Germany cuts growth forecast on third Covid wave fears – live updates –

Good morning. The FTSE 100 is set to open flat as investors await the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision. 

Chairman Jerome Powell will have to defend an ultra-easy monetary policy outlook amid rising inflation fears.

5 things to start your day 

1) Disney under fire from MPs over Mulan shoot in Uighur territory: Disney has come under attack after refusing to answer questions over concerns the making of Mulan may have risked using forced labour.

2) SNP backed Gupta deal for Scottish smelter as alarm bells rang: Exclusive: the metals tycoon was handed hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer support by the Scottish government even as alarm bells rang.

3) Markets rattled as inflation fears overtake Covid concerns: Inflation has replaced Covid as the top worry for international investors for the first time since February 2020, amid strong vaccine rollouts.

4) Uber agrees to holiday pay and pensions for 70,000 drivers: All of Uber’s UK drivers will receive holiday pay and be automatically enrolled onto a pension plan where the company would contribute alongside drivers.

5) NatWest faces money laundering charges over £264m cash deposits: City watchdog claims that the bank’s systems and controls failed to properly monitor and scrutinise activity on a customer’s account.

What happened overnight 

Asian stocks were steady Wednesday as investors assessed the economic recovery and the risk of a shift in the Federal Reserve’s dovish policy projections. Treasury yields held near the highest levels in over a year.

Japanese stocks were little changed and China’s CSI 300 swung between gains and losses. South Korean shares retreated as Samsung Electronics Co. warned it’s grappling with the fallout from a “serious imbalance” in semiconductors globally. European and U.S. equity futures fluctuated. The S&P 500 overnight snapped a record run and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 posted a modest rise.

The Treasury 10-year yield held around 1.62pc heading into day two of the Fed’s meeting, after a 20-year bond auction drew strong demand. Market-implied inflation expectations are at 12-year highs. The dollar was stronger versus major peers.

Coming up today

Corporate: Dignity, Ferrexpo (Full year results)

Economics: Inflation final reading (eurozone); Federal Reserve announcement, building permits, housing starts (US)