.  The payment card used. (Please note that Eurochange reserve the right to PIN authenticate the payment card through the till. There is no additional charge for a PIN verification) 2. The confirmation email for your order

3. One of the following forms of identification: Passport Photo card driving license National ID card

Unfortunately, Eurochange are unable to accept any other forms of identification other than those listed and we're not able to release orders to anyone else other than the cardholder. 

Can I choose where my travel money is delivered?

For security reasons, all home delivery orders must be delivered to your credit/debit card billing address.

Buy back and returns

What should i do if my trip has been cancelled.

If your holiday plans have changed or your trip has been cancelled, give us a call to see how we can help. 

You can speak to the team at  0330 174 8523 (Relay UK 18001 0330 174 8523).  Lines are open Monday to Saturday 9am until 5pm Sunday 11am until 4pm.

What can I exchange?

We only accept bank notes, not coins.

We don’t exchange bank notes that are damaged, out of circulation or due to be going out of circulation in the next 6 months.

We’re unable to accept any legacy currencies from countries now using the Euro. 

Can I order currency in Branch?

No.  This service is no longer available at any of our Branches.

Is there something else you're looking for?

travel money lloyds

Lloyds Bank: Foreign Currency Exchange, International Money Transfer & ATM Fees explained

travel money lloyds

Co-Founder of Monito and money transfer expert, François has been helping Monito’s users navigate the jungle of money transfer fees, bad exchange rates and tricks for the last ten years.

Links on this page may earn us an affiliate commission. This does not affect the opinions and recommendations of our editors.

Travelling or sending money abroad? Discover Lloyds Bank's fees for International Wire Transfers, Currency Exchange and for using your credit or debit card abroad (incl. ATM fees). You'll learn how to save money and how to make smarter decisions about currency exchange.

Lloyds Bank international money transfer - all you need to know

Lloyds Bank is a large, international bank headquartered in the United Kingdom. The bank allows customers to make international money transfers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, although transfers will only be processed during normal business hours. Lloyds Bank has generous international money transfer limits of £100,000 a day and you can send money online, at a Lloyds branch or over the telephone.

Lloyds Bank also stores details of anyone you send money to, making it easy to send repeat international money transfers. Although they provide a range of comprehensive money transfer services, Lloyds Bank exchange rates are poor, meaning you’ll pay much more in hidden fees than if you used a dedicated money transfer provider.

What are the international money transfer fees and exchange rates for Lloyds Bank?

Lloyds Bank lists the fees it charges to make international currency transfers. Making an international transfer from your account will cost £9.50 to send the money. You or the recipient will also need to pay a “Correspondent Bank Fee,” as follows:

  • The U.S., Canada and Europe outside the EEA: £12
  • Everywhere else: £20

Lloyds Bank says, “If you share the payment charges with the recipient, you will only pay our £9.50 Payment charge and the recipient will pay their bank’s charges and any agent bank charges that apply.” Note that the beneficiary’s bank may also charge them a fee to receive the money into their account.

Lloyds Bank also charges an exchange rate that it worse than the baseline, interbank exchange rate. The difference between the baseline exchange rate and the rate offered by Lloyds Bank, is listed on their website as follows:

  • International money transfer of 0 - £25,000: Exchange rate will be up to 3.2 percent worse
  • International money transfer of £25,000.01 - £75,000: Exchange rate will be up to 2.4 percent worse.
  • International money transfer of £75,000.01 - £250,000: Exchange rate will be up to 2 percent worse.
  • International money transfer of £250,000.01 and above: Exchange rate will be up to 1.5 percent worse.

Here’s how that works out in practice:

Sending £2,000 to France and exchanging to euros

  • The baseline, interbank exchange rate is 1 GBP to 1.13372 EUR
  • The exchange rate offered by Lloyds Bank is 1 GBP to 1.09730 EUR, 3.2 percent worse
  • This means that 2,000 GBP will convert to 2,267 EUR with the baseline rate, and 2,194 EUR with Lloyds Bank
  • When you also take into account the £9.50 fee, this means Lloyds Bank will charge you around 80 EUR / 70 GBP more than the baseline rate, a total of around 3.5 percent
  • This does not take into account correspondent bank fees

This is why it is generally not recommended to wire money internationally with Lloyds Bank if you’re looking for the cheapest way to send money abroad, but to compare all providers with Monito and find cheaper alternatives. Find out more with our complete guide on how banks and money transfer operators make money with hidden fees .

What are the international money transfer limits for sending money with Lloyds Bank?

Limits on how much you can send depend on the method you’re using:

  • Online: Send up to £100,000 per day
  • In branch: No maximum limit
  • Telephone Banking: Send up to £5,000

How long does a Lloyds Bank international money transfer take to arrive at the recipient bank?

Lloyds Bank has cutoff times for the latest you can instruct them to send an international money transfer, as follows:

  • Payment in euro made through a Lloyds branch or through telephone banking: No earlier than 2 p.m. and no later than 3 p.m., U.K. time
  • Payment in a currency other than euro made through one a Lloyds branch or through telephone banking: 3 p.m., U.K. time
  • Payment in any currency made through Internet Banking: 3 p.m., U.K. time

If you send money before the cutoff time, the transfer will start on that business day. If you make it after the cutoff time, the transfer will start on the next business day. Here’s how long Lloyds Bank says it will take to send the money to the beneficiary:

  • Payments in euro to another country in the European Economic Area (EEA), or to Monaco, Switzerland or San Marino: No later than the next business day
  • Any other currency to EU and EEA countries, or to North America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East and the Far East: Up to four business days
  • Any currency to any other country: Should take no longer than 14 business days

If you’re in a hurry, try finding the fastest way to send money abroad by comparing all international money transfer services with Monito .

How to make a Lloyds Bank international wire transfer?

Lloyds Bank allows you to make international money transfers in several ways:

In a Lloyds Bank branch

Visit your local branch, talk to a staff member and follow their instructions. You will need to bring identification documents, your bank account details and details of the beneficiary of the payment.

Through telephone banking

In the U.K., call Lloyds Bank on 0345 300 0000, outside the U.K., call them on 0173 334 7007. Once you are connected, complete your security checks and then follow the instructions of the Lloyds Bank customer service agent

Via Lloyds Bank online, internet banking

Log into the Lloyds internet banking service, choose make a payment and follow the instructions.

Recipient details

In all cases, you will need to provide details of the beneficiary who will receive the transfer into their bank account. You will need to provide:

  • Their name and address
  • The name and address of their bank
  • Their IBAN (International Bank Account Number) or account number or their BIC (Business Identifier Code) / SWIFT code / clearing code
  • You may also need to provide other information like the reason for the transfer and further details

What is Lloyds Bank’s SWIFT Code?

If someone needs to send you money from abroad, they’ll need a SWIFT Code .  The SWIFT Code for Lloyds Bank is: LOYDGB2L.

Which Lloyds Bank address and details should someone use when sending me money from abroad?

People from overseas can send money to your Lloyds Bank account in pounds or a foreign currency. Here are the instructions, provided by Lloyds Bank, on how to best receive money into your account:

  • How to send the payment - You must instruct the overseas bank to send funds via SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication).
  • Where to send the payment - Quote Lloyds Bank with the SWIFT code LOYDGB2L (Lloyds Bank is part of Lloyds Banking Group).
  • Account details you should use - Your account number, sort code of your account, your IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Business Identifier Code) of the account you want crediting. These are the same as your sort code and account number but in a format recognized abroad.
  • You can find your IBAN and BIC by logging on to Internet Banking, selecting an account from “Your Accounts” then clicking on the ‘Show IBAN / BIC’ link.

Lloyds Bank charges for electronic payments received from outside the UK, other than by SEPA credit transfer:

  • For payments of £100 or less: £2 fee
  • For payments of over £100: £7 fee

Note that these fees will not apply to payments in pounds received from a bank account within the EU to a Lloyds Bank Basic Account. If you are paid in a foreign currency, Lloyds Bank will use their own exchange rates and convert the amount into pounds before depositing it in your account.

What Monito Likes About Lloyds

  • If you’re a Lloyds Bank customer, you can send money easily
  • Lloyds Bank provides multiple options for sending money
  • There are generous limits on how much you can send
  • Secure transfer with a bank you already trust with your money

What Monito Dislikes About Lloyds

  • Super expensive international money transfers
  • Hidden fees in the currency exchange rate margin
  • Little visibility of the exchange rate applied to your transfer beforehand
  • You can only send money to a bank account
  • It takes up to 14 business days, depending on where you’re sending money

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Find the cheapest way to send money abroad

Lloyds bank currency exchange service.

If you’re travelling abroad and want to exchange your pounds to a foreign currency before your travel, Lloyds Bank allows you to convert your money.

  • You can get travel money delivered to your home or a Lloyds Bank branch by 1 p.m. the next working day if you order before 3 p.m.
  • There’s no delivery fee
  • Lloyds Bank also provides an instant travel money exchange service into euros and U.S. dollars in select branches
  • They do not charge a fee if you purchase from a Lloyds Bank current account

Note that If you use your credit card to order travel money, a cash advance fee may apply. You can order and pay online, at a Lloyds bank branch or over the phone. Remember that Lloyds Bank exchange rates are poor. You can find much better deals, and pay much less, by comparing international money transfer providers .

Compare travel money services for any major currency

travel money lloyds

Using your Lloyds Bank credit card abroad

In general, the foreign fees applied for using your Lloyds Bank credit card abroad will depend on your credit card. You can compare the options on Lloyds Bank’s website or learn about innovative multi-currency cards here . Typically, Lloyds Bank charges a 2.99 percent foreign transaction fee on the total amount of money you spend in a foreign currency.

What are the fees for using Lloyds Bank credit or debit cards at an ATM abroad?

When you withdraw cash in a foreign currency outside the UK, at a cash machine or over the counter, Lloyds Bank charges a fee of 2.99 percent of the value of the withdrawal and an additional, fixed fee of £1.50.

What you need to know when withdrawing money/paying abroad?

The ATM or Point of Sale device will often ask you if you want to use your card’s currency (USD if you’re banking with Lloyds Bank) or the local currency (let’s say Euros if you’re in Paris).

What are the fees for paying in foreign currencies online or at a shop with Lloyds Bank credit or debit cards?

Using your debit card to make a purchase or other transaction in a foreign currency will attract a foreign transaction fee of  2.99 percent of the total value of the transaction and an additional foreign currency purchase fee of £0.50. You will not pay the £0.50 fee if you use a Platinum or Premier account debit card.

travel money lloyds

💡 Tip You always want to pay in the local currency! If you pay in your home currency (UK pounds), you’re getting a dynamic currency conversion (DCC) which is often a very bad rate ( we’ve seen 5-18% currency exchange margin).

Save money now and find the cheapest way to send money abroad

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A branch of Lloyds Bank in the City of London.

Lloyds to cut 1,600 jobs across branches in shift to online banking

Overhaul likely to raise concerns for UK bank’s 2m customers who rely on branches to manage accounts

Lloyds Banking Group is planning to cut 1,600 staff from its branch network as it tries to reduce costs and push customers towards digital services as part of a corporate overhaul.

The UK company said it was adapting to a shift in behaviour, with more than 21 million of its 26 million customers choosing to use its services online.

But the job cuts are likely to raise concerns for the 8% of Lloyds customers – about 2 million – who exclusively rely on going into branches to manage their accounts.

The bank will simultaneously create 830 jobs in its relationship growth team – amounting to an overall reduction of about 769 jobs – to provide a hybrid service of in-branch, video or phone appointments for customers. However, there is no guarantee that those new roles will be given to staff whose jobs are being cut.

Lloyds is closing about 114 branches this year, leaving a network of 1,061 sites. The staff cuts will be aimed at senior branch workers, with Lloyds maintaining its most junior roles.

The staff union, Accord, hopes most of the cuts will be on a voluntary redundancy basis, where workers ask to leave and receive some compensation, though it is likely to be offered only in some cases.

In November, Lloyds confirmed plans to slash nearly 3,000 roles from the wider business – excluding its branches – focusing on middle-management roles including analyst and product management posts. Again, the bank said it was creating thousands of positions that would ultimately result in a net 120 roles being added to its workforce.

The job cuts are part of a £3bn overhaul announced under the chief executive, Charlie Nunn, in early 2022 in an attempt to push further into digital banking, bulk up the corporate bank and wealth division, and strengthen Lloyds’ position as a UK landowner.

Commenting on the latest round of job losses, a Lloyds spokesperson said: “As more customers choose to manage their day-to-day banking online, it is important our people are available when it matters most. We are introducing a number of new roles and making changes to our branch teams so our customers can see us how and when they want to.”

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Accord said: “LBG announced significant changes to its branch network structure and ways of working, which it says are necessary because of changes in customer behaviour. The move represents a significant change to the branch networks and our members.”

  • Lloyds Banking Group

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UK house prices will not stop falling until 2025, Lloyds predicts

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Lloyds puts aside more than £400m for mortgage arrears as rates soar

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NatWest and Lloyds to axe a further 81 bank branches

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Lloyds accused of ‘stuffing bankers’ pockets’ as it proposes £9.1m CEO deal

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Russian Far East: top 10 experiences

Aug 10, 2018 • 6 min read

The limestone Lena Pillars are a popular cruise trip from Yakutsk © Vicky Ivanova / Shutterstock

The limestone Lena Pillars are a popular cruise trip from Yakutsk © Vicky Ivanova / Shutterstock

The Russian Far East has a mystique that’s been luring travellers for generations. With the volcanoes and geysers of Kamchatka, ancient stone pillars on the Lena River and some of the world’s coldest and remotest human settlements, as well as the cosmopolitan cities of Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, the region has something for everyone. Russia’s poignant past is present here too, from the BAM (Baikal-Amur Mainline) railway to the infamous Kolyma Highway that runs to Magadan, the most notorious outpost of the Far Eastern Gulag system.

Night falls over the suspension bridge across the Golden Horn Bay in Vladivostok © Ovchinnikova Irina / Shutterstock

Vladivostok

The ‘Master of the East’, a hip, dynamic city with an impressive setting in the Golden Horn Bay, Vladivostok is the unofficial capital of the Russian Far East and a cultural heavyweight in its own right. St Petersburg’s renowned Mariinsky Theatre has inaugurated the Primorsky Stage in the city in recent years, joining the new Hermitage Vladivostok branch and the stellar Zarya Centre for Contemporary Art as the city’s premier cultural attractions. Meanwhile, the S-56 Submarine , Fort No 7 and the Vladivostok Fortress Museum pay homage to the city’s background as Russia’s most important eastern naval base. Vladivostok’s dining scene is second only to Moscow and St Petersburg, and numerous cocktail bars and pubs attract night owls. If the frenetic pace is a little overwhelming, you can always escape to the beaches on Russky Island and Popov Island .

Right in the heart of the legendary Kamchatka peninsula, the little town of Esso is the jumping-off spot for some terrific hiking, soaking in the istochniki (hot springs) and rafting on the nearby Bystraya River. Charming  izbas (wooden cottages) sit in a pine-scented valley, surrounded by forested mountains. A well-marked network of hiking trails threads its way through the surrounding Bystrinsky Nature Park, ranging in difficulty and in length – the shortest is 2km, the longest 42km.

One of Kamchatka’s highlights, the steaming Valley of Geysers can be accessed only by helicopter © Alla / Shutterstock

Valley of Geysers, Kamchatka

Accessible only by a helicopter tour from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the smoking Dolina Geyzerov is the star attraction of  Kamchatka – the volcano- and geyser-studded peninsula that has the most dramatic, volatile topography in all of Russia. This 8km-long valley, bisected by the Geysernaya River, is dotted with several dozen geysers that sporadically blast steam, mud and water towards the sky. Some of the more colourful ones can be admired while strolling along a specially made boardwalk.

The remote capital of the Sakha Republic, Yakutsk is both the world’s coldest city and a marvel of Soviet engineering, built entirely on permafrost. Its tangle of overground pipes, carrying water and gas, is a peculiar sight, but Yakutsk is a surprisingly cosmopolitan place despite its isolation. A visit to the quirky  Permafrost Kingdom is particularly worthwhile, with its never-melting sculptures of pagan gods and mythological characters, while the National Art Museum introduces you to the mammoth tusk carvings and paintings by Sakha artists. The best places to try Sakha delicacies such as indigirka (raw, frozen fish), reindeer and zherebyatiny (colt fillet) are Chochur Muran and Makhtal restaurants.

Features - The signage of BAM railway, a marvel of engineering and an alternative to the Trans-Siberian Railway © Philip Lee Harvey / Lonely Planet

Riding the BAM railway

Stretching for some 4324km from Severobaikalsk (on the northern shores of Lake Baikal) to the Sea of Okhotsk, the BAM (Baikal-Amur Mainline) is a triumph of railway engineering (and convict labour) and the less-taken alternative to the Trans-Siberian Railway. With its bridges spanning the mighty Lena and Amur rivers, its tunnels blasted through kilometres of sheer rock, and its tracks running through dense spruce forest and taiga, riding the BAM is a wonderful way to get to know ordinary Russians. You might find yourself sharing a beer or hot tea and heaped spoons of caviar with miners or lumberjacks, who’ll be intensely curious about you. It’s worth disembarking in Tynda, where travel writer Dervla Murphy got stuck while writing Through Siberia by Accident, to visit the BAM Museum, and in Komsomolsk-na-Amure, to check out the grand Soviet-era mosaics and the riverside beach.

Some 650km east of Yakutsk, the tiny reindeer and silver fox breeding station of Oymyakon (population around 500) is the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth, with temperatures in the nearby valleys dropping as low as -82°C. Various travel agencies in Yakutsk, including Visit Yakutia , organise week-long tours to Oymyakon to attend the annual Pole of Cold Festival in late March, featuring reindeer races, outdoor concerts and other festivities.

The golden domes of the Transfiguration Cathedral in Khabarovsk are dazzling in the winter sunset © Konstantin Baidin / Shutterstock

Whether you come here in winter for the ice sculptures, or in summer for the lively nightlife and the Amur River beach, Khabarovsk is a breath of fresh air, especially if you’ve spent days cooped up on the train before getting here. Its wide boulevards are lined with stately, tsarist-era buildings (spot the Far Eastern State Research Library and the Tsentralny Gastronom), and there are numerous green walkways for strolling around the city, including those on Amursky bul and Ussuriysky bul. The burgeoning dining scene’s highlights are Georgian cuisine at Satsivi  and fusion at Farsh ; some good bars are dotted around the city centre, including the hipster Brozbar , with a good range of craft beer.

Magadan and Kolyma Highway

Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and hemmed in by the Sea of Okhotsk, Magadan is a surprisingly pleasant city, given its dark past. Described as the ‘pole of cold and cruelty’ in Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, it was the most notorious of the Stalinist forced labour camps from the 1930s to mid-1950s. The harsh sub-Arctic climate and dreadful work conditions are believed to have killed over a million prisoners in the Kolyma region, commemorated by the giant Mask of Sorrow monument on a hillside above Magadan, as well as at the Magadan Regional Museum . You can get here by air, or via the Russian Far East’s most ambitious road trip – a three- or four-day journey from Yakutsk by 6WD vehicle or truck along the Kolyma Highway, aka the ‘road of bones’, built on the backs of countless Gulag labourers.

The limestone Lena Pillars in the Sakha Republic are a popular cruise trip from Yakutsk © Vicky Ivanova / Shutterstock

Lena Pillars

The Russian Far East’s most popular cruise is the two-day jaunt from Yakutsk to the Lenskie Stolby (Lena Pillars) along the mighty Lena River. Resembling a petrified forest, the 80km-long, 35-million-year-old limestone pillars reach for the sky along the riverbank – a startling sight after you’ve spent many hours floating through impenetrable spruce forest. Lena Tur Flot  runs 36- and 46-hour cruises here aboard its two comfy cruise ships; you’ll even get to see a shaman ceremony.

Blagoveshchensk

A remote Russian outpost since 1644, this frontier town faces its rather more modern Chinese neighbour, Heihe, across the Amur River. However, it’s worth making the detour 110km south of the main Trans-Siberian Railway line to Blagoveshchensk to check out the charming tsarist-era architecture that dots the town centre; another highlight is the extensive  Amur Regional Museum . Blagoveshchensk is also one of the easiest places in Russia from which to enter China (though you’ll need to organise your visa in advance).

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HIGHLIGHTS & SIGHTSEEING IN KHABAROVSK

  • The City Tour along wooden and brick houses preserved from the time of the city’s founding will enable you to feel an unmistakable charm of Khabarovsk. The oldest Komsomolskaya Square houses the remarkable redbrick building dating 1901(now the Public Library). Splendid view of the St.Innokenty church – the first church built in the city. During the Stalin’s period, a well known GULAG Camp existed near the Ulakhan village which was located close the city.
  • The Archaeological Museum contains over 40,000 artifacts; among them, there are the world famous petrogliphs of Sikachi Alyan and cultural heritage of the Golden Empire of the Jurchen People.
  • The Art Museum possesses a unique collection of the Far Eastern aboriginal crafts and arts that includes fish skin outfits, beautiful carpets and bone engraved items. Some wonderful ancient Russian icons and paintings by famous Russian artists Ilya Repin, Ivan Shishkin and Isaac Levitan, as well as works by Western masters, such as Rembrandt, Rubens and Monet are exhibited in the Art Museum.
  • The Cruise along the Amur River is might be a beautiful journey within a live archeological museum. The riverside rocks make an unusual display of man-made carvings – petrogliphs that are the images of ancient cultural heritage of local ethnic groups. The Bolshekhetsirsky State Nature Preserve has conifer-broadleaved forests rich in typically virgin nature and genetic stock of organic life. In 30 miles to the southwest of the city, there is the Khekhtsir State Nature Reserve, a unique place where southern lianas, Manchurian walnuts grow side by side with evergreen conifers. Bears, foxes, wolves, elks and tigers could be watched occasionally there. The Badjal Range – one of the most picturesque parts of the Russian Far East with unique flora and fauna is abundant in sable, musk deer and bears.

Lloyds Bank to axe 1,600 jobs across branches

The lender has already said it will close more than 120 branches this year

Lloyds Bank will axe 1,600 jobs from its branch network as it shifts more deeply into online banking.

The lender has already announced it will close more than 120 branches over the course of this year as more of its customers switch to digital banking.

More than 21m of its customers bank online or through its mobile apps, with just 8pc using branches exclusively to manage their money.

Lloyds Banking Group spokesman said: “As more customers choose to manage their day-to-day banking online, it’s important our people are available when it matters most.”

Read the latest updates below.

Live Reporting

Related stories, signing off.

Thanks for joining us today. Chris will be back in the morning before the London Stock Exchange opens. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with news that John Lewis is poised to accelerate job cuts after slashing redundancy payouts. Hannah Boland reports:

John Lewis has paved the way for job cuts after telling staff it will halve redundancy payouts, making it cheaper to lay off workers. The employee-owned company told staff this week that it will cut redundancy pay to one week’s pay per year of service, saying its current two-week policy was “higher than typical market practice and comes at a very high cost”. John Lewis offers “partnership redundancy pay” on top of statutory redundancy pay which is set by the Government. In an internal memo on Thursday, the John Lewis Partnership said: “Against all of our competing priorities for investment, it’s fair to say that the high cost of redundancy pay has been one of the things that’s prevented us from moving as quickly as we’ve wanted to transform ourselves for the future, and has restricted our ability to invest more in pay.” John Lewis said it needed to make the policy “more affordable” in order to “free up cash”. It said most of its staff would never be affected by the changes, with redundancies a “last resort”. Workers who are there for shorter periods of time will benefit from higher redundancy payments under a separate policy shift.

Continue reading to find out what John Lewis partners are saying...

Sharon White, chair of John Lewis Partnership, has attempted to modernise the department store group

LVMH beats analysts’ expectations with 10pc rise in sales

Luxury goods group LVMH posted a 10pc rise in fourth quarter sales, as growth edged up from the previous quarter, driven by resilient demand - including in China - for its high end fashion labels over the all-important end-of-year period.

Sales at the world’s biggest luxury group, which owns labels including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Tiffany, came to nearly €24bn (£20bn) in the final three months of the year, stripping out currency fluctuations and acquisitions.

That was just ahead of analysts’ expectations for 9pc growth, according to a consensus cited by HSBC. Sales had grown by 9pc in the third quarter, and by 17pc in both the first and second quarters.

The most expensive luxury goods makers such as LVMH and Cartier-owner Richemont have shown the most resilience to a downturn in consumer spending. Rivals, which sell products at lower prices, such as Britain’s Burberry, have struggled.

“The highest-end products are those that have the highest demand in the world,” LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault told analysts, citing haute couture products from labels like Christian Dior and adding that he was happy with the group’s growth rate.

Mr Arnault said he was “very confident” about 2024.

Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The traditional Louis Vuitton shopper doesn’t flinch at inflation”. But she cautioned that entry-level luxury shoppers were facing pressure from high interest rates.

Drax seeks to become world leader in carbon capture

Drax, operator of the UK’s largest wood-burning power station, is planning a network of similar plants across the US and Canada. Jonathan Leake reports:

Expansion abroad will coincide with an increase in the production of wood pellets, as management wants to produce 8m tonnes of wood pellets a year by 2030, up from 5m now. The company says it wants to become a world leader in carbon capture, with its plan to burn more trees helping it to achieve “negative emissions”. This means it removes more CO2 from the air than it creates, although green activists claim Drax is destroying forests and costing consumers billions of pounds. Will Gardiner, Drax chief executive, said: “This marks another step in Drax’s journey to enable a zero-carbon, lower-cost energy future. “Our future is focused on playing a critical role in tackling climate change through the generation of secure, renewable power and the large-scale removal of carbon dioxide.” Drax, a FTSE 100 company, owns and operates a portfolio of electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. This includes Drax itself, the UK’s largest power station based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which generates 5pc of the country’s electricity.

Drax power station is pictured during the sunset in Drax, North Yorkshire

Footsie closes up

It was a pretty flat day on on the London Stock Exchange. The FTSE 100 closed up 0.03pc. The biggest riser was Intermediate Capital Group, up 8.58pc, followed by industrial equipment rental company Ashtead, up 6.83pc. The biggest faller was St James’s Place, down 4.38pc, followed by Hikma Pharmaceuticals, down 4.34pc.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 rose 0.27pc. Chemicals business Elementis was the biggest riser, up 12.10pc, followed by shoemaker Dr Martens, up 12.01pc. Trading platform IG Group dropped the most, down 7.61pc, followed by Close Brothers, down 5.90pc.

Banning large glasses of wine is ‘bonkers’, says Fuller's chief

Banning large glasses of wine in pubs to encourage people to drink less is a “complete codswallop” idea, the boss of Fuller’s has said. Daniel Woolfson has the story:

Simon Emeny, chief executive of the London-based pub company, said the suggestion that pubs should stop selling large measures of wine to “nudge” people into drinking less alcohol was misguided. He said: “We don’t go around people’s houses, measuring the size of their glasses at home. So it’s completely bonkers.” It comes after University of Cambridge scientists conducted a trial in 20 venues across the UK where the largest measure of wine – typically 250ml – was removed from menus.

Continue reading to hear more from the boss of Fuller’s...

Should a large glass of red be banned?

M&S poaches ad executive to overhaul app in battle with Tesco Clubcard

Marks & Spencer has poached a top advertising executive to help boost the use of its app among shoppers, as the retailer strives to rival Tesco’s Clubcard. Our retail editor Hannah Boland reports:

Rachel Higham has been appointed as M&S’ new chief digital and technology officer, taking a seat on the company’s executive committee after moving from WPP.  The hire comes as M&S looks to build out its technology capabilities. Stuart Machin, M&S chief executive, has already announced a review of its loyalty card programme, while he is also trying to encourage more customers to scan their Sparks cards when they shop. M&S is aiming to collect more data on its customers so it can give them a more personalised app experience. Tesco and Sainsbury’s have already achieved success doing this by monitoring customers’ shopping habits to help tailor individual loyalty card offers.  Tesco has more than 20m Clubcard users, while Sainsbury’s has 18m people using its Nectar cards.  Mr Machin last year said: “We have a lot to do on personalisation, it’s not where I want it to be. Only 20pc of customers get a personalised conversation with us.” He said he wanted to see investment in this area “accelerate in the next year or so”. M&S is also pushing to increase online sales, Mr Machin added: “We are pretty confident that in the medium term, in the longer term, online sales still have the opportunity to grow faster than stores.”

Marks & Spencer wants to grow the use of its app

Christine Lagarde pushes back against market predictions of quick rate cuts

Christine Lagarde, the European Central Bank president, pushed back today against market expectations for quick interest rate cuts even as the continental economies sputter.

The central bank left its benchmark rate unchanged at a record-high 4pc, and Ms Lagarde said afterward that “the consensus around the table ... was that it was premature to discuss rate cuts.”

Financial markets have been expecting a cut as early as April, but Lagarde said bank officials would make decisions based on the latest figures about the economy’s health, rather than offering a longer-term timetable for rate moves.

She said she stood behind a comment she made last week about a “likely” cut this summer.

European inflation has declined markedly to 2.9pc in December from a painful peak of 10.6pc in October 2022 that made everything from groceries to energy more expensive. Lagarde acknowledged the drop - which is getting closer to the bank’s goal of 2pc - and said inflation was expected to keep easing this year.

Christine Lagarde addresses a press conference today after a meeting of the governing council of the ECB in Frankfurt

Markets are wrongly betting on interest rate cuts, say economists

The Bank of England will not cut interest rates until at least May, leading economists have said, while rejecting market expectations that the central bank will make four rate cuts this year.

Pantheon Macroeconomics said that the economy should “comfortably avoid a protracted recession this year” and be “supported by robust UK consumer demand”. This, they say, will mean “quarter-to-quarter growth in GDP [will] average 0.3pc in 2024”.

As a result, the central bank “does not need to rush its easing cycle. It will wait at least until May to cut Bank Rate, so it can assess the strength of pay settlements over the key January-to-April period and the Budget.”

They added that hey thought the Bank would cut its Bank Rate by a quarter of a percentage point “only three times this year, less than the four cuts priced in by markets”.

The facade of the Bank of England on Tuesday

Schroders buys 53 UK solar farms out of administration

FTSE 100 investment manager Schoders has bought 53 solar farms from administrators in a deal worth around £700m.

Schroders has secured the farms in what is said to be Britain’s largest deal to date for operational solar farms from administrators of Toucan Energy Holdings 1 Limited.

Lee Moscovitch, Partner at Schroders Greencoat, Schoders’ renewables division, said:

We will aim to deliver reliable returns for our investors via these assets, as they continue to provide a substantial contribution to the UK’s net zero strategy.

Alaska Airlines warns on profits after grounding planes

Alaska Airlines has said that the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners will reduce its annual profits by $150m (£118m) and slow the airline’s planned growth.

The planes have been grounded since a door panel in the side of an Alaska plane blew out mid-flight over Oregon on Jan 5.

US regulators announced yesterday that they have approved an inspection process that, if followed by airlines, can allow Max 9s to resume flying. Alaska hopes to begin doing that on Friday and gradually bring back all 65 of its Max 9s by early February.

The airline said it has started a “thorough review of Boeing’s production quality and control systems.”

Boeing said it would “work closely with our airline customers as they complete the required inspection procedures to safely return their 737-9 airplanes to service”.

Alaska Airlines planes parked in San Diego, California, this month

IBM jumps to 10-year high amid strong demand for its AI services

Shares in IBM rose 12pc to a more than 10-year high on Thursday after the company reported a better-than-expected outlook on its revenue backed by strong demand for its artificial intelligence (AI) services.

Orders at IBM’s AI business doubled in the fourth quarter and are expected to help its revenue grow by around 4pc-6pc in 2024, the company reported late on Wednesday.

IBM shares rose as high as $194.93, the highest level since June 2013, adding about $19bn (£15bn) to the company’s market capitalisation.

The IBM logo displayed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange today

TV advertising faces biggest spending slump since financial crisis

TV advertising is on track for its worst year since the financial crisis, dealing a major blow to traditional broadcasters. James Warrington reports:

Spending on TV ads is expected to have fallen 7.3pc in 2023, according to the latest industry figures, which follows a 3pc downturn in the third quarter. Stripping out the impact of sponsorship deals and video-on-demand, the decline is forecast to be even deeper at 12.4pc, according to the Advertising Association and consultancy Warc. This would represent the most severe ad slump since the global financial crisis, excluding the impact of the pandemic in 2020. TV ad spend fell just under 10pc in 2009. Both Channel 4 and ITV have sounded the alarm over the downturn, warning that the industry was facing its biggest financial slump in 15 years. Alex Mahon, Channel 4 chief executive, has described the slowdown as a “market shock” and said the public service broadcaster was considering using its emergency £75m debt facility to shore up its finances. Advertising has been one of the biggest victims of the inflation crisis as brands cut back spend amid growing uncertainty. But the TV sector has been particularly affected as viewers defect to streaming rivals and advertisers shift their money to online formats. Broadcasters’ own streaming platforms have proven more resilient and are on track to grow more than 16pc in 2023. However, this remains a small proportion of the companies’ overall advertising revenue.

Son-in-law of late Russian oligarch loses ‘debanking’ legal battle against Revolut

The son-in-law of a late Russian oligarch has lost his “debanking” lawsuit against Revolut after the High Court threw out the case. Our reporter Adam Mawardi has the details:

Ildar Uzbekov, a Kazakh-born British citizen, launched legal action against the digital lender after it closed his bank account without explanation and reversed £11,000 of payments linked to the sale of his Range Rover. He claimed that his account was unlawfully blocked for six weeks before being deactivated because of internal mistakes at Revolut and an adverse media campaign over his alleged ties to Russia. Mr Uzbekov, the son-in-law of late Russian mining magnate Alexander Shchukin, had sought a High Court declaration that he was unlawfully debanked to vindicate his reputation. However, the High Court on Thursday struck out Mr Uzbekov’s case after finding he had “no real prospect of success” in proving that Revolut acted unlawfully. Mr Justice Chamberlain instead supported Revolut’s bid to have the lawsuit thrown out as an abuse of process. The High Court found that Mr Uzbekov’s legal costs and use of court resources would be “disproportionate” given he only sought nominal damages and was able to recover the funds involved in the Range Rover transaction. In a written ruling released on Thursday, Mr Justice Chamberlain said: “The game is not worth the candle.” Revolut’s lawyer, Tony Singla KC, argued in the High Court earlier this month that Mr Uzbekov’s debanking claims were a “red herring”. He argued that Mr Uzbekov’s case was different from incidents where bank accounts have been closed over a customer’s political views. A spokesman for Mr Uzbekov said he will apply for permission to appeal the High Court decision next week. Revolut was contacted for comment.

Ildar Uzbekov launched legal action against the digital lender after it closed his bank account

French farmers block roads in campaign for higher prices

French farmers have blocked roads and dumped crates of imported food today, demanding urgent action on prices paid to farmers, excessive green regulations and competition from imported produce as growing protests moved closer to Paris.

Farmers said the protests, now in their second week after breaking out in the southwest, would continue as long as their demands are not met, posing the first big challenge for new Prime Minister Gabriel Attal.

“All possibilities are still on the table,” Arnaud Gaillot, the head of the Jeunes Agriculteurs (young farmers) union told journalists when asked about reports farmers could start to disrupt traffic in Paris as soon as Friday.

Crates of tomatoes, cabbages and cauliflowers that one group of farmers said had been imported were strewn across the A7 highway that links Marseille and Lyon, France’s second and third-biggest cities. On the southwestern edge of Paris, dozens of tractors led a go-slow during the morning rush-hour.

The FNSEA farming union has handed the government a list of their demands, including better enforcement of a law designed to safeguard prices paid to farmers.

The union also called for continued diesel tax-breaks for agricultural vehicles and immediate aid for winemakers and organic farmers.

French retailers are currently locked in annual price negotiations with suppliers, which the government wants concluded by the end of the month.

A tractor pulls waste to block route nationale 19 near in Vesoul, eastern France today

Handing over

It has been a frantic afternoon and the updates will keep coming as Alex Singleton jumps into the blog hotseat.

My parting gift to you is this image of French farmers blocking a road between Rennes and Saint-Malo in protest over taxation and declining income.

Rural unrest is sweeping across Europe, with farmers taking to the streets in France, Germany, Poland and Romania this year.

French farmers are protesting on a number of issues, from reforms that increase green regulations to rising fuel costs

Business Insider to cut 8pc of staff

Business Insider is cutting 8pc of its global workforce as the online publisher grapples with a downturn in the advertising market.

It comes less than a year after the company laid off 10pc of its employees in the US. The latest cuts are also understood to be focused on the US, but some jobs in the UK will be affected.

Business Insider, which is owned by German media giant Axel Springer, is reeling from the impact of an advertising slowdown and changes to Facebook algorithms that have hit digital publishers.

The outlet last year changed its name back to Business Insider following a failed rebrand, while co-founder Henry Blodget stood down as chief executive.

In a memo to staff on Thursday, new boss Barbara Peng said the company had set out a clear plan last year and 2024 was “about making it happen”.

She added: “Unfortunately, this also means we need to scale back in some areas of our organisation.”

Europe could follow Britain in delaying petrol car ban, says Porsche chief

Europe could following Britain in delaying its ban on the sale of new combustion engines, a top executive at Porsche has said.

The luxury car maker’s chief financial officer Lutz Meschke said the halting of sales by 2035 “could be delayed”.

It comes amid a slowdown in orders for electric cars as the rollout of a reliable charging network has failed to keep up with demand.

Rishi Sunak sparked controversy when he announced last year that Britain would postpone its ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by five years from 2030 to 2035.

Mr Meschke said: “There’s a lot of discussions right now around the end of the combustion engine. 

“I think it could be delayed.”

The chief financial officer of Porsche thinks the ban on new petrol and diesel vehicle sales could be delayed from 2035

Lloyds Banking Group spokesman said: “As more customers choose to manage their day-to-day banking online, it’s important our people are available when it matters most.

“We’re introducing a number of new roles and making changes to our branch teams so our customers can see us how and when they want to.”

Lloyds Bank will axe 1,600 jobs across its branch network

Microsoft to cut 1,900 Xbox and Activision Blizzard staff

Microsoft is to make 1,900 staff redundant from its computer game divisions, XBox and Activision Blizzard.

Phil Spencer, chief executive of Microsoft Gaming, wrote to staff saying that 8pc of its 22,000 gaming staff would be cut, in an email seen by Bloomberg.

The cuts come just months after Microsoft completed its purchase of Activision Blizzard.

Mr Spencer told staff: “Together, we’ve set priorities, identified areas of overlap, and ensured that we’re all aligned on the best opportunities for growth.”

Brad Smith, Microsoft president, speaks to a press conference on Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard and the future of gaming in Brussels last year

UAE’s Vodafone swoop triggers national security intervention

The United Arab Emirates’ partnership with Vodafone has sparked national security concerns after ministers warned the Gulf state could “materially influence” the British telecoms business.

Our media reporter James Warrington has the latest: 

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden intervened after e&, the UAE’s state-controlled telecoms provider, became Vodafone’s largest shareholder last year after building a 14.6pc stake. A UAE-backed takeover of The Telegraph has also drawn Government scrutiny , although this is related to concerns about press freedom rather than national security risks. In an announcement on Thursday, Mr Dowden said the tie-up with e&, otherwise known as Etisalat, raised national security fears due to Vodafone’s role in supplying services to government departments and in protecting UK cyber security.

Read what the order means for Vodafone .

Deputy PM Oliver Dowden said the intervention was 'necessary and proportionate to mitigate the risk to national security'

Tesla plunges after Elon Musk warns of sales slowdown

Tesla shares sank as markets opened on Wall Street after chief executive Elon Musk warned of slower growth.

The electric car giant’s shares plunged by 9.7pc today after it reported its first ever drop in annual profits after the closing bell on Wednesday.

Operating income fell by 35pc to $8.9bn, the first fall since the company turned profitable in 2020.

Mr Musk also warned that Chinese carmakers will “demolish” global rivals without trade barriers.

Tesla lost its crown as the world’s top-selling electric car maker to China’s BYD in the final quarter of 2023.

Meanwhile, US stock markets opened higher after figures showed that the American economy grew by 2.5pc last year in a sign that the Federal Reserve is bringing down inflation without plunging the country into recession.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 56.18 points, or 0.2pc, at the open to 37,862.57.

The S&P 500 opened higher by 18.11 points, or 0.4pc, at 4,886.66, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 73.70 points, or 0.5pc, to 15,555.62 at the opening bell.

Lagarde shrugs off criticism of her leadership

Christine Lagarde gave a sharp response to a question about a survey which accused her of misusing the European Central Bank to boost her own political agenda in a backlash by the organisation’s staff.

She said the ECB does many surveys “ in a very technically proof way that we can trust” which showed the majority of staff were happy to work at the central bank.

She said: “What keeps me going is those answers and I’m extremely proud of the staff at the ECB.”

Asked again about the topic later in the press conference, she said: “As far as I’m concerned, I am irrelevant as long as I deliver on leading this institution of talented people.”

Red Sea tensions could push inflation higher, warns Lagarde

Tensions in the Middle East and shipping disruptions in the Red Sea could push eurozone inflation higher again, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde warned.

She told reporters at a press conference in Frankfurt:

Upside risks to inflation include the heightened geopolitical tensions especially in the Middle East which could push energy prices and freight costs higher in the near term and hamper global trade.

Lagarde: I stand by summer rate cut comments

President Christine Lagarde said she stands by comments she made at Davos in which she said that the ECB would begin cutting interest rates by the summer.

She said the Governing Council had said at its latest meeting that it is “premature to discuss rate cuts”.

However, she added “I stand by my comments” about rate cuts, although she added: “I’m not sure I would characterise them as you have.”

Ms Lagarde said in Davos that the ECB’s initial rate cutting is “likely” to start in the summer.

Christine Lagarde said she stood by comments that interest rate cuts are 'likely' by the summer

Underlying inflation declined in December, says Lagarde

Christine Lagarde said almost all measures of underlying inflation declined in December and shorter term inflation expectations have fallen markedly.

She said the risks to economic growth are tilted towards “the downside”.

Lagarde: Eurozone 'likely stagnated' at end of 2023

Christine Lagarde has begun her press conference after the ECB announced it would keep interest rates at their record levels of 4pc.

She said the euro area economy “is likely to have stagnated in the final quarter of 2023” and warned that incoming data “signalled weakness” in the near term.

She said there would be a pickup in growth “further ahead” and that the labour market “remained robust”.

The unemployment rate has fallen back to its lowest level since start of the euro and at the same time “demand for labour is slowing” with fewer vacancies being advertised, she said.

Pound edges up after US growth figures

The markets seem to tentatively think the US economic growth figures are a sign the US Federal Reserve is on track to begin cutting interest rates by May.

The pound is up 0.1pc against the dollar at $1.27. Meanwhile, government bond yields across major economies have begun to move downwards, presumably in anticipation of interest rate cuts.

Spring ECB rate cut will not happen, says investment manager

Afte the ECB held interest rates at 4pc, Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at Premier Miton, said: 

The ECB kept interest rates on hold as expected, but it’s all about what happens in the coming months.  Will hopes of a cut in the spring be met? It would seem not.  Even though the trend in underlying inflation is on a good downward path, the ECB will at least talk tough, and we should expect them to apply a safety-first approach.  The risk of “too high for too long” is clear, but so is the risk of inflation.

US economy grew 2.5pc in 2023

US economic growth was stronger than expected in the final months of 2023, government data showed, capping a resilient year as President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign picks up pace.

The world’s largest economy expanded 3.3pc in the fourth quarter, boosted by a resilient jobs market and consumer spending, bringing full-year growth to 2.5pc, said the Commerce Department.

Is the US heading for the fabled soft landing where the Federal Reserve will tame inflation without putting the economy into a recession?

#Goldilocks #GDP 🇺🇸 https://t.co/q9k7OkEEu0 — Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) January 25, 2024

US economy grows faster than expected

Things are all quiet so far in the eurozone but the same cannot be said in the US.

American gross domestic product (GDP) grew more than expected at 3.3pc in the final three months of 2023.

Economists had expected growth of 2pc.

Lagarde expected to push back against spring interest rate cuts

All eyes now turn to the press conference to be held shortly by ECB president Christine Lagarde.

Jack Allen-Reynolds, deputy chief eurozone economist at Capital Economics, said:

We expect Christine Lagarde to hammer home the message that investors are pricing in rate cuts prematurely.  It is very likely that she will say that policymakers did not discuss rate cuts, and she might repeat her language from December that the Bank should not “lower its guard”.  She might also argue that lower rate expectations were causing financial conditions to loosen too much.  Anything but a firm push-back against bets that rates will start to fall in spring would be seen as dovish.  We’ll also be interested to see if she repeats her comment from Davos that a rate cut in “summer” is “likely”.  Note that last year, when discussing the timing of the last hike, ECB policymakers were very particular in pointing out that summer extends from June to September. So a summer cut could mean late in Q3.

Bond markets steady as ECB interest rates held at record highs

The language of the ECB’s statement alongside this interest rate decision is very similar to the words used after its last meeting.

With no surprises so far, the bond market is looking very calm, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year German bund erasing earlier gains to be little changed on the day at about 2.34pc.

The 10-year UK gilt yield is also flat at 4.01pc.

Euro flat as interest rates held steady

So far everything has gone as expected, which has been reflected in the currency markets.

The euro was flat against the pound at 85p and unmoved versus the dollar at just under $1.09.

ECB: High interest rates 'dampening demand'

As it kept interest rates at 4pc as it battles to bring inflation below its 2pc target, the ECB said:

Aside from an energy-related upward base effect on headline inflation, the declining trend in underlying inflation has continued, and the past interest rate increases keep being transmitted forcefully into financing conditions.  Tight financing conditions are dampening demand, and this is helping to push down inflation.

ECB: Interest rates 'at levels' that will help bring down inflation

As it kept eurozone interest rates at record highs, the ECB said in its statement:

Based on its current assessment, the Governing Council considers that the key ECB interest rates are at levels that, maintained for a sufficiently long duration, will make a substantial contribution to this goal.  The Governing Council’s future decisions will ensure that its policy rates will be set at sufficiently restrictive levels for as long as necessary.

ECB holds interest rates at record 4pc

The European Central Bank has kept its key deposit rate at 4pc for the third meeting in a row.

ECB to announce interest rate decision

Not long now until the ECB announces its next move on interest rates. Stay tuned...

Octopus to build own electricity pylons in challenge to National Grid

Household energy supplier Octopus is seeking to take on the National Grid by building its own electricity pylons, as frustration grows at the pace of the network’s expansion.

Matt Oliver and Szu Ping Chan have the latest:

Greg Jackson, chief executive of Octopus, said the business has held talks with Ofgem, the industry regulator, about opening up the planning and building of the power grid to competition. His company argues it can build sections of the high-voltage transmission network – the backbone of the electricity system – more quickly and efficiently than the National Grid, helping to speed up the rollout of clean energy. The shakeup would end the National Grid’s 30-year monopoly on transmission infrastructure in England and Wales, amid complaints from wind and solar farm developers that the Grid’s slow expansion is leaving them to wait a decade to connect to the system. Thousands of new pylons must be built across Britain as part of the switch to net zero. Giving up oil and gas will boost demand for electricity, requiring more infrastructure to carry the power to homes and businesses.

Read how Octopus has established a foothold in electricity infrastructure .

The National Grid has enjoyed a 30-year monopoly on transmission infrastructure in England and Wales

Bonds slump ahead of ECB interest rate decision

Germany’s 10-year bond yield rose to its highest level since early December as investors waited for the European Central Bank’s (ECB) interest rate decision.

The ECB is almost certain to leave rates unchanged at 4pc but traders will be listening closely for hints about when borrowing costs might start falling.

Germany’s 10-year yield, the benchmark for the eurozone, was last up two basis points at 2.35pc, after earlier touching its highest since December 4 at 2.37pc. Yields move inversely to prices.

The UK’s 10-year gilt yield rose about two basis points to 4.03pc.

US bond yields rose sharply after European trading finished on Wednesday after a weak auction for a five-year Treasury note.

“Ahead of the ECB and U.S. data releases I find it hard to read too much into the individual moves,” said Benjamin Schroeder, rates strategist at ING.

“But the euro 10-year yields seeing some pressure could be a catch up to the weak UST 5-year auction.”

The ECB’s decision comes at 1.15pc and will be followed by a press conference with President Christine Lagarde at 1.45pm.

Mohit Kumar, chief economist and strategist for Europe at Jefferies, said: “We expect Lagarde to indicate that it would be premature to talk about rate cuts and the first rate cut around summer would make sense.”

Wall Street rally expected to stall

The rally on Wall Street which has sent the S&P 500 and Dow Jones to record highs looks poised to slow down after Tesla revealed disappointing sales .

The electric vehicle giant lost 7.8pc in premarket trading after cautioning that sales growth may slow down sharply this year, while expecting to start production of next-generation electric vehicle at its Texas factory in the second half of 2025.

Other EV makers Rivian Automotive and Lucid Group fell over 2pc each.

The benchmark S&P 500 climbed to its fourth straight record high close on Wednesday, after hitting an intraday all-time high for the third time in less than a week, with Netflix surging nearly 11pc after strong quarterly results.

Bets of interest-rate cuts commencing as early as March have now shifted to May, seen at 87pc, as per CME Group’s FedWatch Tool.

In premarket trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1pc, the S&P 500 was flat and Nasdaq 100 futures  were up 0.1pc.

London is a better stock market for us than New York, says tech chief

The boss of a Cambridge technology business has said the London stock market is a better venue for his company than New York, in a vote of confidence in the struggling exchange .

Our senior technology reporter Matthew Field has the latest:

Eben Upton, the chief executive of British computer-maker Raspberry Pi, said he favoured a London listing after assessing US markets and deciding they weren’t right for his company. He said: “We went and took a little bit of a look in New York. We came to the conclusion that London is the right home for a company like Raspberry Pi.” Raspberry Pi designs and makes single circuit board computers about the size of a credit card. It is targeting a stock market float expected to value the business at £400m.

Read what Mr Upton told the BBC’s Today programme .

Eben Upton’s business is targeting a stock market float expected to value the business at £400m

Turkey raises interest rates to 45pc

Turkey’s central bank has delivered its final interest rate hike of a historic tightening cycle that more than quintupled borrowing costs to fight record inflation.

The bank lifted its policy rate to 45pc from 42.5pc and said that “this level will be maintained as long as needed”.

The annual inflation rate in Turkey accelerated to 64.8pc in December but the pace of inflation increases has slowed after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pivoted from his unusual policy stance of forcing interest rates lower even as prices rose.

Inflation is expected to fall to 36pc by the end of the year.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Norway holds interest rates at 16-year highs

Norway’s central bank held its key interest rate at a 16-year high and said it would hold it there “for some time” as inflation remains too high.

In December, the central bank surprised the market when it hiked its key rate for the 14th time since September 2021 - taking it to 4.5pc - with most economists believing the rate level had peaked.

While inflation has cooled, it remains well above the bank’s 2pc target.

Norge Bank’s governor Ida Wolden Bache said monetary policymakers concluded that the interest rate was “now sufficiently high to return inflation to target within a reasonable time horizon”.

In 2023, Norway’s consumer prices rose by 5.5pc.

Brent crude rises after strike on Russian oil depot

Oil prices have moved higher after a Russian oil terminal on the Black Sea was blown up in a Ukrainian drone strike.

Brent crude has increased by 1.4pc to more than $81 a barrel following the blast, while US-produced West Texas Intermediate was up 1.6pc to more than $76 - its highest level in two months.

Video footage from the scene showed a drone flying towards the Tuapse oil depot in Russia’s Krasnodar region on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, US crude stocks fell by more than 9m barrels last week, to hit the lowest level since October, while total oil stockpiles nationwide had the biggest weekly decline since 2016.

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Bank of England responds to privacy concerns over 'Britcoin' plans

The Bank of England will press ahead with the next steps in creating a digital pound after a public consultation found it would not gain access to users’ personal data.

Policymakers said it is too early to decide whether to introduce the currency dubbed Britcoin but said it would carry out “further preparatory work” which would include legislation to “guarantee users’ privacy and control”.

It added that a digital pound issued by the Bank of England “would not replace those existing forms of money – cash and the money in our bank accounts – and the means of payments we already use, like debit and credit cards”. 

The next steps include further work exploring its feasibility and potential design choices.

Deputy Governor Sarah Breeden said: 

Trust in all forms of money is an absolute necessity.  We know the decision on whether or not to introduce a digital pound in the UK will be a major one for the future of money.  It is essential that we build that trust and have the support of the public and businesses who would be using it if introduced.

Let's get young crypto investors to put cash into London, says City minister

The City minister has said Britain needs to make mainstream financial markets more attractive to young investors backing cryptocurrencies.

Our reporter Michael Bow was listening to him at an event at Bloomberg’s headquarters:

Bim Afolami said he wants to encourage young crypto and bitcoin investors who love risk taking into London’s mainstream stock market. He said: “About 6m people in this country hold crypto assets of some description. “Those people are not people who don’t want to invest. The question is why is it they’re not doing it in the mainstream financial markets? “I’m not saying they shouldn’t do it in crypto assets. “If we make the mainstream capital markets attractive for them, that will help the flow of capital into our capital markets but critically it will help ownership particularly among younger people. “Let’s try and get them into the mainstream financial markets.”

City minister Bim Afolami wants young crypto investors to put their money into London's stock markets

Euro gains ahead of interest rate decision

The euro moved higher against the pound ahead of the next interest rate decision by the European Central Bank.

The single currency was 0.1pc higher against sterling at 85p and was up 0.1pc against the dollar at $1.08.

The ECB is expected to keep interest rates unchanged but markets will focus on President Christine Lagarde’s comments in a subsequent press conference.

Markets are pricing in 130 basis points of interest rate cuts from the ECB this year. The deposit rate stands at a record 4pc.

The pound was flat against the dollar at $1.27.

Lagarde will push back against early interest rate cut hopes, say analysts

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will likely push back against expectations for quick interest rate cuts even as Europe’s economy sputters and financial markets froth in hopes of cheaper credit that would boost business activity and stock prices.

She will likely underline that the bank needs to see more proof that painful inflation — which has made everything from groceries to energy more expensive — has been beaten down, analysts say.

Lagarde has indicated that the ECB’s next move would likely be a cut to borrowing costs this summer but said its benchmark rate will need to stay at a record high for “as long as necessary” to unequivocally squelch inflation.

Analysts at Berenberg bank said: “Lagarde will likely keep the door wide open for a first cut in June without fully committing to it.

“By emphasising the need for more data on inflation dynamics in early 2024, she may push back gently against market expectations for a first rate cut in April.”

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets, Hargreaves Lansdown, added: 

Policymakers at the European Central Bank are expected to sit on their hands and keep interest rates on hold, and an immobile stance through the year looks increasingly likely, given some of their recent comments. Investors will be highly attuned to the latest assessment of inflation and growth prospects from President Christine Lagarde.  Even though there is has been a rapid slowdown in price increases, and weakness is pervading economies, the ECB is concerned that underlying price pressures in services remain strong and the effect of the Red Sea diversions on goods has not yet played out.

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde will speak after the latest interest rate decision by the ECB later

Germany 'stuck in recession' as outlook unexpectedly sours

German business expectations worsened for a second month, wrong-footing analysts and adding to an already tough start to 2024 for Europe’s largest economy.

An expectations gauge by the Ifo institute fell to 83.5 in January from a revised 84.2 the previous month. Analysts had expected a slight uptick. An index of current conditions also dropped.

Ifo President Clemens Fuest said:

Companies assessed their current situation as worse — their expectations for the months ahead were also once again more pessimistic.  The German economy is stuck in recession.

Andrew Kenningham, chief Europe economist at Capital Economics, said the data indicated Germany’s economy would shrink again in the first quarter of this year.

He said: “The lagged impact of tighter monetary policy and additional headwind from fiscal policy tightening will dampen consumption and investment demand and external demand remains very subdued.”

OUCH! #Germany has started 2024 on the wrong foot. Germany’s Business Outlook unexpectedly soured at the start of 2024. Ifo expectations index worsened for a 2nd mth, fell to 83.5 in Jan from 84.2 in Dec, wrong-footing analysts who had expected a slight uptick. An index of… pic.twitter.com/PE98cXP2ob — Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) January 25, 2024

Wizz Air growth stalls amid headwinds from grounded flights

Wizz Air said it expects capacity to remain subdued as the discount carrier faces disruptions from grounded aircraft and a tougher economic climate.

The Hungarian-based airline does not expect capacity to grow year-on-year in the first half of its 2025 financial year, it said in a trading update.

The company reported €105.4m (£90.2m) in net loss for the third quarter, compared with €33.5m (£28.7m) in profit in the same period last year.

The shares of the discount carrier dropped as much as 8pc, the most since November, in stark contrast to results from EasyJet on Wednesday which sent its shares 2.4pc higher amid upbeat predictions for summer travel.

Wizz Air was forced to ground some of its planes and warned it would run fewer flights over Christmas after faults were uncovered in engines used by Airbus.

The airline said it will resume some flights to Tel Aviv from March after pausing operations to Israel following the start of the war in October. 

Wizz Air shares have slumped after it said it would not increase its capacity in the first half of its next financial year

Investors lured by better savings rates, says wealth manager

St James’ Place shares have slumped after it revealed the amount of money coming in from investors nearly halved last year as they were instead lured by higher savings rates.

Net inflows dropped by 47pc to £5.12bn last year even as it increased its number of advisers by 3pc to 4,834.

Shares fell as much as 10pc, the most in three months, even as chief executive Mark FitzPatrick said advisers had attracted £3.7bn of new client investments to the business during the last three months of last year.

He said: “While the need for trusted face-to-face financial advice remains as strong as ever, client capacity and confidence to commit to long-term investment have been impacted by the economic environment and short-term alternatives in the form of cash deposit and savings rates.”

UK markets fall amid flurry of weak results

The UK equity market came under selling pressure, with shares in IG Group and Wizz Air tumbling after underwhelming results.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 fell as much as 0.2pc, while the domestically-focused FTSE 250 dropped as much as 0.4pc.

Both the indexes closed on Wednesday at their highest levels in more than a week, bolstered by China-exposed stocks after officials announced support measures to restore confidence in the economy and markets.

IG Group tumbled as much as 11pc, by the most since September 2021, after the online trading platform reported a drop in first-half earnings due to softer market conditions.

Shares of St. James’s Place fell 9.8pc after net inflows at the FTSE 100-listed wealth manager slowed in 2023 as risk appetite remained subdued.

Wizz Air fell 5.1pc after the budget airline reported a bigger third-quarter operating loss, as it grapples with the effects of engine inspections that have grounded parts of its fleet and the suspension of flights due to the Middle East conflict.

Meanwhile, Elementis jumped 8.2pc after Reuters reported KPS Capital Partners recently explored a bid for the UK specialty chemicals maker but has since paused its work.

Haleon sells ChapStick lip balm brand for £401m

Consumer healthcare group Haleon has agreed to sell its ChapStick lip balm brand in a deal worth around $510m (£401m).

Haleon said the sale to Suave Brands Company, owned by US private equity firm Yellow Wood Partners, will see it receive about $430m (£338m) in pre-tax cash proceeds, plus a passive minority stake in Suave valued at around $80m (£63m).

The cash will be used to pay down debt, according to Haleon.

Its shares have increased 0.4pc in early trading.

Haleon floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2022

IG Group plunges after trading slump

Online trading platform IG Group saw its shares slump by the most since September 2021 after it suffered in “soft market conditions”.

Its share price dropped as much as 11pc after it revealed net trading revenue slumped 19pc to £402.4m.

Total revenue fell 9pc to £472.6m while adjusted pre-tax profits fell 21pc to £205.7m.

Acting chief executive Charlie Rozes said there had been “a mixed trading backdrop for our clients, driven by persistently low levels of market volatility in Q1 and Q2”.

Fever-Tree forecasts £7m hit from German recession

Tonic maker Fever-Tree toasted a strong Christmas as US sales growth helped it shrug off a downturn in Germany.

Bosses warned that the company is expected to take a £7m hit next year to its non-Fever-Tree brands in Europe’s largest economy as recession in the country impacts its performance on the Continent.

The United States became the company’s largest region for revenues as it expanded sales by 24pc to £117m in 2023, although performance was more modest in Europe.

UK revenues slipped by 1pc to £114.8m as total revenues grew by about 6pc year-on-year to £364m in 2023, the company said in a trading update.

Bosses said they expect sales growth of 10pc next year and adjusted underlying profit margins to be about 15pc, as previously forecast. Chief executive Tim Warrillow said:

The US ended the year as our largest region, where we have extended our leadership position in both the Tonic and Ginger Beer categories.  The brand enjoyed a strong Christmas trading period in the UK, especially in the On-Trade, whilst at home, our new Espresso Martini mixer clearly became a festive drink of choice.  Despite recession in Germany impacting our European performance and the one-off effect of the transition to our new subsidiary in Australia, we remain confident of driving good growth in those regions in 2024.

Fever-Tree

UK markets mixed as trading begins

The FTSE 100 opened lower as traders await the next interest rate decision by the European Central Bank.

The UK’s flagship stock index fell 0.1pc to 7,519.73 while the midcap FTSE 250 was 0.7pc higher at 19,137.84.

Fuller's prepared for minimum wage rises after Christmas boost

Pubs-to-hotels group Fuller, Smith & Turner is braced for “significant rises” in the minimum wage but said it is in “great shape” after a strong festive season.

Christmas sales were up 21.6pc against the same period last year, while like-for-like sales grew 11.5pc for the 42 weeks to January 20.

The minimum wage, officially called the National Living Wage, will increase from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour for workers over 21 from April, a rise of 9.8pc.

Chief executive Simon Emeny said: 

I am delighted to see the business continue to deliver strong sales growth. It is testament to the hard work, dedication and energy of our amazing team members who pulled out all the stops to ensure our customers had a brilliant Christmas and New Year. The business is in great shape. While we continue to see the impact of a challenging economic environment, we are positive about the future and confident of meeting market expectations for the full year. Looking forward, while we face significant rises in the National Living Wage and Business Rates, we have exciting plans in place to grow the business. These include a number of high profile, trade-enhancing investment schemes in our existing estate, which will ensure we continue to build on our current momentum.

The Fuller's Griffin brewery in Chiswick, London

Boeing ordered not to ramp up production of mid-air blowout aircraft

Boeing has been ordered not to ramp up its rate of production of the aircraft which suffered a mid-air blowout earlier this month.

The Federal Aviation Administration told the aircraft manufacturer it would not allow the expansion of production of any of its MAX aircraft, including the 737-9 MAX model involved in the Alaska Airlines incident.

It comes after the US regulator increased its oversight of Boeing production and that of its suppliers.

FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said: 

We grounded the Boeing 737-9 MAX within hours of the incident over Portland and made clear this aircraft would not go back into service until it was safe. The exhaustive, enhanced review our team completed after several weeks of information gathering gives me and the FAA confidence to proceed to the inspection and maintenance phase.  However, let me be clear: This won’t be back to business as usual for Boeing. We will not agree to any request from Boeing for an expansion in production or approve additional production lines for the 737 MAX until we are satisfied that the quality control issues uncovered during this process are resolved.

A Boeing 737 MAX-9 plane under construction in 2017

Halfords tyre sales flat as customers face 'difficult spending decisions'

Retailer Halfords has revealed weaker-than-expected trading as mild weather and consumer cutbacks in the run-up to Christmas hit trading.

The group said like-for-like retail motoring sales plunged 15.3pc in December, which it blamed on weather and “customers balancing difficult spending decisions in the lead-up to Christmas”.

It said overall retail sales were flat in the 13 weeks to December 29, with cycling and consumer tyres markets performing “significantly worse than anticipated”.

Halfords said while trading in motoring retailing had now recovered back to levels seen in October and November, it was ramping up cost savings in the face of a “very challenging consumer environment”.

It said it still expects full-year profits to remain on track, assuming markets do not weaken further over its final quarter.

Halfords

Dr Martens hit by slump in US sales

Shoemaker Dr Martens said that a poor performance in the US and cautious customers hit its top line in the last three months of 2023.

The business kept guidance unchanged, even as revenue dipped 21pc to £267.1m in the third quarter of its financial year.

Sales in the Americas, where the company has been struggling recently, were 31pc down. They fell 15pc in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and were down 8pc in the Asia-Pacific region.

Chief executive Kenny Wilson said:

Our third-quarter performance is in line with the updated full-year guidance provided in November. Whilst the consumer environment remains challenging, we are taking action to continue to grow our iconic brand and invest in our business.

Dr Martens

Good morning

Thanks for joining me. France’s government is reportedly demanding a multibillion-pound handout from Britain to cover the budget of nuclear power projects being built in the UK by French energy giant EDF.

Paris is pushing for a “global solution” to solve funding issues at the Sizewell C plant and the new Hinkley Point site in Somerset, a French official told the Financial Times.

It comes after EDF this week admitted the cost of construction at Hinkley Point had risen by as much as £10bn to £35bn .

It added the reactors will come online up to four years later than planned.

The Government this week had already committed an additional £1.3bn in funding for the construction of Sizewell C, the planned nuclear plant in Sussex owned by EDF and the Government. 

Taxpayers own a stake in the plant after the Government became uncomfortable with it being part-owned China General Nuclear.

“It’s a Franco-British matter,” the French economy ministry official told the FT. 

“The British government cannot at the same time say EDF has to figure it out alone on Hinkley Point and at the same time ask EDF to put money into Sizewell. 

“We’re determined to find a global solution to see these projects through.”

5 things to start your day 

1) Tesla hit by first ever drop in annual profits amid electric car price war | The decline comes after the carmaker cut prices in the face of competition from legacy carmakers and Chinese upstarts

2) British households paying most for their energy | UK prices rise fastest among developed countries as utility companies hand record payouts to shareholders

3) Why the crisis at Royal Mail risks delivering renationalisation by stealth | If cutting deliveries is off the cards, something has to give. It could be taxpayers

4) Worst debt burden since 1950s makes huge tax raid inevitable, warns IFS | High interest costs and low economic growth will hamper efforts to tackle UK’s debt pile

5) Tom Stevenson: Chinese stocks are dirt cheap – is this the time to buy? | Despite Beijing’s economic woes some convincing arguments remain for investing

What happened overnight 

Asian shares rose to a one-week high as an intervention by China’s government supported the battered Chinese stock market, while bonds were under pressure ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later in the day.

The Shanghai Composite rose 2pc and was headed for its largest daily gain in six months. 

The blue-chip index rose more than 1pc and the Hang Seng climbed for a third straight session to take it 9pc above Monday’s 15-month trough.

All three indexes remain down for the year on investors’ frustration at the lack of large-scale response from Beijing to China’s economic slowdown, though Wednesday’s cut to bank reserve requirements has again raised expectations of official help.

Tokyo stocks closed modestly higher partly helped by gains in Chinese markets amid uncertainty about when the Bank of Japan might shift from negative interest rates.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added less than 0.1pc, or 9.99 points, to 36,236.47, while the broader Topix index ended up 0.1pc, or 2.70 points, at 2,531.92.

Wall Street was mixed on Wednesday after strong gains for Netflix and some influential technology stocks helped offset losses across much of the US stock market.

The S&P 500 added 0.1pc, closing at 4,868.55 and set a record for a fourth day on the trot. The strength of tech stocks had the Nasdaq Composite index gain 0.4pc, reaching 15,481.92. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading US companies fell 0.3pc, closing at 37,806.39.

Stocks have rocketed to records on hopes that lowering inflation will convince the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates several times this year.

Bond traders have recently been trimming their bets of rate cuts following stronger-than-expected reports on the economy, which keep worries about a recession at bay but could also add upward pressure on inflation. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury bonds rose to 4.17pc from 4.14pc late on Tuesday. 

  • Tesla hit by first ever drop in annual profits amid electric car price war
  • British households paying most for their energy
  • Why the crisis at Royal Mail risks delivering renationalisation by stealth
  • Worst debt burden since 1950s makes huge tax raid inevitable, warns IFS
  • Tom Stevenson: Chinese stocks are dirt cheap – is this the time to buy?
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Military intelligence claims cyberattack on IT company providing services to Russian defense industry

Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR) launched a cyberattack against the IPL Consulting company, which provides services to the Russian heavy industry and military-industrial complex, the agency said on Jan. 27.

The operation by the agency's cyber specialists reportedly destroyed the "entire IT infrastructure" of the firm, which presents itself as one of the most modern enterprises in Russia.

Cyberattacks have become an increasingly common tool employed by both sides of the Russia-Ukraine war. In one of the most devastating strikes, Russian hackers targeted Ukraine's telecommunications provider, Kyivstar, causing communication outages nationwide last December.

After penetrating IPL Consulting's internal network, Ukrainian cyber specialists deleted over 60 terabytes of data and destroyed dozens of servers and databases, according to the agency. The full cost of damages is currently being determined.

"Under the conditions of ongoing sanctions against Russia, the damage inflicted on the enemy is extremely painful," military intelligence said on social media.

According to the military intelligence agency, IPL Consulting implements IT systems for Russian companies involved in the design and production of automotive and aviation components, heavy engineering, and defense.

"Dozens of Russian companies that work for in the Russian 'defense' sector will suffer," the agency said.

IPL Consulting makes no mention of the reported cyberattack on its website or social media.

Earlier this week, military intelligence reported on a cyberattack against the Russian Far Eastern Research Center of Space Hydrometeorology "Planeta" in Khabarovsk.

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Lloyds Banking Group to cut 1,600 jobs as it shifts to online banking

There will be a net loss of 769 roles at the UK's largest mortgage lender, as 830 new positions will be part of the strategy.

travel money lloyds

Business reporter @taaffems

Thursday 25 January 2024 19:26, UK

A branch of Lloyds bank. Pic: iStock

Lloyds Banking Group is to cut about 1,600 jobs across its branch network as it continues to shift its business towards online banking.

Some 830 new roles will also be part of the strategy, resulting in a net reduction of 769 jobs.

"We're introducing a number of new roles and making changes to our branch teams so our customers can see us how and when they want to," a spokesperson said.

Some staff will be offered voluntary redundancy and the most junior employees are expected not to be affected by the losses.

The new jobs will be customer-facing and provide services across branches, via video meetings and over the phone.

Only 8% of customers choose to visit high street branches as the only way to manage their money, while more than 21 million customers use online or mobile banking, Lloyds Banking Group said on Thursday.

Lloyds , in common with other major high street banks, has been closing branches across the country .

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The group is the UK's biggest mortgage lender and its subsidiaries include Bank of Scotland and Halifax.

In November, Lloyds said it was shutting another 45 branches across its network, meaning that at least 275 branches will be cut across Lloyds, Halifax, and Bank of Scotland over 2023 and 2024.

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The closure of 40 Lloyds and Halifax sites was announced last January.

Branches to be shut had seen the number of visits drop by an average of 60% in the last five years, the company said at the time.

Latest financial results showed a rise in profits amid high interest rates. The group reported pre-tax profits of £5.728bn for the nine months ending in September.

Read more: Royal London plots bid for £6bn Scottish Widows book

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Higher base interest rates set by the Bank of England had yielded £13.7bn in income, a 7% increase from a year earlier.

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Shipping Costs Soar in Wake of Red Sea Attacks

Ships risking Houthi attacks must pay high insurance premiums, while vessels avoiding the region lose time going around Africa.

  • Share full article

People sitting outdoors in orange chairs watch a container ship pass along a waterway.

By Stanley Reed

Reporting from London

For about two months, a barrage of missile and drone attacks in the Red Sea by Houthi militants has posed a difficult choice to shipowners using the Suez Canal: risk an airborne strike and pay sharply higher insurance rates, or forgo the canal and take the longer route around Africa, snarling schedules and entailing higher fuel charges.

The attacks — at a choke point that handles 12 percent of global trade, including nearly one-third of the world’s container ship traffic — have already forced some shutdowns at European auto plants and raised fears of a surge in consumer prices.

For shipping companies, costs have already increased. A composite measure of global shipping costs, the Drewry World Container Index, has more than doubled since late last year. The rise is partly tied to a shortage of empty shipping containers, caused by the up to two weeks of additional time for trips going around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.

And using the Red Sea now requires expensive war risk insurance. It’s a specialty that a group of brokers and underwriters centered in London offer.

“We are not fair weather underwriters,” said Munro Anderson, head of operations at Vessel Protect, a marine war risk insurance firm. “We are there for our clients when things are at the most difficult,” he added.

War risk coverage is often required for vessels going into areas designated as high risk by a group of insurers called the Joint War Committee, which consists of underwriters at Lloyds and other organizations. War risk is “an area of business where generally if the underwriting community get it right, they make money out of it,” said Marcus Baker, global head of marine, cargo and logistics at Marsh, an insurance broker in London.

But the cost to insure container ships or tankers transiting the Bab al-Mandeb strait off Yemen en route to the Suez has jumped in recent weeks.

Marine war risk premiums have soared around fiftyfold since before the war, to as high as 1 percent of the value of the ship, although about 0.7 percent appears to be more common. For a ship carrying goods worth $100 million, that means an extra $700,000 for the few days necessary to go through the Red Sea area.

Mr. Baker said war risk rates for the Red Sea were less exorbitant than those for shipping in the Black Sea from Ukraine, which can range up to 3 percent. One reason for the differential: The environment is considered more hostile because Russia is a more dangerous attacker than the Houthis. So far, insurers say, the Houthi attacks, while intimidating, have produced relatively little damage.

Some underwriters are also insisting that clients have language in their contracts guaranteeing that they have no connection to Israel, whose military campaign in Gaza is the reason the Houthis give for their attacks, or to the United States and Britain, which have launched air and missile strikes on the Yemen-based group. In an effort to ward off against attacks, a growing number of ships have broadcast messages like “No Contact Israel,” according to TankerTrackers, a monitoring service.

So far the U.S.-led multinational naval task force to protect commercial ships in both the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden has not helped lower insurance costs, brokers say, though rates may be leveling off. Israel has offered to compensate shipowners for any damage sustained in Israeli waters.

But at the moment, most of the giant vessels that bring stacks of containers to Western ports from China are taking the Africa route, which could require an extra two weeks with higher fuel costs. Over a recent 30-day period, 517 container ships steered clear of the Red Sea by going around the Cape of Good Hope, while 212 continued through the Suez Canal, said Jonathan Roach, who tracks container shipping for Braemar, a London ship broker. In November, he said, the ratio was roughly the reverse.

Tankers that carry oil and liquefied natural gas around the world are also increasingly avoiding the Suez Canal. Even L.N.G. tankers from Qatar, a major supplier of gas to Europe whose vessels had been considered shielded from Houthi attacks because the emirate had hosted Hamas leaders, are now going around Africa, said Laura Page, an analyst at Kpler, which tracks shipping.

Over time, more tankers may choose the longer route. “There will be a point at which the pain and the cost to go into the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal outweighs simple economics of going around the Cape,” Lois Zabrocky, chief executive of International Seaways, which owns and operates oil and chemical tankers, said at an investor event last week. “And this is a constantly evolving situation.”

Still, energy prices have been subdued, reflecting weakened demand and rising production in the United States and elsewhere, with Brent crude below its level on Oct. 7, the day Hamas attacked Israel. Even as tanker freight rates have risen by about 25 percent since the Red Sea disruptions began, according to Goldman Sachs, European natural gas prices have remained muted, probably because of large amounts of fuel in storage and alternative supplies from the United States.

CMA CGM, a Marseille-based company that is one of the world’s largest container shippers, is sending some vessels through the Suez Canal, at times escorted by the French Navy. Analysts say the ships still moving through Suez tend to be older and smaller vessels that would involve lower losses if they were hit.

It’s unclear if escalating shipping costs will be reflected in consumer prices, especially in Europe, where economies are barely growing. Weak consumer demand means businesses will face pressure to absorb extra shipping costs in their profit margins “instead of passing price rises to the consumer,” analysts at Morgan Stanley said this week.

One factor easing the current crisis is a surfeit of ships and cargo containers. After the severe shipping log jams of 2022 , logistics companies ordered large numbers of ships and containers that are now helping to ease a global crunch in the movement of goods.

Longer shipping routes resulting from avoiding the Red Sea are actually helping the market absorb what would have been a substantial oversupply of vessels, at least temporarily heading off the pressure for companies to scrap excess ships, Mr. Roach of Braemar said. “Perhaps it’s not such a bad time for this situation to happen,” he said.

Despite that ample supply of ships and containers, the Red Sea hostilities have caused freight costs to spike. Mr. Roach said it would probably take another three to four months or more of Red Sea disruption for prices to equal their 2022 peak.

Christian Roeloffs, chief executive of Container xChange, a company in Hamburg, Germany, that operates a market for shipping containers, said prices for the boxes were spiking because the sudden lengthening of shipping journeys had caught the industry with inventories of the boxes in the wrong places.

Importers rushing to stock up on orders from Chinese factories before they close for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday are also leading to a scramble for containers, he said.

“Even though, in theory, the capacity is there, it cannot be deployed so quickly,” Mr. Roeloffs said. He predicted China’s holiday period next month would give shippers time to recover. “We will really see a normalization,” he said.

Jenny Gross contributed reporting.

Stanley Reed reports on energy, the environment and the Middle East from London. He has been a journalist for more than four decades. More about Stanley Reed

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Lloyds Banking Group set to close 123 branches in 2024 – full list of Lloyds Bank and Halifax shut downs

Lloyds Banking Group set to close 123 branches in 2024 – full list of Lloyds Bank and Halifax shut downs

Lloyds announces 1600 job losses across bank branches

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 26/01/2024

Updated: 26/01/2024

Bank branch closures are continuing into 2024 with Lloyds Banking Group shutting down over 100 sites

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Lloyds Banking Group is set to close 123 branches across the UK in 2024 in a blow to Britain’s high streets. The group, which includes Lloyds Bank , Halifax and Bank of Scotland is moving away from in-person services to online banking through the bank branch closures .

Yesterday, Lloyds Banking Group confirmed it was set to axe 1,600 jobs across its branch network as part of the transition. Lloyds announced it would create 930 new roles as part of the strategy which means a net reduction of 769 reductions.

Do you have a bank branch closure story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

Lloyds Bank is set to close 123 branches this year

Here is a full list of the bank branch closures dates from Lloyds Banking Group, including Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and Halifax, in 2024, according to Which?:

Lloyds Bank

  • 22 Grover Walk SS17 7LY, Corringham - 15/01/2024
  • 26 Bridge Street PE38 9DH, Downham Market - 25/03/2024
  • 102-104 Market Street NG20 8AD, Shirebrook - 25/03/2024
  • 3/5 Kirkgate LS21 3HN, Otley - 26/03/2024
  • 39 High Street EX10 8LQ, Sidmouth - 26/03/2024
  • 58 Beveridge Way DL5 4DS, Newton Aycliffe - 27/03/2024
  • 32 John Street CF36 3BA, Porthcawl - 26/03/2024
  • 49 John Street CF36 3AS, Porthcawl - 27/03/2024
  • 185 Queen Street HU19 2JR, Withernsea - 27/03/2024
  • 27 Fore Street A21 8AF, Wellington - 25/03/2024
  • 35 Bradford Road HD6 1RW, Brighouse - 28/05/2024
  • 2-4 High Street March, PE15 9JE - 28/05/2024
  • 38 Chapel Lane L37 4DR, Formby - 28/05/2024
  • 18 Market Place NR28 9BP, North Walsham - 29/05/2024
  • 21 Broad Street WR10 1BD, Pershore - 28/05/2024
  • 60 Sidcup High Street DA14 6EJ, Sidcup - 11/07/2024
  • 612-614 Wolseley Road PL5 1TE 10, Plymouth - 10 /01/2024
  • 71-73 High Street ST15 8AG, Stone - 10/04/2024
  • 67 Fore Street PL12 6AJ,. Saltash - 10/04/2024
  • 34 Station Road UB7 7BZ, West Drayton - 11/04/2024
  • 19-20 Wellington Street TQ14 8HW, Teignmouth -15/04/2024
  • 99 Newland Street CM8 1AQ, Witham - 10/07/2024
  • 33 Dunraven Street CF40 1AL, Tonypandy - 04/07/2024
  • 30 High Street EX17 3AH, Crediton - 04/07/2024
  • Union Street LA12 7HR, Ulverston - 09/04/2024
  • 75 Commercial Street WF17 5EQ, Batley - 24/06/2024
  • 11-13 Devonshire Road TN40 1AH, Bexhill-on-Sea - 16/09/2024
  • Fore Street L31 2HP, Bodmin – 20/06/2024
  • 36-38 Church Road RH15 9AH, Burgess Hill - 17/09/2024
  • 13-14 High Street B64 5HP, Cradley Heath - 08/02/2024
  • 11/12 The Shopping Village NE11 0EN, Gateshead- 09/01/2024
  • Market Street BN27 2AE, Hailsham - 19/09/2024
  • 8 High Street CB9 8BA, Haverhill - 25/06/2024
  • 5/6 Market Place SG14 1DF, Hertford - 17/09/2024
  • 9 Boverton Road CF61 1XZ, Llantwit Major - 08/02/2024
  • 453 Wilmslow Road M20 4AN, Withington - 08/01/2024
  • Crown Glass Place BS48 1RD, Nailsea - 01/02/2024
  • High Street BS20 6BJ, Portishead - 09/09/2024
  • The Cross SG8 7BL, Royston - 17/06/2024
  • 3 King Street CB10 1HF, Saffron Walden - 16/09/2024
  • 1 Marlborough SR7 7SD, Seaham - 19/06/2024
  • 22 King Street M32 8AD, Stretford - 12/03/2024
  • 180 High Street TN22 1AX, Uckfield - 18/09/2024
  • 308-312 Chiswick High Road W4 1NS, London - 19/02/2024
  • 30 Market Place NN13 7BA, Brackley - 26/03/2024
  • 5-6 King Street CA11 7AP, Penrith - 19/03/2024
  • 5 Market Place YO8 4NT, Selby - 03/04/2024
  • 39 Chester Road West CH5 1BY,Shotton - 13/03/2024
  • 129-131 High Street ME2 4TW, Rochester - 04/04/2024
  • 73 High Street TA8 1NP, Burnham-on-Sea - 13/11/2024
  • 110-112 High Street SW15 1RG, Putney - 04/04/2024
  • 82-84 High Street HA4 7AB, Ruislip - 13/03/2024
  • 37 Market Place BA12 9BD, Warminster - 14/11/2024
  • 1 Walm LaneNW2 5SN, Willesden Green - 21/03/2024
  • 257 Whitley Road NE26 2SY, Whitley Bay - 13/11/2024
  • 12 High Street SY16 2NX, Newtown - 03/04/2024
  • 21 Victoria Square WR9 8DG, Droitwich - 14/11/2024
  • 3 Upper Brook Street WS15 2DP , Rugeley -14/11/2024
  • 15-17 Pool Street LL55 2AD, Caernarfon - 30/04/2024
  • 300 Ashley Road BH14 9DE, Poole - 13/11/2024
  • 4 Market Square CT16 1ND, Dover - 11/04/2024
  • 3 Market Hill IP22 4JZ, Diss - 20/03/2024
  • 16 Main Street S64 9DW, Mexborough - 22/04/2024.

Bank of Scotland

  • The Cross KY15 4BP, Cupar - 29/05/2024
  • 43/45 Townhead Street KA18 1LF, Cumnock - 29/05/2024
  • 1 Galvelmore Street PH7 4DN, Crieff - 29/05/202
  • 40 High Street TD8 6DQ, Jedburgh - 20/05/2024
  • 17 Dalrymple Street KA26 9EU, Girvan - 20/05/2024
  • 95 High Street EH42 1ER, Dunbar - 21/05/2024
  • Main Road PH22 1RH, Aviemore - 21/05/2024
  • Main Street, Tarbert HS3 3DJ, Isle Of Harris - 22/02/2024
  • Lochmaddy HS6 5AA, Isle Of North Uist - 26/02/2024
  • 816 Govan Road G51 3UP, Govan - 09/01/2024
  • Brodick KA27 8AB, Isle of Arran 31/01/2024
  • 42 Stuart Street KA28 0AQ, Millport - 20/02/2024
  • Shore Street PA43 7LB, Bowmore - 08/05/2024
  • 174 Byres Road G12 8SW, Glasgow - 21/03/2024
  • Shore Road G84 0JH, Helensburgh - 15/08/2024
  • Harbour Street PA29 6TZ, Tarbert - 29/04/2024.
  • 33 Main Street BT40 1JE, Larne - 29/05/2024
  • 66 High Street DA14 6DS, Sidcup - 11/07/2024
  • 7 Station Plaza LS29 8HF, Ilkley - 15/01/2024
  • Prescot Shopping Centre L34 5GA, Prescot - 08/04/2024
  • 7/7A Market Place, Thorne DN8 5DH, Doncaster - 08/04/2024
  • 2 Market Place WF5 8BQ, Ossett - 09/04/2024
  • 49/51 High Street WF6 2AF, Normanton - 08/07/2024
  • 84 Commercial Street WF17 5DR, Batley - 24/06/2024
  • 43/45 Sheep Street OX26 6JJ, Bicester - 07/02/2024
  • 25 Fore Street PL31 2HT, Bodmin - 20/06/2024
  • 4 Central Arcade BD19 5DN, Cleckheaton - 31/01/2024
  • 178/180 High Street NE3 1HX, Gosforth - 08/01/2024
  • 54/56 High Street BN27 1AX, Hailsham - 19/09/2024
  • 17/17A Town Centre AL10 0JZ, Hatfield - 25/06/2024
  • 374 Harrogate Road LS17 6PY, Leeds - /01/2024
  • 13 Market Jew Street TR18 2HN, Penzance - 20/02/2024
  • 2170 Coventry Road B26 3JB, Sheldon - 22/04/2024
  • 56/57 High Street DY8 1DE, Stourbridge - 10/01/2024
  • 122 - 126 High Street TN22 1PX, Uckfield - 18/09/2024
  • 52 - 54 Union Street AB10 1WR, Aberdeen - 11/01/2024
  • 131-133 Princes Street EH2 4AH, Edinburgh - 26/02/2024
  • 35-41 Sauchiehall Street G2 3AT, Glasgow - 05/02/2024
  • 99 High Street EN5 5UP, Barnet - 12/03/2024
  • 58-62 High Street IG6 2DQ, Ilford - 15/04/2024
  • 91 Holton Road CF63 4HG, Barry - 18/03/2024
  • 165 Shenley Road WD6 1AH, Borehamwood - 18/04/2024
  • 17 Fore Street TA6 5AG, Bridgwater - 23/04/2024
  • 226 Heathway RM10 8PE, Dagenham - 15/05/2024
  • 8/10 High Street DA1 1BY, Dartford - 18/03/2024
  • 1 High Street NN11 4BW, Daventry - 17/04/2024
  • 12A Market Place IP22 4WP, Diss - 20/03/2024
  • 1 Church Street Dereham NR19 1DD, England - 14/03/2024
  • 149/151 Mortimer Street CT6 5HS , Herne Bay - 17/04/2024
  • 82 High Street SO41 9AN, Lymington - 11/03/2024
  • 29/33 Chestergate SK11 6AN, Macclesfield - 11/03/2024
  • 17 Windsor Court LS27 9BG, Morley - 16/04/2024
  • 73A Station Road BH25 6JD, New Milton - 23/04/2024
  • 248/250 High Street BR6 0LZ, Orpington - 12/03/2024
  • 41/42 Middlegate CA11 7PT, Penrith - 19/03/2024
  • 25 Bridge Street PE11 1XG, Spalding - m18/04/2024
  • 44 Greengate Street ST16 2JA, Stafford - 08/04/2024
  • 11/12 High Street PE9 2AL, Stamford - 14/03/2024
  • 40/41 King Street CA28 7JN, Whitehaven - 09/04/2024
  • 25 The Square HU13 0AE, Hessle - 15/08/2024.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS:

  • Barclays to close to more than 50 bank branches in 2024 and 2025 – full list
  • Yorkshire Building Society says ‘customers still want branches’
  • Virgin Money to axe passbook savings accounts for 100,000 customers

Multiple high street banks and building societies have made the decision to close physical branches in recent months.

GB News has previously covered the recent closures, including NatWest , as well as the impact on communities as millions are set to be cashless .

A Lloyds spokesperson said: “The way customers choose to bank with us has changed rapidly in recent years, and we now offer a wide range of options for their everyday banking needs.

“This includes our mobile app, online and over the phone. Customers can also bank with us through the Post Office, in a Banking Hub or by speaking to a Community Banker.

“All colleagues will be offered other roles across our business.

“All of the branch locations announced for closure have alternative options for accessing cash nearby, such as a Post Office, or free-to-use ATM.

“More Community Bankers will be introduced, in addition to those already helping communities, to provide targeted banking support where a branch is closing.”

Concerns have been raised over the impact of branch closures on rural areas and the wider move to a cashless society with vulnerable communities at risk of losing access to vital banking services.

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  11. Travel Money: The best foreign exchange rates

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  12. Lloyds Bank Foreign Currency Exchange

    Foreign Currency For Travel in 2023. If you are a retail customer who wants to hold foreign cash for your travels, then we highly recommend you avoid using Lloyds Bank currency exchange services. Large British banks and credit unions like Lloyds Bank charge two very large fees, one that is transparent and another that is hidden:. Bank Fee: This is a transparent fee that banks charge for the ...

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  17. Lloyds to cut 1,600 jobs in major branch overhaul

    25th January 2024, 08:13 PST. Getty Images. Lloyds Banking Group is to cut about 1,600 jobs across its branch network as part of an overhaul of its services due to more people banking online. But ...

  18. Lloyds to cut 1,600 jobs across branches in shift to online banking

    Lloyds Banking Group is planning to cut 1,600 staff from its branch network as it tries to reduce costs and push customers towards digital services as part of a corporate overhaul. The UK company ...

  19. Russian Far East: top 10 experiences

    Lena Pillars. The Russian Far East's most popular cruise is the two-day jaunt from Yakutsk to the Lenskie Stolby (Lena Pillars) along the mighty Lena River. Resembling a petrified forest, the 80km-long, 35-million-year-old limestone pillars reach for the sky along the riverbank - a startling sight after you've spent many hours floating ...

  20. Khabarovsk

    Khabarovsk. Khabarovsk - the industrial, transport, and administrative and cultural center - was founded in 1858 as a military outpost for defense of the Russian-Chinese border and named in honor of Yerofei Khabarov the Russian explorer of Siberia and the Far East. It stretches for 45 km along the bank of the Amur River - the main ...

  21. Lloyds Bank to axe 1,600 jobs across branches

    Key moments. Chosen by us to get you up to speed at a glance. 2:54pm Lloyds Bank to axe 1,600 jobs across branches 2:52pm Microsoft to cut 1,900 Xbox and Activision Blizzard staff

  22. Military intelligence claims cyberattack on IT company providing

    Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR) launched a cyberattack against the IPL Consulting company, which provides services to the Russian heavy industry and military-industrial complex, the agency said on Jan. 27.. The operation by the agency's cyber specialists reportedly destroyed the "entire IT infrastructure" of the firm, which presents itself as one of the most modern enterprises in ...

  23. Lloyds Banking Group to cut 1,600 jobs as it shifts to online banking

    Lloyds Banking Group is to cut about 1,600 jobs across its branch network as it continues to shift its business towards online banking. Some 830 new roles will also be part of the strategy ...

  24. Using your Lloyds card abroad: This is what you should know

    If your card is lost or stolen when you're abroad, you must contact Lloyds immediately to report the loss. They'll cancel the card and may be able to issue you some emergency funds - if they're available in your account - to tide you over while you're away. Lost or stolen cards 24/7 contact number: +44 1702 278 270.

  25. Shipping Costs Soar in Wake of Red Sea Attacks

    Marine war risk premiums have soared around 50 fold since before the war, to as high as 1 percent of the value of the ship, although about 0.7 percent appears to be more common. For a ship ...

  26. Lloyds to Cut 1,600 Branch Positions in Online Services Push

    1:05. Lloyds Banking Group Plc is cutting around 1,600 roles across its branches, part of a push by the lender to provide more services online. The lender is also planning to add 830 positions to ...

  27. Russia's wooden airports charm with simple architecture

    There are plans to upgrade the airport infrastructure. Turukhansk Airport (THX), Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. Yeniseysk Airport (EIE), Ulitsa Romashkina, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia; +7 391 956-22-19 ...

  28. Lloyds Banking Group set to close 123 branches in 2024

    Lloyds Banking Group is set to close 123 branches across the UK in 2024 in a blow to Britain's high streets. The group, which includes Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland is moving away from in-person services to online banking through the bank branch closures. Yesterday, Lloyds Banking Group confirmed it was set to axe 1,600 jobs ...