DRIVERS could face more punishment at the pump as oil prices are forecast to shoot back up above $100 a barrel.
Both Russia and Saudi Arabia have been blamed for sending prices soaring by cutting their production.
Earlier this month, the two oil-producing nations said they would reduce output by 1.3million barrels a day until the end of this year, which could leave the market vulnerable to further price hikes.
Brent crude prices — a benchmark for the state of oil trading — have been creeping higher for the past three weeks.
After rising by 30 per cent since June, prices are now at their peak since last November.
Oil prices came close to $95 a barrel yesterday, while analysts at CITI have warned they are on track to reach $100 a barrel this month.
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Higher wholesale oil prices are already having a knock-on effect on petrol and diesel.
AA spokesman Luke Bosdet said: “Drivers have been lashed by a 10p-a-litre rise in the cost of petrol since the beginning of August”.
The RAC cautioned that diesel, often used in vans, could jump from its current average of 159p a litre to over 170p, if oil hits $100.
The motor insurer has argued petrol retailers are already ripping off drivers by profiteering.
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An RAC spokesperson said: “If oil were to hit $100, it should really only take the average price of 155.5p up by another 2p.
“But if retailers are intent on making more money with increased margins, this could be closer to 160p a litre”.
The Business Select Committee has been leading an investigation into petrol retailers’ alleged profiteering.
I'm Mary Burberry
BURBERRY has continued its push to ramp up its “Britishness” by calling on baking legend Mary Berry to boost the brand.
The queen of baking was pictured enjoying a cuppa at the brand’s pop-up North London greasy spoon — Norman’s Cafe. The site has been serving up fry-ups and bacon butties — not normally the food that is feasted upon by the fashion crowd.
The fashion brand also renamed London Underground station Bond Street “Burberry Street” as part of its marketing campaign. While celebrities flocked to its fashion show, investors were more circumspect with shares in Burberry dropping by 23.51, or 1.09 per cent to £21.34.
The brand continues to be regarded as a takeover target for bigger fashion houses.
PENDRAGON IN £250M SELL-OFF
PENDRAGON is selling all of its car showrooms for £250million to US rival firm LITHIA.
It ends a year of takeover twists and turns at the company. Its shares jumped by 28.2 per cent yesterday to 23.70.
Lithia, which already has 50 UK sites, tried to buy Pendragon last year but was blocked by major shareholder, the Swedish Hedin Group.
Hedin then tried its own £400m takeover of Pendragon but abandoned the deal last year.
Pendragon said it will now focus on its Pinewood software business, which counts 30,000 car dealer customers.
Cluckin' massive profits
WINGSTOP, the US chicken wing brand, has taken £40million in sales since launching in the UK five years ago.
The UK master franchise, Lemon Pepper Holdings, now has 36 sites and 1,300 employees in the UK.
Tom Grogan, one of the entrepreneurs behind the brand, said four more openings were planned by the end of this year as it looks to rake in £60million in sales next year.
The business built a loyal following of young customers after partnering with Gymshark, TikTok, JD Sports and Pretty Little Things. WingStop, listed in the US, has around 2,000 sites globally.
“Community engagement on a cultural level, such as partnering with local music artists and sports teams has been important for generating hype, interest, and positive word-of-mouth around new launches,” Grogan said. The brand now has more followers in the UK on TikTok than rival chains KFC and Five Guys combined.
SIZING UP NUKE BIDS
THE government is searching for private equity investment in Sizewell C nuclear power plant.
It will take a decade to build and could power six million homes for 60 years. Between £20billion and £30billion is required for its construction, according to experts.
Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, said: “We are focused on securing good value for taxpayers.” Potential investors will have to take part in strict national security checks.
SIR Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has slashed 450 jobs and warned there will be more redundancies after another profit warning.
The advertising tycoon said clients were cutting back on advertising because of “fears of a recession”. Sir Martin, 78, founded S4 Capital in 2018 after a bitter exit from WPP, which he founded in 1985.
Shares in S4 Capital tumbled by a quarter yesterday, valuing the business at £418million.
In contrast, WPP is valued at £8billion.
THE packaging giant Mondi is finally quitting Russia by selling its remaining paper mill for £666million to a Moscow-based property group. Mondi said that it will leave Russia by the end of the year. Shares rose 5 per cent.
New rent hike
THE average rent in the UK has crossed £1,300 a month for the first time, piling further pressure on tenants in the cost of living crisis.
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According to figures by Hamptons, the 12 per cent hike in the past year comes as a property shortage drives rents up, with landlords passing on higher mortgage costs to tenants.
A home costs £436 more per month than it did in 2013. In Scotland rents rose by 13.4 per cent to £935, compared to £2,332 in greater London, a £340 rise in the past year.
BARCLAYS down 2.66 to 158.80p
BP down 4.00 to 519.20p
CENTRICA up 0.30 to 170.00p
HSBC down 6.30 to 623.00p
LLOYDS down 1.05 to 42.16p
M&S up 2.80 to 222.50p
NATWEST down 4.60 to 232.00p
ROYAL MAIL up 5.00 to 262.30p
SAINSBURY’S down 3.40 to 276.20p
SHELL up 11 to 25.91p
TESCO up 0.80 to 271.50p
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