Apple plans ‘more robust’ parental tools after iPhone addiction claims

Apple states it intends to make parental control tools better quality, following investor calls it will need to take action against smartphone addiction in youngsters.

Two investors, with each other controlling $2bn (£1.48bn) in Apple stock, known as out the organization on Monday because of not doing enough to assist mitigate the growing concerns around the side effects of smartphones and social networking around the youthful, advocating it to “play a defining role” within the health insurance and growth and development of children.

In reaction the firm states it “leads the industry” on parental controls. A spokesperson stated: “Apple has always looked out for children, so we strive to produce effective items that inspire, entertain, and educate children whilst helping parents safeguard them online.”

The firm stated it introduced parental controls towards the iPhone in 2008, which now include content and application limitations, data access, privacy settings and password needs.

“We have additional features and enhancements planned for future years, to include functionality making these power tools much more robust,” Apple added.

The investors call may be the latest in a number of Plastic Valley insiders voicing concerns within the lengthy-term impact of technology on children. Smartphone addiction is a element, these guys social networking use. A little assortment of high-profile and pioneering technology executives, including ex-Facebook president Sean Parker, have known as out Facebook along with other social networking firms because of not doing enough and consciously stopping their kids accessing websites like these and services.

“I can control my decision, that is which i don’t use that shit. I’m able to control my kids’ decisions, that is that they’re not permitted to make use of that shit,” stated Chamath Palihapitiya, an old Facebook executive responsible for growth.

Apple didn’t pledge to determine a specialist committee on child development, as advised, nor to create annual reports on progress in order to open its data for researchers around the issue.

However the firm stated: “We think deeply about how exactly our goods are used and also the impact they’ve on users and also the people around them. We take this responsibility seriously and we’re dedicated to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially with regards to protecting kids.”

Apple investors demand action over iPhone ‘addiction’ among children

Two largest investors in Apple are advocating the iPhone maker to do this against smartphone addiction among children over growing concerns concerning the results of technology and social networking around the youth.

Within an open letter to Apple on Monday, New You are able to-based Jana Partners and also the California Condition Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) stated the firm should do more to assist children fight addiction on its devices.

“There is really a developing consensus all over the world including Plastic Valley the potential lengthy-term effects of recent technologies have to be considered in the start, with no company can delegate that responsibility,” stated the investors, who with each other control $2bn of Apple stock.

“Apple can enjoy a defining role in signalling towards the industry that having to pay special focus on the and growth and development of generation x is both good business and also the right factor to complete.Inches

The audience advised Apple to provide tools to assist children avoid addiction and provide parents more choices to safeguard their children’s health through monitoring usage. Apple’s iOS already offers limited parental controls, including limitations on apps, utilization of features for example location discussing and use of some types of content.

However the investors stated that Apple should allow parents in order set age the consumer from the phone on setup, and implement limits on the watch’s screen time, hrs during the day the telephone may be used and block social networking services.

Additionally they suggested that Apple should establish a specialist committee including child development specialists, that ought to produce annual reports, and provide Apple’s vast information to researchers around the issue.

The investors reported several studies on the side effects on children’s physical and mental health brought on by heavy use of smartphones and social networking. These vary from distractions within the classroom and issues around concentrate on educational tasks to greater perils of suicide and depression.

Outdoors letter reflects growing concerns around the lengthy-term impact of technology for example smartphones and social networking on children. Technology firms are yet to openly acknowledge the problems around children as well as their company’s creations, but Plastic Valley heads have began to boost the alarm. Former Facebook president Sean Parker described the website as designed to exploit human vulnerability, saying: “God only knows what it’s doing to the children’s brains.”

Another former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, stated he particularly opted from social networking since it was “eroding the main foundations of methods people behave”.

“I can control my decision, that is which i don’t use that shit. I’m able to control my kids’ decisions, that is that they’re not permitted to make use of that shit,” stated Palihapitiya.

With lots of apps, sites and devices being made to be as addictive as you possibly can to develop user figures and keep eyeballs on screens, youngsters are more and more being either viewed as collateral damage or particularly targeted as generation x of users.

Apple didn’t comment.

Meltdown and Spectre: ‘worst ever’ CPU bugs affect almost all computers

Serious security flaws that may let attackers steal sensitive data, including passwords and banking information, have been discovered in processors created by Apple, AMD and ARM.

The issues, named Meltdown and Spectre, were found by security researchers at Google’s Project Zero along with academic and industry researchers from the 3 countries. Combined they affect just about any modern computer, including smartphones, tablets and Computers all vendors and running just about any operating-system.

Meltdown is “probably among the worst CPU bugs ever found”, stated Daniel Gruss, among the researchers at Graz College of Technology who discovered the flaw.

Q&A

So what can I actually do concerning the Meltdown and Spectre flaws?

Users can perform little to prevent the safety flaws aside from update their computers using the latest security fixes as quickly as possible. Fixes for Linux and Home windows happen to be available. Chromebooks updated to Chrome OS 63, which began moving in mid-December, happen to be protected.

Android devices running the most recent security update, including Google’s Nexus and Pixel smartphones, happen to be protected. Updates are anticipated to become delivered soon. Users of other devices will need to wait for a updates to become pressed out by third-party manufacturers, including Samsung, Huawei and OnePlus.

An update from Apple on precisely what it takes because of its Mac computers and iOS devices is anticipated.

Meltdown is presently considered to mainly affect Apple processors manufactured since 1995, excluding their Itanium server chips and Atom processors before 2013. It might allow online hackers to bypass the hardware barrier between applications operated by users and also the computer’s core memory. Meltdown, therefore, needs a switch to how a operating-system handles memory to repair, which initial speed estimates predict may affect the rate from the machine in a few tasks up to 30%.

The Spectre flaw affects most contemporary processors produced by a number of manufacturers, including Apple, AMD and individuals created by ARM, and potentially enables online hackers to trick otherwise error-free applications into quitting secret information. Spectre is tougher for online hackers to benefit from but can also be harder to repair and will be a bigger issue in the lengthy term, based on Gruss.

Apple and ARM was adamant the issue wasn’t a design flaw, although it may need users to download an area increase their operating-system to repair.

Intel ‘Intel has started supplying software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits,’ stated the organization in statement Photograph: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

“Intel has started supplying software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits,” Apple stated inside a statement, denying that fixes would slow lower computers in line with the company’s chips. “Any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for that average computer user, shouldn’t be significant and will also be mitigated with time.Inches

Google stated it informed the affected companies concerning the Spectre flaw on 1 June 2017 and then reported the Meltdown flaw before 28 This summer 2017. Both Apple and Google stated these were intending to release information on the issues on 9 The month of january, once they stated more fixes could be available, however that their hands have been forced after early reports brought to Apple stock falling by 3.4% on Wednesday.

Google and also the security researchers it labored with stated it wasn’t known whether online hackers had already exploited Meltdown or Spectre which discovering such intrusions could be very hard as it wouldn’t leave any traces in log files.

Dan Guido, leader of cybersecurity talking to firm Trail of Bits, stated he expects online hackers will rapidly develop code they are able to use to produce attacks exploiting the vulnerabilities. He stated: “Exploits of these bugs will be included to hackers’ standard toolkits.”

Researchers stated Apple and Microsoft had patches ready for users for personal computers impacted by Meltdown, while an area can also be readily available for Linux. Microsoft stated it had been while patching its cloud services coupled with released security updates on 3 The month of january for Home windows customers.

Apple didn’t immediately comment.

Google stated that Android devices running the most recent security updates were protected, including its very own Nexus and Pixel devices, which users of Chromebooks would need to install updates.

ARM stated that patches had recently been distributed to the companies’ partners.

AMD stated it believes there “is near zero risk to AMD products at the moment.Inches

Cloud services will also be impacted by the safety problems. Google stated it updated its G Suite and cloud services, however that extra customer action may be required because of its Compute Engine and a few other Cloud Platform systems.

Amazon . com stated basically a “small single-digit percentage” of their Amazon . com Web Services EC2 systems were already protected, however that “customers should also patch their instance operating systems” to become fully protected.

It wasn’t immediately obvious whether Apple would face any significant financial liability as a result of the reported flaw.

“The current Apple problem, if true, may likely not want CPU substitute within our opinion. However everything is fluid,” Hendes Mosesmann of Rosenblatt Securities in New You are able to stated inside a note, adding it might hurt their status.

Apple fixes HomeKit bug that permitted remote unlocking of users’ doorways

Apple continues to be made to fix a burglar hole within its HomeKit smart home system that may have permitted online hackers to unlock users’ smart locks or any other devices.

The bug within iOS 11.2 allowed unauthorised handheld remote control of HomeKit-enabled devices. Such devices include smart lights, plugs along with other gadgets, but additionally includes smart locks and garage doors openers.

An Apple spokesperson stated: “The issue affecting HomeKit users running iOS 11.2 continues to be fixed. The fix temporarily disables remote use of shared users, which is restored inside a software update early in a few days.Inches

The organization stated the temporary fixed is made server side, and therefore users don’t have to do anything whatsoever for this to consider effect, but additionally it breaks some functionality from the system.

The vulnerability, disclosed to 9to5Mac, needed a minumum of one iPad, iPhone or ipod device Touch running the most recent software version iOS 11.2 to possess attached to the iCloud account connected using the HomeKit system. Previous versions of iOS appear to not have been affected. To take advantage of the bug the attackers will have to be aware of current email address connected using the Apple ID from the homeowner and understanding of methods the machine labored.

Experts stated that although difficulties with smart-home systems similar to this impact consumer confidence in smart locks along with other security devices, traditional locks may also be easily undermined with traditional picking techniques.

The safety bug is only the latest in a number of issues affecting Apple’s software on its iPhone and Mac computers. Since November, iPhone and iPad users happen to be plagued with bugs affecting the autocorrect system, including issues typing the term “it” and also the letter “I”, getting it substituted for odd symbols.

Apple seemed to be made to apologise following a serious security flaw that permitted anybody to seize control of the Mac running the most recent form of macOS High Sierra having a blank password was revealed. The organization rushed out a treatment for the safety bug, which in turn broke the file discussing system, which itself needed fixing inside a later software update.

“We greatly regret this error so we apologise to any or all Mac users, for both releasing with this particular vulnerability but for the concern it’s caused. Our customers deserve better,” Apple stated at that time.

iPhone X: most costly Apple smartphone sells in minutes

Apple’s most costly smartphone, the iPhone X, offered in under ten minutes upon being provided for pre-order on Friday morning.

The iPhone X – formally pronounced “10” – costs from £999 with 64GB of storage, topping out at £1,149 with 256GB of storage, that is greater compared to beginning price of three of Apple’s fully fledged computers.

Regardless of the cost tag, demand is high. Their web store experienced server issues within the minutes rigtht after the launch of pre-orders, and also the initial allocation of devices, because of arrive on 3 November, had completely offered out by 8:10am within the United kingdom. Under an hour or so later, the waiting list had extended to pay for the whole first month.

The iPhone X quickly selling out might not be entirely great news for Apple. The organization has apparently been concerned it’ll face severe supply constraints for that iPhone X, having a story in Nikkei Asian Review claiming its annual output was likely to be just 20m units, 1 / 2 of what it really had initially planned. Another report, from Bloomberg, claimed that Apple was made to remove some qc components from its production line to be able to increase output for an acceptable level. Within an unusual move, Apple particularly denied that relate, saying the claim “that Apple has reduced the precision spec for Face ID is totally false”.

The iPhone 8 hasn’t sold in the numbers previous new iPhones have, evidenced by a muted opening day. The iPhone 8 hasn’t offered within the figures previous new iPhones have, as evidenced with a muted opening day’s sales in September. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The prosperity of the iPhone X is just one 1 / 2 of Apple’s concerns for that immediate future. The organization can also be attempting to balance interest in the iPhones 8, the greater conventional smartphones in the selection for 2017. Initial reports suggest the iPhone 8 and eight Plus experienced sluggish sales within their first couple of days on purchase, in comparison to previous iPhone launches.

This time around this past year the iPhone 7 and seven Plus had taken into account 43% of launch quarter sales, based on data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The iPhone 8 and eight Plus take into account just 16% of iPhone sales this quarter, however. The 2-year-old iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus phones offered more units, based on CIRP’s data, creating 24% of iPhone sales, as the 2016 iPhone 7 and seven Plus phones take into account 58% of sales within the quarter to date.

The figures claim that individuals customers who would like what’s perceived as being the very best iPhone on offer are : awaiting the iPhone X, with individuals who’re pleased to accept what’s considered a substandard model deciding to avoid wasting money by purchasing a 1- or more-year-old phone rather from the iPhone 8.

“It appears when Apple announced the the forthcoming iPhone X, it altered the marketplace dynamic, and most likely depressed interest in the iPhone 8 and eight Plus,” stated Mike Levin, co-founding father of CIRP. “Rather than awaiting and purchasing the iPhone 8, it appears as though buyers within this quarter either bought existing models, or made the decision to hold back for iPhone X, later around.Inches

Inflation hits its highest level in five-and-a-half years; MPC right to cut interest rates after Brexit vote says Carney

  • Inflation rises to 3pc, its highest level in five-and-a-half years; the increase will crank up the pressure on the Bank of England to hike interest rates next month to curb inflation
  • RPI remains at its highest since 2012; business rates will jump by 3.9pc next April as a result
  • Sterling sinks as Mark Carney speaks at a select committee; the pound falls 0.7pc against the dollar to below $1.32
  • FTSE 100 nudges higher as the pound retreats; theme park owner Merlin nosedives 20pc after a “difficult” summer of trading, blaming terrorism and bad weather

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4:26PM

Virgin Money insists its credit card business is safer than the bigger banks

Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia

Virgin Money has insisted it has a safer credit card business than Britain’s big banks, amid growing fears over ballooning consumer credit.

The challenger bank’s chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia told analysts today the company had conducted its own “extreme” in-house stress test of its expanding credit card book and found in a downturn it would face fewer problems than its peers.

Last month the Bank of England warned lenders they risked losing as much as £30bn on personal lending if the economy took a turn for the worse, with as much as a quarter of credit cards defaulting.

But Ms Gadhia said Virgin’s own credit card business – which has grown balances to £2.9bn – would fare better than its peers.

Read Iain Withers’ full report here

3:36PM

Dow Jones on course for another record finish; US industrial production rebounds

The Dow Jones has nudged up 0.1pc

US markets have opened and the Dow Jones has nudged up into positive territory, leaving it on course for another record finish. 

The index has been dragged up by UnitedHealth’s 4.8pc jump on hopes that a decline in medical costs at the health insurer could boost full-year figures.

There’s a bit of economics data to update you with from the States this afternoon. 

Industrial production growth bounced back in September to rise by 0.3pc after being disrupted by hurricane season the previous month. 

Paul Ashworth, chief US economist, said there were still “signs of disruption evident last month, leaving scope for a much bigger rebound in production in October”.

He added:

“Overall, with global trade and economic growth booming and the dollar still down substantially from its peak early this year, the outlook for US manufacturing looks bright. That optimism comes through in the upbeat survey evidence. As a result, we expect solid gains in manufacturing output in the fourth quarter.”

3:06PM

Revolution Bars suitor leaves empty handed as investors reject £100m bid

Investors have left Revolution Bars shaken after rejecting a cash offer for the company

Shares in Revolution Bars dropped as much as 8pc after a second potential suitor in two weeks was left unable to secure a deal.

Stonegate, the owner of the Slug & Lettuce chain, had bid 203p a share for its rival, valuing the chain at £100m. But it failed to secure shareholder support for its cash offer, sending the target’s shares down to 176p.

Owners of just 60pc of Revolution’s shares voted in favour of the Stonegate bid at each of the two separate Court and General meetings held by the company to allow investors to express their view on the deal.

To be successful, the bid needed 75pc of shareholders to vote in favour.

Read Bradley Gerrard’s full report here

2:27PM

Asos profits double as overseas growth offsets weak pound

Asos makes two thirds of its sales overseas

Asos profits have doubled in the past year as the online retailer’s rampant overseas expansion allowed it to storm past its struggling British high street rivals.

The fashion site has delivered a 145pc jump in pre-tax profits to a record £80m while group sales have surged by 33pc to £1.9bn in the year to August 31.

Asos’ upbeat numbers are partly down to the rapid consumer shift from traditional bricks and mortar shopping to clicks on mobile devices. This has resulted in the online fashion market growing at twice the rate of the overall fashion sector over the last five years.

However, Nick Beighton, Asos boss, said that it was “not enough to just be online”. He added: £There has been a continual channel shift as twentysomethings use their mobile phones, but you can’t just be digital, you’ve got to be selling what people want to buy.”

Read Ashley Armstrong’s full report here

2:09PM

Pearson stems decline in key US market

Pearson chief executive John Fallon is under pressure

The troubled education giant Pearson has suffered a further decline in its core American textbook business in the third quarter but avoided its worst fears, to the relief of investors.

On the back of a string of profit warnings, Pearson said the improved trend meant it could narrow its full-year profit forecast to the upper end of the range.

The company, which has cast off media assets such as the Financial Times to focus on education in recent years, now expects a minimum adjusted operating profit of £576m. The previous lowest prediction was £546m.

The improvement reflects a 5 percentage point cut to Pearson’s expected tax rate for the year to 16pc following the “favourable outcome of certain historical tax issues”.

Read Christopher Williams’ full report here

1:45PM

Inflation hits 3pc as cost of living squeeze intensifies 

Prices jumped by 3pc in the past year, the fastest rise in more than five years as imported inflation and higher energy prices pushed up the cost of living.

Food prices climbed as inflation in staples such as bread, rice and meat accelerated in September, while transport costs also rose as petrol became more expensive.

Computer games and theatre tickets also dragged up the consumer price index, the Office for National Statistics said.

Read Tim Wallace’s full report here

1:16PM

Carney grilling ends

Bank of England governor Mark Carney

Final question is about the gender pay gap and he replies that the gap is 24pc on a median basis at the Bank of England and 21pc on mean basis.

He says they are in the middle of a deliberate strategy of changing this at the central bank.

And with that, it’s over. Nothing much new there to be perfectly honest. He defended, as he always does, quantitative easing and the interest rate cut taken shortly after the Brexit vote while also allaying fears about ballooning household debt.

Sterling took a bit of a battering during that appearance, sinking 0.7pc to below $1.32 against the dollar and 0.3pc against a basket of the leading currencies.

1:03PM

Carney on QE: We’re clean and not addicted

We’ve move onto quantitative easing and Mr Carney is given a quote comparing it to heroin.

Extending the metaphor, he replies: “We’re clean and not addicted to QE or will go through withdrawal symptoms.”

He adds that the Bank of England will not just unwind for fun and prove a point, adding that the central bank will observe the Fed’s balance sheet unwinding programme.

12:50PM

Household debt only requires macro-prudential response

When asked if he is too relaxed on household debt, Mr Carney says that the Bank of England is taking action on household debt but to an appropriate degree. It only merits a macro-prudential response, adding that “we’re never relaxed about anything”. 

On Government fiscal policy, he says that he will not and cannot give his opinion and when asked if Help to Buy has pushed up house prices, Mr Carney says that it hasn’t had a multiplier effect on supply.

12:39PM

Carney: We shouldn’t take the lead on Brexit from the markets

Moving onto household debt, Mr Carney is relatively upbeat. He explains away fears of a car finance bubble and says that the quality of “borrowers has gone up substantially”. 

We shouldn’t take the lead from the markets on Brexit given its complexity, he adds. It matters more how households and businesses react.

12:20PM

New BoE policymakers lean on the dovish side

New deputy governor Sir Ramsden is not ready to vote for an interest rate hike

I missed new Bank of England policymakers Silvana Tenreyo and Sir Dave Ramsden’s grillings this morning but fortunately Reuters was watching. Here’s what happened:

New Bank of England rate-setter Silvana Tenreyro said she was not ready to vote to raise the Bank’s record low interest rates in November although she might do so in the coming months if inflation pressure builds in Britain’s labour market.

“My view is that we are approaching a tipping pint at which it would be necessary or justified to remove some of that stimulus,” she told British lawmakers on Tuesday.

New deputy governor Dave Ramsden said he was not close to voting for an interest rate hike, raising some questions for investors about when the BoE would make its widely expected first hike in more than a decade. 

Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden said he was not part of the majority of BoE policymakers who believe a rate hike is likely to be needed “in the coming months” because he saw little sign of inflation pressure building in Britain’s labor market.

They’re still questioning Mr Carney but the debate has centered on Brexit on which the governor can’t give many certain answers. They’ve just moved onto household debt. I must admit this select committee is lacking some teeth, he’s having quite an easy ride.

12:05PM

Sterling sinks against the dollar as Carney speaks

Since Mr Carney started speaking the benchmark 10-year Gilt yield has fallen 3.2 basis points to 1.30pc. Meanwhile on the currency markets, against a basket of the leading currencies, the pound has sunk to a 0.2pc loss for the session while against the dollar sterling has slipped 0.6pc to $1.32.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell commented on the appearances by MPC members this morning:

“There were conflicting messages from the BoE this Tuesday. The central bank’s newest deputy governor, Sir Dave Ramsden, stated he wasn’t one of the MPC members who said they were close to raising rates last month. In contrast, policymaker Silvana Tenreyro said she would be ‘minded to vote for a bank rate increase’ if the UK’s data justified it.  

“As for head honcho Mark Carney, he dismissed a question from the Treasury Committee asking whether it would be wise to raise borrowing costs in order to give the BoE room to cut in the case of a recession, arguing that it isn’t ‘appropriate or necessary given that policy can move quite nimbly’.”

11:51AM

Carney warns against moving clearing out of London; BoE working on hard Brexit contingency plan

They move onto the subject of clearing and Mr Carney warns against moving clearing out of London, saying that fragmenting European clearing would create costs for the European real economy.

He adds that the Bank of England is working on a contingency plan for a hard exit without any transition period but believes there will be a transition deal.

11:35AM

Carney: Interest rate cut after Brexit was not unnecessary 

Mr Carney disagrees with a select committee member arguing that the interest rate cut after Brexit was unnecessary.

The pound has largely been determined by the prospects of the trade deal with the European Union. It was the markets judgement on how Brexit will affect real incomes. 

That will ruffle a few feathers.

Raising rates now to potentially support the economy later with a cut is not consistent monetary policy, he says to another question.

He also reiterates that the MPC believes that a hike in interest rates in the coming months will be appropriate.

11:27AM

Watch Mark Carney here

11:26AM

Mark Carney Treasury Committee appearance begins

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has just started his appearance at the Treasury Commitee.

He said that the Bank of England expects inflation to peak in October, admitting that it is likely that he will be writing a letter to the Chancellor explaining why inflation is so far from the 2pc target rate.

He emphasises that the effects of monetary policy takes time to feed through, adding that some factors pushing up inflation are out of the central bank’s control such as rising oil prices.

11:19AM

Attention turns to tomorrow’s wage growth reading

All eyes will turn to tomorrow’s wage growth reading, which is expected to remain flat and lag far behind inflation at 2.1pc. Back to the reaction to today’s figures.

Capital Economics’ UK economist Paul Hollingsworth believes that the Bank of England “will probably be focussed more on tomorrow’s wage growth figures for any signs that domestic cost pressures are building”.

He added:

“Nonetheless, the fact that this is the last set of inflation figures before the key MPC meeting on 2nd November, they will be a key factor in the Committee’s thinking. What’s more, September’s inflation figures are used for the uprating of some benefits.”

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, explains how today’s figures affect the Lifetime Allowance:

“This month inflation figures are uniquely important because they are used by the government to calculate the rise in the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) for the first time. The increase for the LTA in 2018/19 will be £1,030,000 based on today’s figures, and following a series of reductions it is welcome that the base-level is set to start growing again, even if on the surface the numbers aren’t large.

“Despite being small, this is a complex area, so those affected should seek financial advice to make sure their pension is protected from additional tax charges”

A quick sitrep on the pound. Sterling has nudged a little further down against the dollar to a 0.3pc loss for the session at $1.3250 while against the euro it remains 0.2pc higher at €1.1270.

10:54AM

Inflation reaction: Painful squeeze on consumers will ease next year

Inflation will exceed 3pc in October before falling back towards the 2pc target by the end of 2018, according to Pantheon Macro

Just a reminder that Mark Carney and two other Bank of England policymakers are currently appearing in a Treasury Select Committee and we’ll bring you the latest from Parliament as it comes.

Let’s have a look at what the experts made of today’s figures.

Pantheon Macro UK economist Samuel Tombs believes that inflation will slip below 2pc by 2019, meaning that the MPC will be discouraged from raising interest rates more than once in the next 12 months.

He added: 

“Inflation looks set to fall sharply in 2018, now that retailers have nearly completed sterling-related price rises.

“Domestically-generated inflation has remained muted; indeed, inflation in the services sector was just 2.7% in September, well below its 3.7% average in the decade before the recession.”

EY ITEM Club’s chief economic advisor Howard Archer believes that it would take a surprisingly weak earnings figure tomorrow and particularly poor third quarter GDP growth to stop the MPC from lifting interest rates next month.

The painful squeeze on consumers will begin to gradually ease during 2018, he added. 

10:20AM

Inflation key takeaways

  1. Inflation nudged up to 3pc in September, its highest level since April 2012. Inflation remaining far above the Bank of England’s 2pc target rate will crank up the pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates at next month’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.
  2. The ONS said that rising prices on food and recreational goods along with transport costs were the main factors putting upward pressure on the reading.
  3. RPI remained flat at 3.9pc, an almost six-year high, meaning that business rates (which are determined by today’s figure) will rise substantially next April. This “will be the last straw” for many SMEs, said the Federation of Small Businesses.
  4. The increase in the headline figure was forecast by economists and thus the pound is unchanged following the release, remaining 0.2pc lower against the dollar this morning at $1.3260.
9:58AM

RPI reading will heap more misery on small businesses

Although the Retail Price Index reading came in flat at 3.9pc, a slightly softer figure than economists were expecting, it will heap more misery on small businesses, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

Today’s RPI reading means that business rates bills will rise by 3.9pc next April and that increase “will be the last straw many” SMEs, its national chairman Mike Cherry said.

He added:

“Today’s RPI figure follows six months of business rates misery for our small business community. Since April’s bruising revaluation we’ve had the staircase tax, introduction of an unworkable appeals platform and chronic delays to the Chancellor’s £435 million relief package. A near four per cent bill increase next April, on top of losing year one transitional caps, will be the last straw for many.

“The Chancellor should give careful consideration to his inaugural Autumn Budget. The last thing our businesses need is new tax increases or loss of entrepreneurial reliefs.”

9:46AM

3pc inflation turns up the heat on the Bank of England; sterling largely unchanged

Mr Carney will not be dusting off the parchment and pen to write the chancellor to explain why inflation has veered so far from the Bank of England’s 2pc target rate and he has done it by the skin of his teeth.

While the rise to 3pc was expected, inflation hitting its highest point in five-and-a-half years will  turn up the heat on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. 

The central bank’s policymakers have dropped some very strong hints in the last month or so on raising interest rates but this combined with reasonably solid economics data of late will make it very difficult for the MPC to leave the base rate unchanged in November’s meeting.

Meanwhile on the currency markets, sterling has barely budged an inch after today’s headline CPI figure came in line with economists’ forecast 

9:34AM

Inflation hits a five-and-a-half-year high

Inflation increased to 3pc in September, its highest level in five-and-a-half years. The reading was in line with economists’ forecasts but will crank up the pressure on Bank of England policymakers to raise interest rates at the next Monetary Policy Committee in November. More to follow…

9:17AM

Merlin shares plunge after terror fears hit attractions

Shares in the Legoland owner have plunged today

Shares in the owner of Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers tumbled in early trade as it revealed the impact of recent terror attacks on trading in the UK.

Merlin’s latest trading figures confirmed the hit from terrorist attacks on UK attractions in the peak summer months, which left group like-for-like revenue growth almost grinding to a halt, edging up 0.3pc in the 40 weeks to October 7.

Poor weather across the UK and Northern Europe and extreme weather in Italy and Florida were also to blame, according to Merlin. Shares plunged 19pc to 365p.

Merlin also unveiled a deal to roll out new Peppa Pig attractions worldwide. The agreement with Entertainment One – which owns the rights to the popular children’s cartoon character – is to develop new attractions and themed accommodation based on the pre-school favourite.

Read the full report here

9:15AM

Inflation preview: what the experts say

Let’s have a quick round-up of what the experts are saying ahead of today’s inflation figures.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson explains how Bank of England governor Mark Carney could be put in an embarrassing spot this morning:

“If CPI rises by more than 1% above the banks 2% target Governor Carney will have the unenviable task of having to write to the Chancellor explaining why inflation is above target, and what the Bank intends to do about it.  

“He can’t very well say, well Phil it turns out that rate cut last year wasn’t such a good idea, but don’t worry we’ve got it in hand and we’re going to put rates back to where they were beforehand.”   

It could be a busy day for Mr Carney will all this letter writing and select committees. Although I imagine he’s had that inflation letter saved in his drafts for some time now.

 Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell provided this preview:

“That’s because investors are eagerly awaiting September’s inflation reading, which is set to see the consumer price index finally hit a 5 year high of 3.0%. Such a reading would put even more pressure on the Bank of England to raise rates, though that hawkish urge may be tempered by the continued fall in real wages (set to be confirmed tomorrow) and a sharp month-on-month drop in retail sales (coming on Thursday).  

“For now, however, the pound is focused on inflation. Cable is up 0.1%, though admittedly half a cent away from the $1.33 levels it was tickling on Monday morning, while against the euro sterling has climbed 0.3%.”

8:54AM

Inflation expected to rise to a five-and-a-half-year high

Some have taken Bank of England policymakers’ sudden hawkish turn on interest rates with suspicion but today’s inflation figures are expected to bolster the consensus view that the Monetary Policy Committee will pull the trigger on interest rates next month.

The headline CPI figure is expected to rise to its highest level in five-and-a-half years and make an increase in the central bank’s base rate almost a done deal.

With no inflation report being released in conjunction with the headline CPI figure, there will be no press conference following the release but Mark Carney will be appearing in front of the Treasury Select Committee later today, who I’m sure won’t skirt around the issue.

Today will also be the best opportunity yet to size up the newest members of the MPC,  Silvana Tenreyro and Sir David Ramsden, who will be appearing alongside Mr Carney.

8:25AM

Agenda: Inflation figures dominate markets’ focus; Merlin plunges 20pc on flat revenue growth

It could be a rollercoaster day for Merlin Entertainment shares

UK inflation figures steal the limelight this morning with the headline CPI reading expected to nudge up to 3pc and confirm that the squeeze on UK households has become a little tighter.

If inflation pushes any higher, Bank of England governor Mark Carney will be put in the embarrassing predicament of having to write a letter to chancellor Philip Hammond explaining why the headline reading has strayed so far from the central bank’s 2pc target rate.

Combined with tomorrow’s wage growth reading, today’s figure is expected to crank up the pressure on the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee to reverse last year’s emergency interest rate cut and push up the base rate to 0.5pc in November’s meeting.

Ahead of the figures, the pound is having a mixed morning on the currency markets, dipping 0.2pc to $1.3265 against the dollar and nudging up 0.2pc to €1.1271 against the euro.

On the retreating FTSE 100, theme park operator Merlin Entertainments has nosedived 20pc after enduring a “difficult” summer of trading. The Thorpe Park owner blamed terrorism and bad weather and admitted that revenue growth for 2017 is now expected to be “approximately flat”.

At the other end, publisher Pearson, which has suffered from a string of profit warnings of late, has popped 7pc after reporting that full-year operating profit will be in the upper end of estimates.

Interim results: B.P. Marsh & Partners

Full-year results: Utilitywise, Bioventix, Orchard Funding, Bellway, ASOS, DotDigital Group, Genedrive

Trading statement: SEGRO, Moneysupermarket.com, Merlin Entertainments, Pearson, Mediclinic International, Virgin Money, Evraz, BHP Billiton

AGM: Frontier Developments

Economics: PPI m/m (UK), RPI y/y (UK), CPI y/y (UK), HPI y/y (UK), Import Prices m/m (US) Industrial Production m/m (US), NAHB Housing Market Index (US), ZEW Economic Sentiment (EU), Final CPI y/y (EU)