Cost of living: McDonald’s, Kraft Heinz and Reckitt raise prices, as gas soars – as it happened

Last modified: 02: 38 PM GMT+0

End of the 99p cheeseburger as fast food chain warns ‘we’re living through incredibly challenging times’

Closing summary

Time to recap....

Consumer-focused companies have been raising their prices sharply, concluding that customers will keep stumping up for their wares despite the cost of living squeeze.

McDonalds made the most eye-catching move, lifting the price of the popular cheeseburger over the £1 mark - in a 20% hike from 99p to £1.19.

The fast food chain pointed out that this super-size increase was the first in 14 years, as it bowed to pressures from higher input costs such as food and energy.

But other products are going up by 10p to 20p each, which will put more strain on customers.

Reckitt Benckiser, the firm behind health and hygiene brands from Durex to Dettol, has hiked its prices by 9.7% in the last quarter, and still saw sales volumes rise.

Sales of its baby formula products surged, due to shortages in the US.

And Kraft Heinz put up its prices by 12.4%, having been hit by rising costs for raw materials.

Both Reckitt and Heinz have lifted their forecasts for the year, after their price rises helped them beat expectations.

Shoppers are already suffering higher prices, with shop price inflation hitting the highest level since at least 2005 this month. Fresh food soared, driven up by rising charges for fertiliser, animal feed and transport.

Gas prices have surged, as Russian supplies to Europe slowed to a relative trickle. Nord Stream 1’s output halved today to just 20% of capacity, with Moscow blaming technical problems.

Russia delivered less gas to Europe on Wednesday in a further escalation of an energy stand-off between Moscow and the European Union that will make it harder, and costlier, for the bloc to fill up storage ahead of the winter heating season.

— Jennymanydots (@jenstilmanydots) July 27, 2022

The Dutch wholesale gas price for August , the European benchmark, jumped 9% to 205 euros per megawatt hour on Wednesday, up around 412% from a year ago.

— Jennymanydots (@jenstilmanydots) July 27, 2022

Analysts have warned that home energy bills in the UK could soar to £3,850 from January, with wholesale gas prices at their highest level since March today.

But some industry insiders suggest bills may ‘only’ rise to £3,300 in early 2023, from around £2,000 per year today.

But some commodity prices have dropped. Mining company Rio Tinto reported a fall in earnings, as weaker iron ore price hit profits.

Here are more of today’s stories:

Orders at US factories for long-lasting goods jumped 1.9% in June, calming fears of a recession.

June’s durable goods orders were stronger than expected, partly due to more demand for new cars and military aircraft.

Yesterday was “what is a recession day!” Today, “reality” - durable goods orders rose 1.9% in June, and are up 10.9% from a year ago. Big ticket capital goods (the machines that make the machines) were up 9% in Q2. These orders are leading indicators! Best recession ever!

— Brian Wesbury (@wesbury) July 27, 2022

US Durable Goods Orders Jun P: 1.9% (est -0.4%; prevR 0.8%)
Headline durable goods crushes expectations fueled by transport orders; business investment above expectations as well which is supportive for 2QGPD #GDP

— Neil Sethi (@neilksethi) July 27, 2022

Kraft Heinz lifts prices by over 12%

Food group Kraft Heinz has also lifted its prices sharply, adding to inflationary pressures on households.

Prices in the last quarter were 12.4% higher than a year ago, it reported today, as the company looked to mitigate rising input costs.

This helped ketchup and baked bean giant to beat analyst expectations. Although sales volumes fell 2.3%, higher prices meant that organic net sales were up over 10%.

It has also raised its annual organic sales growth forecast today, another sign that consumer giants are confident customers will stomach higher prices.

Kraft Heinz CEO and board chair Miguel Patricio says:

“Though the environment remains fluid, we are better able to anticipate dynamic conditions, adapt to this constantly changing environment, and demonstrate our resiliency against new challenges.”

Kraft Heinz briefly fell out with Tesco this summer, with its products vanishing from the supermarket shelves in a row over pricing.

Shares in Google parent company Alphabet have jumped 5% after it reported last night that its search and cloud businesses had fared well despite growing economic pressures, which pushed revenue growth to a two-year low.

The New York stock market has opened higher, as traders brace for another hike in US interest rates later today.

The Dow Jones industrial average of 30 major stocks is up 0.5% or 157 points at 31,918, while the broader S&P 500 has jumped over 1%.

The communications, technology and consumer-discretionary sectors are the top risers.

Here's how the major U.S indexes opened trading today

Dow Jones $DIA opened at $31,902.79 up 0.44%
S&P 500 $SPY opened at $3,956.98 up 0.92%
NASDAQ Composite $QQQ opened at $11,751.06 up 1.63%

— Stock Market News (@StockMKTNewz) July 27, 2022

Lloyd's insurers are preparing to cover Ukraine grain, says chairman

Farmers harvest a wheat field in the Ukrainian Kharkiv region this month.
Farmers harvest a wheat field in the Ukrainian Kharkiv region this month. Photograph: Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images

Lloyd’s of London insurers and brokers are preparing to provide cover for grain shipments from Ukraine and are likely to announce their plans shortly, the commercial insurance market’s chairman has said.

Bruce Carnegie-Brown told Reuters:

“Following the agreement between Russia and Ukraine on the export of grain, we’re working quite hard with market participants to make sure we can develop policies that can support it,”

“We are expecting to see the announcement from brokers and underwriters of some products that will support this in the next few days.”

Russia and Ukraine signed a deal on Friday to reopen grain and fertiliser exports that have been blocked by the war.

Although Russia attacked the port of Odesa just hours later, Ukraine said on Monday it hopes to start exporting grain from its ports this week.

Insurance premiums to go into the broader Black Sea area have, understandably, risen sharply since the invasion, but insurers could still provide cover for grain shipments, if the agreement on exports doesn’t collapse.

“It is crucial that the agreement holds,” Carnegie-Brown tells Reuters, adding.

“A number of mines have already been planted in the Black Sea - insurers can get their arms around that but they wouldn’t be able to get their arms around serious breaches of the agreement.”


Shipping costs have been dropping this week, which could be a sign that economic activity is cooling.

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index fell for the third straight session on Wednesday, down 2.6% to a two-week low as rates across vessel segments declined.

Minder groei = lagere vrachtprijzen. De Baltic Dry Index, die de kosten van het verschepen van goederen wereldwijd meet, daalt 1,5% tot 2.114 punten. De capesize index (vervoerskost voor ijzererts en steenkoolvan 150.000 ton)daalde 3,7% tot het laagste peil sinds 11 juli ⬇️

— Tom Simonts (@TSimonts) July 25, 2022

UK energy bills could hit £3,850/year in January

Home energy bills in the UK could soar to £3,850 per year from January, after Russia further squeezed Europe’s gas supplies.

That’s according to a new forecast today that would spell further misery for people already struggling to afford gas and electricity.

The prediction, which some industry sources said should be treated with caution, follows a surge in European gas prices, as Russia cut flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

The energy-focused management consultancy BFY said it now expected October’s price cap to hit £3,420, while the subsequent rise in January could be as high as £3,850.

That would mean home energy bills would have tripled in the space of a year, given that the cap was set at £1,271 at the beginning of 2022.

BFY said the average customer could end up “facing a bill of £500 in January alone”.

You can now expect to pay over £500 for you energy in January alone!

— Gemma Berwick (@gemma_buk) July 27, 2022

Here’s the full story, by my colleague Rob Davies:

Today’s soaring wholesale gas prices underline that winter bills could rise extremely steeply, hitting consumers and businesses in the UK and across Europe.


— Vernon Ward (@FCACF10) July 27, 2022

France could provide Germany 20 terawatt hours of gas, or 2% of German consumption, during winter months if needed in the context of the conflict in Ukraine, French energy ministry officials said today, according to Reuters.

Reuters adds:

A standoff between Europe and Moscow since the Russian invasion of Ukraine has exposed the bloc’s reliance on Russian gas and sparked a frantic search for alternative energy sources.

Germany, Europe’s top economy and its largest importer of Russian gas, has been particularly hit by supply cuts since mid-June and is preparing for all scenarios including a complete stop to Russian gas supplies.

Over in the US, mortgage demand has fallen for the fourth week in a row.

Applications for a loan to purchase a home fell 1% for the week, and were 18% lower than the same week a year ago, as rising borrowing costs and a slowing economy hits the housing market.

Althogh more housing supply is coming onto the market, borrowing costs have risen as the Federal Reserve lifted rates, while prices remain high and inflation is hitting confidence.

🇺🇸 Mortgage purchase applications declined for the 4th straight week, reaching the lowest level since April 2020.

— Ricardo Pereira 🇧🇷🥊 (@ricardopeireira) July 27, 2022

The chief executive of Credit Suisse has resigned after a tumultuous two-year tenure during which the Swiss lender was beset by a string of scandals and financial losses.

The bank confirmed on Wednesday that Thomas Gottstein was stepping down and would be replaced by the head of its asset management division, Ulrich Körner, in an a move intended to solidify the bank’s strategic shift away from investment banking.

It marks the latest high-level departure at the bank, which also lost its chairman – the former Lloyds Banking Group boss António Horta-Osório in January after he twice broke Covid-19 regulations.

📈 December 2022 futures in Dutch Nat Gas.

Up 11.4% on the day, and grim.

— PiQ  (@PriapusIQ) July 27, 2022

The energy crisis is already pushing the eurozone into recession, Goldman Sachs predicts.

Goldman economists estimate that eurozone GDP will fall by 0.1% in the third quarter of the year, and another 0.2% in October-December.

Disruptions in energy supplies from Russia is a key factor, along with the end of the rebound in service sector growth, Italy’s latest political crisis, and the weakening global economy.

Goldman’s team says:

“Looking across countries, we have Germany and Italy in clear recession in the second half, while Spain and France continue to grow,”

“The risks to our forecast are skewed toward a sharper recession in the event of an even more severe disruption of gas flows, a renewed period of sovereign stress or a US recession.”

Goldman sachs sees euro area recession starting by September

— 🅰🅻🅴🆂🆂🅸🅾 (@AlessioUrban) July 27, 2022

⚠️ Goldman Sachs:

“Looking across countries, we have Germany and Italy in clear recession in the second half, while Spain and France continue to grow,”

"“The risks to our forecast are skewed toward a sharper recession"

— PiQ  (@PriapusIQ) July 27, 2022

Yesterday the IMF warned that the global economy could soon be teetering on the brink of recession, as growth stalls in the US, China and the eurozone.

Fears of gas shortages and rationing this winter are hammering consumer confidence in Germany, increasing the risk of recession.

Gas price anticipation shock: GfK German consumer sentiment Index fell to a new all time low pointing to a recession in H2.

— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) July 27, 2022

Full story: McDonald’s UK raises price of cheeseburger for first time in 14 years

McDonald’s has announced a supersized price increase, putting up the price of a cheeseburger by a fifth to £1.19 with immediate effect.

The chain blamed its first cheeseburger price hike in 14 years on soaring costs and said other big price increases were on the horizon.

The chief executive of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, Alistair Macrow, said it was committed to selling food at affordable prices but cost pressures meant it was having to “make some tough choices”.

He said: “This summer our restaurants will be adding between 10 and 20p to a number of menu items impacted most by inflation. From today we’ll be increasing the price of our cheeseburger for the first time in over 14 years, taking it from 99p to £1.19.

“We understand that any price increases are not good news, but we have delayed and minimised these changes for as long as we could.”

McDonald’s said some menu prices would be unaffected and that they would continue to vary across its 1,300 UK restaurants, because the majority are run by franchisees.

It is expected that its McFlurry desserts will be among the items affected by the price rises, and that the cost of the “go large” option – sizing up from a medium drink and fries on a meal deal – will double to 60p.

Quitting Russia is costing British American Tobacco almost £1bn.

The tobacco firm is taking a £957m charge due to its planned transfer of BAT’s Russian business to a local operator following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

This pushed BAT’s half-year earnings down 25% lower.

But, the Lucky Strike cigarette maker is sticking to its full-year guidance after reporting better than expected first half revenue and adjusted operating margins on the back of booming demand for its vaping and oral nicotine products and higher prices.


Gas price rises accelerate as Russia cuts flows

Back in the energy markets, gas prices are climbing higher on fears of winter shortages.

The British wholesale gas contract for October-December delivery jumped 32% today, Reuters reports, and the European benchmark for the first quarter of 2023 has risen 10%.

As flagged earlier, contracts for today, tomorrow, and the summer months have also leapt. Prices are soaring as Gazprom follows through on its threat to halve gas flows to just 20% of full capacity through its Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

The FT points out that the European benchmark TTF contract has reached €220 a megawatt hour, leaving it on track to hit a new record closing high, exceeding the previous peak in the immediate wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Kit Juckes of French bank Société Générale explains:

As the flow of gas between Russia and Germany drops again, prices have risen above the highs they reached at the start of the war in Ukraine.

Prices for European and US natural gas, and for Brent, rebased to 100 at the start of 2020, pre-Covid
Prices for European and US natural gas, and for Brent, rebased to 100 at the start of 2020, pre-Covid Photograph: Societe Generale

Juckes adds:

The US is now paying 5 times as much for its gas as it was, but Europe is paying 18 times. Economists are scrambling to update estimates of the economic impact, but two things are clear, one bad and one slightly more encouraging. The first is that growth is going to be substantially slower than expected.

The second is that the response has been significant in terms of building capacity to import LNG from the US, reduce demand, and find other sources of energy (Germany is even talking about restarting nuclear power plants).

Breakfast meals, main meals, large coffees and McNugget share boxes are among the menu items which could become up to 20p more expensive, a spokesperson for McDonald’s has told Sky News.

Salads and wraps are unlikely to be affected.

McDonald's increases price of cheeseburger for first time in 14 years

— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 27, 2022

McDonald’s adds that it remains focused on providing “the best combination of choice and value that we can in these extraordinary times”, despite deciding to lift many items by up to 20p.

Yesterday, McDonald’s said it was considering adding more discounted menu options, as the cost of living squeeze was leading lower-income consumers to “trade-down” to cheaper items.

But... the chain also beat Wall Street forecasts yesterday, with its same-store sales rose 9.7% in the second quarter of this year as consumers kept eating out.

🇺🇸 McDonald's earnings beat estimates, fueled by price hikes

— Neil Saunders (@NeilRetail) July 26, 2022

McDonald's 99p cheeseburger no more as fast food chain raises prices

Fast food chain McDonald’s is hiking its prices, including the first rise in the cost of a cheeseburger in 14 years.

The company told customers this morning that its popular cheeseburger will now rise from 99p to £1.19, as the company passes on rising costs.

First cheeseburger price rise for 14 years at McDonald’s 😧🍔

— Bryan Roberts (@BryanRoberts72) July 27, 2022

Alistair Macrow, CEO of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, told customers in an email that the company, its franchisees, and its suppliers are all feeling the impact of rising inflation such as food and energy costs.

Macrow says:

We know things are tough right now. We’re living through incredibly challenging times and we’re all seeing the cost of everyday items, such as food and energy, increase in a way many of us have never experienced.

And this means many items at McDonald’s are going to cost more, as Macrow explained:

This summer, our restaurants will be adding between 10p and 20p to a number of the menu items impacted most by inflation. From today, we’ll be increasing the price of our cheeseburger for the first time in over 14 years, taking it from 99p to £1.19.

Some prices remain unaffected, and some will continue to vary across our restaurants. We understand that any price increases are not good news, but we have delayed and minimised these changes for as long as we could.

A cheeseburger from McDonald's will now cost 20% more

— Liverpool Echo (@LivEchonews) July 27, 2022

Inflation continuing to bite:

McDonalds: "From today, we’ll be increasing the price of our cheeseburger for the first time in over 14 years, taking it from 99p to £1.19"

— Newsquawk (@Newsquawk) July 27, 2022

McDonalds just increased the price of a cheeseburger by 20% in the UK - first price rise for 14 years. If that’s not an economic indicator of inflation, nothing is!

— Barley Blair (@BlairBarley) July 27, 2022


Gas prices soar as Gazprom cuts supplies

Wholesale gas prices in the UK and continental Europe have climbed this morning, as Russia’s Gazprom squeezes supplies.

Gazprom plans to cut supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe to just 20% of its usual capacity today, half its levels earlier this week.

The move intensifies the risk of shortages this winter, as European countries struggle to stockpile supplies.

The next-day price of UK gas has risen 7.5% to 360p per therm, the highest since March, at the start of the Ukraine invasion. Gas for immediate delivery is up 10.8%.

The price of gas for next-day delivery in the UK
The price of gas for next-day delivery in the UK Photograph: Refinitiv

The European benchmark has also jumped, with Dutch wholesale gas for August delivery up 11.6%, and the September contract up almost 11%.

Boom. European gas price cruises to a record high on the confirmed drop in Nord Stream 1 flows.

— Neil Hume (@humenm) July 27, 2022

European natural gas prices (Dutch TTF) opens up another >10% (after rallying ~25% over the last 2 days) to €224 per MWh.

Russia ser to cut gas flows to Germany this morning, and demand remains robust as European nations burn gas for electricity to offset low wind and hydro.

— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) July 27, 2022

Gazprom has blamed the cuts on technical problems with a gas turbine, but Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has accused Moscow of waging a “gas war”.


Follow rail strikes here

Railway workers and the RMT union striking at Dover Priory Station today
Railway workers and the RMT union striking at Dover Priory Station today Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Millions of rail travellers across Britain are facing rail disruption as the latest strikes get underway.

Normally busy stations were largely deserted this morning as services were cancelled, while unions and government ministers have clashed over the failure to reach a deal on pay and conditions.

RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch has insisted that an acceptable pay offer has still not been made, saying:

“The government need to stop their interference in this dispute so the rail employers can come to a negotiated settlement with us.”

But transport secretary Grant Shapps has blamed “extreme hard left unions” for rejecting a deal worth up to 8% over two years.

My colleague Geneva Abdul is live-blogging the latest developments here:

Lloyds profits take hit after more money put aside for defaults

Lloyds Banking Group has revealed it is struggling to boost profits, amid fears that soaring inflation could lead to a jump in defaults on loans and mortgages.

The country’s largest mortgage lender, which is considered a bellwether for the British economy, took a £200m charge between April and June as it put aside more money to protect the bank from potential defaults.

That compares with the £374m it released during the same period last year.

It comes as UK households are squeezed by soaring inflation, which hit a fresh 40-year high of 9.4% last month and could make it harder for borrowers to keep up with payments long term.

However, Lloyds assured that so far, the number of customers in arrears remained at “low levels”.

Here’s the full story:

Rio Tinto earnings hit by falling commodity prices

Trains at Rio Tinto’s Parker Point iron ore facility in the Pilbarra region in western Australia.
Trains at Rio Tinto’s Parker Point iron ore facility in the Pilbarra region in western Australia. Photograph: Daniel Munoz/Reuters

In a busy morning for corporate news, mining giant Rio Tinto has reported a 29% drop in profits.

Falling iron ore prices hit Rio’s earnings, with demand from China weaker due to Covid-19 lockdowns. Recession fears have also pulled down commodity prices, with central bankers hiking interest rates to slow inflation.

Rio sys:

We saw significant movement in the pricing for our commodities in the half, amidst growing recession fears and a decline in consumer confidence.

Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm says the market was good so far this year, but “become more challenging at the end of the period”.

Net profits fell to $8.9bn for January-June, down from $12.3bn a year ago when soaring commodity prices boosted earnings.

Reckitt's results: What the analysts say

Unlike Unilever, Reckitt is managing the trick of lifting prices and growing sales volumes.

Both companies can hit consumers with higher prices because many health, cleaning and hygiene products remain essential even in a downturn, as Victoria Scholar, head of investment at interactive investor, explains:

Reckitt Benckiser reported revenue growth of 11.9%, ahead of expectations for 6.8% and raised its full-year 2022 sales guidance to between 5% and 8%.

In a similar story to Unilever, the consumer goods giant behind brands including Dettol, Strepsils and Durex is managing to successfully offset the painful inflationary environment with soaring fuel and raw material costs by lifting its prices. During the quarter, Reckitt increased prices by 9.7% without having a detrimental impact on sales.

Consumer staples businesses like Reckitt and Unilever look well positioned to navigate the unfavourable macro environment and the threat of recession given their ability to pass on extra costs to consumers and given the essential rather than discretionary nature of their product offering.”

Matt Britzman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown says Reckitt’s performance is impressive (although customers won’t be impressed with higher bills at the checkout...)

Price hikes were all but guaranteed given the double-digit inflation in certain costs the group’s seeing, but impressively volumes are still growing.

That’s testament to the defensive nature of Reckitt’s portfolio, cleaning and hygiene products are hardly going to be the first things left off shopping lists when wallets are stretched.

Performance from key brands Dettol and Lysol continue to support the argument that increased hygiene awareness is here to stay. Sales may be down from last years astronomical highs, but both products look to be rebasing well ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

Can someone explain to me why Reckitt (following Unilever yesterday) are managing to get away with above-inflation price rises?

— Simon Neville (@SimonNeville) July 27, 2022


Shares in Reckitt Benckiser have soared to their highest level in over a year, after it lifted its sales guidance this morning after lifting prices.

They’re the top FTSE 100 riser this morning, up 5.75% to £67.40.

Reckitt Benckiser’s share price
Reckitt Benckiser’s share price over the last two years Photograph: Refinitiv

The City may be impressed that Reckitt’s sales volumes rose 2.2% in the last quarter, even as prices jumped 9.7%.

That suggests shoppers were accepting higher prices for its branded products (although US parents looking to buy baby formula didn’t have much choice, given Abbott’s problems).

Reckitt is also expecting a long-term increase in sales of cold and flu products as a result of Covid-19 becoming endemic, the Financial Times reports:

Sales growth at the Slough-based group of 24.2% in its health portfolio, which also includes Mucinex cold medicine and Nurofen painkillers, helped it to exceed expectations with first-half like-for-like net revenue growth of 8.6%.

That growth was partly propelled by the return of colds and flu, which were suppressed by pandemic-induced restrictions, as well as the spread of Covid-19, said chief executive Laxman Narasimhan.

He said he expected a “baseline change in the business as [Covid-19] becomes endemic — a step change in the way we think about this business”.

Reckitt benefits from US baby formula crisis

Reckitt’s Nutrition division, which sells baby formula, has swelled its revenues by around 40% in the US so far this year.

US families have suffered a nationwide shortage of baby formula in recent months, due to problems at Abbott Laboratories, the United States’s largest baby formula manufacturer.

Chief Executive Officer Laxman Narasimhan has told a media call that the company is currently “feeding about half of all infants in the US” (via Bloomberg):

“We’ve clearly seen the supply situation help us with regard to overall market share.

We will see some normalization as a competitor comes back online, but we have a business with a brand that’s the number one recommended brand.”

Abbott recalled products and temporarily halted production at a major factory after an FDA investigation found contamination in the wake of four bacterial infections among infants.

Torrential flooding caused a second temporary closure in June, slowing the effort to get more Abbott products onto the shelves

Reckitt clearly benefited, with Nutrition net revenue growing 23.6% on a like-for-like basis to £1,189m.

This reflected volume growth of 10.7% and price rises of 12.9% (which includes around 7.5% of gross price), with some consumers switching brands and others stockpiling more in case of wider shortages.

Reckitt adds:

Our focus remains doing everything possible to put more infant formula on shelves, addressing concerns of parents across the US, while safeguarding the highest levels of quality.

We have recently been granted a temporary import approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which enables us to import additional infant formula supplies into the US from our manufacturing facilities in Singapore.

Introduction: Reckitt lifts prices sharply, as shop inflation soars

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of business, the world economy and the financial markets.

With shop prices rising at a fastest pace in the shops, Reckitt Benckiser has become the latest consumer goods firm to hike its prices in the inflationary squeeze.

Reckitt, the firm behind Dettol, Nurofen, Strepsils and Durex, has reported this morning that its lifted its prices by 9.7% in the last quarter, year-on-year.

These steep price hikes helped to lift Reckitt’s sales by 11.9% in the quarter -- beating forecasts -- with the company also benefitting from the US baby formula crisis in which rival Abbott Laboratories has recalled products.

Reckitt reports it saw...

Strong [revenue] growth across our Health (+24.2%), Nutrition (+26.8%) and Hygiene (-2.5%, +8.9% excluding Lysol) portfolios, with Lysol in line with expectations.

Growth includes an estimated 3.3% benefit from US Nutrition temporary competitor supply issues.

Like companies across the economy, Reckitt has seen its costs jump this year as commodities such as oil, paper, plastic and chemicals become much more expensive.

It says:

The input environment remains unpredictable. We continue to expect inflation on our cost of goods sold to remain in the high teens for the full year, based on current commodity pricing.

But despite these pressures, Reckit has now lifted its expectations for 2022, predicting revenue growth of between 5% and 8%, up from 1%-4%. It expects growth in adjusted operating margins too (as those price rises support profitability).

These rising prices will be passed onto consumers, intensifying the squeeze on households.

Reckitt Benckiser raises its sales forecast after weathering soaring inflation and benefiting from an infant formula shortage in the US via @business

— KeySignals (@KeySignals) July 27, 2022

Shoppers are already under pressure, with UK shop price annual inflation accelerating to 4.4% in July, up from 3.1% in June, according to the British Retail Consortium this morning.

That’s the highest reading since its survey began 17 years ago, with food prices rising sharply.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

“July saw the highest rate of shop price inflation since our index began in 2005, as heightened cost pressures continued to filter through to customers. Rising production costs – from the price of animal feed and fertiliser to availability of produce, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine – coupled with exorbitant land transport costs, led food prices to rocket to 7 per cent.

Some of the biggest rises were seen in dairy products, including lard, cooking fats and butter. Meanwhile, non-food prices were hit by rising shipping prices, production costs and continued disruption in China.

Yesterday Unilever, which owns brands including Marmite, Ben & Jerry’s, Domestos and Dove, yesterday announced it had raised its prices by 11.2% in the last quarter - with more hikes expected as it passed on costs.

But Unilever also expects to boost its profit margins next year and the year after by raising prices, making savings and shifting the mix of product it sold.

The TUC say such companies need to rein in their profits, at a time when workers are facing real terms pay cuts as inflation hits 40-year highs.

NEW 🚨: Marmite-maker Unilever has just released its financial reports:

▪ They've increased profits to €4.5 billion.
▪ They're raising prices by 11%.
▪ They're giving staff a real terms PAY CUT.

We need profit restraint - not wage restraint.

— Trades Union Congress (@The_TUC) July 26, 2022

Also coming up today

Rail passengers were suffering fresh travel chaos today as workers strike again over pay, job security and working conditions.

Services across Great Britain will be badly disrupted again, as a dispute over jobs, pay, pensions and conditions worsens. The strikes involve more than 40,000 workers at Network Rail, 14 train companies, and members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT).

Only around one in five trains will run on Wednesday, on around half the network, with some areas having no trains all day.

European stock markets are expected to open higher, as traders await tonight’s US interest rate decision.

The Federal Reserve is expected to announce another large increase in borrowing costs, probably 75 basis points, as it tries to curb inflation.

European Opening Calls:#FTSE 7332 +0.35%#DAX 13167 +0.53%#CAC 6213 +0.02%#AEX 711 +0.71%#MIB 21276 +0.55%#IBEX 8099 +0.36%#OMX 1968 +0.25%#SMI 11107 +0.04%#STOXX 3586 +0.31%#IGOpeningCall

— IGSquawk (@IGSquawk) July 27, 2022

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has reassured investors last night by reporting that its search and cloud businesses was faring well despite increasing macroeconomic headwinds, as it narrowly missed forecasts.

The agenda

  • 7am BST: GfK’s German consumer confidence report
  • 12pm BST: US weekly mortgage applications
  • 1.30pm BST: US durable goods orders for June
  • 7pm BST: US Federal Reserve interest rate decision



Graeme Wearden

The GuardianTramp

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UK inflation eases slightly to 10.7%, but cost of living crisis grinds on – as it happened
Inflation falls back from 41-year high as motor fuels price rises slow, but costs rise faster in restaurants, hotels, cafes and pubs.

Graeme Wearden

14, Dec, 2022 @4:40 PM

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Black Friday retail footfall below pre-pandemic levels amid cost of living crisis – as it happened
Retail experts predict a more muted Black Friday this year, as consumers cut back and Royal Mail strike disrupts deliveries

Graeme Wearden

25, Nov, 2022 @3:31 PM

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UK factories raise prices at record pace; windfall tax calls grows as BP earnings swell – as it happened
Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news

Graeme Wearden

03, May, 2022 @4:22 PM

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US inflation hits 7% for first time since 1982; cost of living squeeze continues – as it happened
Cost of living soars on both sides of the Atlantic, as US inflation jumps, and UK consumers face higher gas bills and hotel costs

Graeme Wearden

12, Jan, 2022 @5:50 PM

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Cost of living squeeze could push UK into ‘mild recession’; petrol price hits fresh highs – as it happened
Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news

Graeme Wearden

27, Jun, 2022 @2:42 PM

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Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard in $68.7bn deal; UK real wages fall in cost of living crunch – as it happened
Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news

Graeme Wearden

18, Jan, 2022 @5:29 PM

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Cost of living crisis hits household confidence; UK trade with Germany falls; FTSE 100 at two-year high – as it happened
Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news

Graeme Wearden

09, Feb, 2022 @5:54 PM

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UK inflation falls from 10.5% to 10.1% amid ongoing cost of living crisis – business live
Live, rolling coverage of business, economics and financial markets as transport and motor fuel prices contribute to decline in inflation

Jasper Jolly (now) and Joanna Partridge (earlier)

15, Feb, 2023 @3:33 PM

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UK inflation soars to 10-year high of 5.1%; Federal Reserve speeds up tapering – as it happened
Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news

Graeme Wearden

15, Dec, 2021 @7:37 PM