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Germany and Italy block Brussels from banning petrol and diesel cars



Energy companies expect Jeremy Hunt to maintain his energy price guarantee at or close to £2,500 from April 1, sources have indicated to the BBC.

Some suppliers have started to amend future bills to reflect the possibility that Government subsidies will not change as expected.

Households are due to see bills rise by £500 from April 1 when the energy price guarantee increases the maximum average energy bill annually to £3,000.

5 things to start your day 

1)  London has given up on risk and cannot compete with New York, warns City chief | Britain’s failure to back “risk takers” means London is unable to compete with New York

2) Abandon hedonistic Western lifestyles, Chinese bankers told | Anti-corruption watchdog escalates crackdown on ‘unhealthy’ tendencies

3) Heat pumps and EV batteries could save grid £4.7bn, says Ofgem | Regulator’s proposals aim to counter the problems renewable energy poses to the grid

4) Train services worst on record as 1,000 a day cancelled | Reliability plummets even on non-strike days, figures reveal

5) Immigration loophole will not be closed until autumn in move to avoid summer holiday chaos | Government delays ban on airlines’ ‘wet leasing’ to relieve staff shortage pressures 

What happened overnight 

Asian shares rose on prospects for a steady economic recovery in China and after Wall Street reversed losses overnight following remarks by the Atlanta Federal Reserve chief on interest rates.

Investors breathed a sigh of relief after Raphael Bostic said he favoured “slow and steady” quarter-point US rate increases to limit risk to the economy.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.7pc, on track for its first weekly rise in five. The index is up 1.6pc so far this month. 

Japan’s stocks ended higher, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index advancing 1.6pc to 27,927.47, while the broader Topix index added 1.3pc to 2,019.52.

Australian shares were up 0.4pc, helped by gains in miners and financials, while China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.2pc in afternoon trade while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4pc. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.9pc.

Stocks on Wall Street flipped losses to gains on Thursday, as Treasury yields retreated from earlier highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended trading up 1pc at 33,003.57. The S&P 500 closed 0.8pc higher at 3,981.35, while the tech-rich Nasdaq composite gained rose 0.7pc to 11,462.98.

Treasuries marched higher before pulling back following dovish reports that the Federal Reserve could pause interest rate hikes this summer.

Still, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes – the benchmark for global borrowing costs – reached a four-month high of 4.091pc. Meanwhile, the yield on two-year Treasury notes, which closely tracks short-term interest rate expectations, advanced to a 16 year high of 4.889pc.

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