NatWest reveals surging profits as it reels from Farage scandal

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Thanks for joining us today. NatWest bosses will face the City for the first time since the Nigel Farage scandal engulfed the bank as it reports its half-year results.

It follows the resignation this week of chief executive Dame Alison Rose and Coutts boss Peter Flavel. 

Nigel Farage has called for the entire board to go following the closure of his account at Coutts, which is owned by NatWest.

Executives backed Dame Alison despite her admission she spoke to a BBC journalist about Mr Farage’s relationship with Coutts, before announcing her departure hours later following pressure from Downing Street.

5 things to start your day 

1) British Gas makes £1bn profit after Ofgem lets it charge higher bills | Energy supplier receives £500m boost while millions struggle with bills

2) Drivers keep buying high-end Mercedes Maybachs and G-Wagons even as prices rise | Luxury carmaker reports a 5pc increase in sales aided by strong demand in Germany and the US

3) Frasers Group makes multimillion-pound bets on shopping centres | Mike Ashley and his family back lasting appeal of brick-and-mortar shops

4) Women more likely to be replaced by AI than men | 12 million jobs to be automated in the US alone over next seven years, McKinsey says

5) Landlord exodus propping up London property market, says Foxtons chief | Rising mortgage rates and red tape forcing rental property owners to sell up

What happened overnight 

The yen gained in volatile trading as stocks and bonds dropped in Tokyo after the Bank of Japan said it would take a more flexible approach to pinning down long-term yields, while hopes for stimulus had Chinese stocks heading for a weekly gain.

The Bank of Japan maintained its ultra-low interest rates at the end of a two-day meeting but effectively moved its line in the sand on yields, saying its 0.5pc cap on 10-year government bond yields is now a “reference” and that it would step in to the market at 1pc instead.

The week had already been a defining one for the world’s biggest central banks, with hikes in the US and Europe seen ushering in the end of the most aggressive hiking cycle in a generation.

Asian stocks fluctuated overnight, with Hong Kong and Shanghai boosted by hopes for further measures by Beijing to boost the struggling Chinese economy, while Singapore and Taipei were also up.

Sydney, Seoul, Wellington, Manila, Mumbai and Jakarta fell.

Wall Street stocks ended lower on Thursday after new data showed the US economy grew more than expected in the second quarter, despite hopes the Federal Reserve is nearing the end of its rate-hiking cycle.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.7pc at 35,282.72, ending its longest winning streak for the since 1987.

The S&P 500 finished 0.6pc lower at 4,537.41, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite ended down 0.6pc at 14,050.11.

Treasury yields rallied after reports that the US economy is providing more resilient than expected. 

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