A declining breed?
As the latest figures show, the ominous prediction made by the UK’s Road Haulage Association (RHA) in June, namely that the country was short of over 100,000 lorry drivers, has come to pass. The UK’s supply chain chaos has now become so severe that the British military has been mobilised to plug the gaps.
Rolls-Royce flying high once more
The news on Monday (27 Sep) that Rolls-Royce had agreed to sell its ITP Aero business unit – a turbine-blade maker in Spain’s Basque region – to a private equity consortium led by Bain Capital for £1.45bn, sent its beleaguered shares soaring more than 11% after a gain of close to 4% on Friday.
Rolls-Royce became the top performing stock in the UK on Monday, hitting an 18-month high, as the disposal means that the storied British engineer has succeeded in reaching its self-imposed target of raising £2bn from disposals in order to repair a balance sheet torn asunder by lockdown and the grounding of airliners around the world.
The company has already disposed of its stake in Norway’s Air Tanker Holdings and its nuclear instrumentation and control business.
The news was quickly followed by the announcement that Rolls had also landed a lucrative contract worth $2.6bn in a 30-year deal to supply the US military’s fleet of B-52 bombers with replacement engines.
Oil price hits three-year high
The price of Brent crude oil began trading above $80 a barrel for the first time in three years on Tuesday (28 Sep) as supply chains struggled amid a global energy crunch.
This was good news for share prices in the oil sector but added further to investor fears of increased inflation and, subsequently, interest rates.
The UK-listed oil majors such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell both gained around 3% in early trading on Tuesday. Last week also saw major gains for US oil and gas stocks such as Devon Energy, which gained close to 7% on both Wednesday and Thursday, while the likes of Diamondback Energy, Occidental Petroleum and Marathon Oil all gained at least 6% on Monday (27 Sep) in US dollar terms.
Closer to home, BP revealed that nearly a third of its British petrol stations had run dry due to panic buying, which has forced the UK government to suspend competition laws and mobilise the military in order to ease the current supply shortages.