Christmas retail sales disappoint as national debt passes £2 trillion – live updates –

Good morning. We’ll get the latest data on UK retail sales during the crucial Christmas period today, as well as data on public borrowing as the Government continues to spend at a huge rate to combat the economic effects of Covid-19.

Later on, we’ll get flash PMI readings, which will give an indication of how private sector performance around the world has held up in the face of new restrictions.

5 things to start your day 

1) Brexit deal gives Nissan a competitive advantage, boss declares: Chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta said Boris Johnson’s deal has prevented major turmoil – and dismissed ports disruption as “peanuts”.

2) Next pulls out of Topshop bidding war: The joint venture between Next and US hedge fund David Kempner Capital Management withdrew from the auction on Thursday after it failed to match rival bids.

3) Pandemic forces 6,000 licensed venues to close: Despite almost 4,000 venues opening last year, more than 9,000 shut their doors for the last time as the pandemic wreaked havoc.

4) France demands Britain help bail out Eurostar: French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said he is in discussions with his UK counterpart Grant Shapps about a bailout.

5) Furlough bill to soar by £9bn if job support extends to July: The Treasury’s furlough bill could surge as high as £75bn by summer, piling an extra £3bn of costs per month onto taxpayers.

What happened overnight 

Asian shares slipped off record highs on Friday as investors took profits after a recent rally that was driven by hopes of US economic stimulus by newly inaugurated President Joe Biden.

Sentiment was also hit by worries of new coronavirus restrictions in China which reported 103 COVID-19 cases on Friday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific stocks outside of Japan extended losses in afternoon trading to be last off 0.6pc at 720.17 points following three straight sessions of gains.

The index is up a stellar 8.8pc in January so far, after hitting an all-time high of 727.31 on Thursday.

Bitcoin fell heavily on Friday and was heading toward its sharpest weekly drop since last March, as worries over its technology and regulation extended a pullback from recent record highs.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency fell more than 5pc to an almost three-week low of $28,800 in the Asia session, before steadying around $30,000. It has lost 15pc so far this week, the biggest drop since a 33pc fall in March.

Coming up today

Corporate: Ninety One (Interim results); Computacenter, (Trading statements)

Economics: Public sector net borrowing, retail sales, GFK consumer confidence (UK), flash PMIs (UK, eurozone, Japan, France, Germany, US)