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Monday newspaper round-up: House prices, Saudi Aramco, property developers

(Sharecast News) - The average price tag on a home in Great Britain has topped £350,000 for the first time, according to Rightmove. Typical asking prices hit £354,564 in March, up 1.7% or £5,760 compared with February, the property website said. It was the biggest monthly rise for this time of year in 18 years, and pushed the annual rate of growth in asking prices to 10.4%. - Guardian Saudi Arabia's state oil company said it would increase spending on oil production to meet rising global demand, as it reported a doubling of profits in 2021. Saudi Aramco - the world's largest oil exporter and one of the world's most profitable companies - said its net profit increased by 124% to $110bn (£83bn) in 2021, compared with $49bn a year earlier. - Guardian

Demand for iodine tablets has rocketed in the UK and EU as the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine stokes fears of nuclear war. UK manufacturer Oxford Health Company had a 15,000pc surge in page views for its tablets in March, compared to January, after a "considerable increase in demand for iodine" in the UK and Europe. - Telegraph

Michael Gove has opened up a new front in his war with Britain's biggest housebuilders after describing them as a "cartel" in comments to Conservative activists. The Housing Secretary told the Conservative Environment Network last week that he had become unpopular with developers because of his stance on building safety. - Telegraph

The head of marine and aviation at the trade body which represents Lloyd's of London insurers has urged the government to rethink the ethics and benefits of foreign ownership of national assets after what it called the pitiless treatment of P&O Ferries staff. Neil Roberts, of Lloyd's Market Association, whose members write about £36 billion of premiums every year, said that "UK plc must look at safeguarding itself" after 800 staff were sacked last week without notice or consultation, to be replaced with cheaper agency workers believed to be from overseas. - The Times

Small brewers have expressed alarm at the government's proposed reform of alcohol duty, and want to know why the mooted tax on cider will be only half the rate on beer. The government, which announced a review of alcohol duty in March 2020, launched a consultation in last year's budget aimed at simplifying the "complex, burdensome and inconsistent" tax system. - The Times

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(Sharecast News) - Asset manager Redwheel told regulators they should reduce the UK postal service's legal obligations. The move followed a failed buyout attempt by Daniel Kretinsky for International Distributions Services, its parent company. The billionaire investor was said to be evaluating a possible improved bid. The company meanwhile has petitioned Ofcom to let it cut the number of days per week during which it must deliver second-class mail from six to two or three. That would save the company £300m and see it shrink its workforce by 1,000. According to Redwheel, as first reported by the Sunday Times, the enforced costs of its legal obligations left the company "vulnerable to corporate predators". - Guardian
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(Sharecast News) - "Misleading" and "inconsistent" labels make it hard for shoppers to know where their food comes from, the consumer champion Which? has said, as it found supermarket chains were selling products with "meaningless" statements on their packaging. Retailers must supply the "country of origin" for specific foods including fresh fruit and vegetables, unprocessed meats, fish, wine and olive oil but the rules do not generally apply to processed meat or frozen or processed fruit and vegetables. - Guardian

Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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