Putin's ships have registered gas deliveries to China to shore up the war economy

Thanks for joining me. Bank of England executives have urged the Bank of England to cut interest rates soon to boost the economy as „depressing” confidence fell to a four-year low.

The Institute of Directors' (IoD) latest economic confidence index, which measures employers' confidence in the UK economy next year, fell to its lowest level since August in December.

A reading of minus 28 was minus 21 in November, close to the 2023 low of minus 30 recorded in June.

According to IoD policy director Roger Barker, employers ended 2023 in a „relatively depressed place”.

He said: “In the coming months, the bank will consider its next step in terms of interest rates.

„Based on the evidence from this survey, an initial cut in interest rates would be justified to help jump-start business confidence.”

Money markets are betting that the Bank of England's first interest rate cut will happen by May.

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What happened overnight

Asian stocks fell after Wall Street and the City of London started 2024 with a slump.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1pc to 16,618.50, weighed down by a 2pc drop in technology shares, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.1pc to 2,966.13.

Shares of Chinese gaming companies rose, with Tencent Holdings and Netizens both adding 1pc.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.4 percent to 7,523.20. South Korea's benchmark fell 2.3 percent to 2,607.31, amid a short-selling ban around a 19-month high on Tuesday.

Bangkok's SET was down less than 0.1pc and India's Sensex was down 0.4pc.

Japanese markets are closed for the New Year holiday.

The S&P 500 index of US stocks was down 0.6pc yesterday at 4,742.83. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones industrial average of 30 leading U.S. companies rose 0.1 percent to 37,715.04, while the Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted toward technology stocks, fell 1.6 percent to 14,765.94.

The dollar rose against major currencies as the yield on 10-year Treasuries rose 7.3 basis points to 3.933pc – a sign yesterday that markets were little optimistic about interest rate cuts in 2024.

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