UK companies take the lead on cutting greenhouse gases
Latest research from the Financial Times and Statista shows that the Swiss tech company Logitech was the top European company for reducing CO2 emissions in the five years to 2020. However, the UK has 120 companies on the list, more than double secondplaced Germany with 52, while France trails in third with 44.
ECB eyes end to negative rates by September
Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), has said negative deposit rates could end by September and could even become positive if inflation stabilises at 2%.
Previously the ECB has been reluctant to contemplate increasing interest rates, but high headline inflation in the eurozone of 7.4% has forced a change in attitude. In a blog post she noted: “Based on the current outlook, we are likely to be in a position to exit negative interest rates by the end of the third quarter.”
Currently the ECB’s deposit rate is -0.5%, meaning banks are charged to hold cash at the central bank; it has been below zero since 2014.
In recent months, fuel prices in Europe have jumped due to the war in Ukraine and this has driven up prices elsewhere. Lagarde warned the pace and size of any interest-rate increases could not be pre-determined as the economy faces both supply shocks and war-related disruptions.
Klarna cuts staff ahead of ‘likely recession’
The Swedish ‘buy now, pay later’ firm, Klarna, is to cut around 700 staff, roughly 10% of its employees, due to a combination of rising prices, changes in consumer sentiment and the war in Ukraine.
Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Klarna’s chief executive and co-founder, said the world had changed since the company had set out its 2022 business plan, with a “tragic and unnecessary war in Ukraine” combining with shifts in consumer sentiment, higher inflation, “a highly volatile stock market and a likely recession”.
He added that it had been “a very tumultuous year” so far for the company, compared with 2021 when the shift to online during the pandemic saw the value of Klarna balloon to around $46bn. However, over its last financial year, Klarna’s operating losses reached 6.6bn Swedish krona (£540m) up from 1.6bn Swedish krona.
The company insists that its growing losses are “entirely explained by Klarna’s growth, expansion to new markets and massive inflow of new customers”.