FTSE 100 STARTS THE YEAR WELL AS TRAVEL STOCKS RISE

UK equities started the year on a positive note as fears of the Omicron variant eased. The FTSE 100 index rose by more than 1% and is slightly below its highest level in two years. Travel stocks like IAG and EasyJet and hospitality groups like Intercontinental Hotels were the best performers in the index. This rally happened after signs emerged that the number of Covid-19 cases has started to drop. Also, there are signs that the Omicron variant is not as dangerous as previous variants. As a result, the Boris Johnson administration will likely not impose further restrictions. 

The British pound was little changed after the UK published the latest consumer borrowing data. According to the Bank of England (BOE), mortgage approvals dropped slightly to 66.96k in November. As a result, the total lending to individuals jumped from 1.15 billion pounds in October to 3.69 billion pounds in November. Additionally, consumer credit jumped to 1.233 billion pounds. Meanwhile, according to Markit, the country’s manufacturing sector did well in December. The final figure for December came in at 57.9, which was slightly higher than the previous estimate of 57.6.

The price of crude oil was little changed on Tuesday as traders waited for the outcome of the monthly meeting by OPEC+. The cartel is expected to increase its February supply by about 400k barrels. This is in line with what the organization guided in the previous meetings. This means that they have already restarted about 2 thirds of the production that they halted in 2020 at the peak of the pandemic. In a recent report, the technical committee of the cartel expects that there will be a 1.4 million surplus barrels of oil per day in the first quarter.

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