Markets Today: Fresh blow to travel sector as Portugal removed from green list

  • Portugal removed from green list in blow to travel companies 
  • More Astra Covid doses?
  • The power of NFTs makes ‘Charlie bit me’ a millionnaire

Summer holiday in the South Sandwich Islands, anyone? 

Not a clue? We weren’t either. It turns out South Sandwich is a British overseas territory in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 miles off the south east tip of Argentina. Google Maps couldn’t calculate an estimated journey time from London, but as the territory doesn’t have an airport, we imagine it will be difficult to spend your summer holiday there – without getting the RAF involved. EasyJet (EZJ) is certainly not putting on flights. 

Travel companies are continuing their downward march this morning after yesterday’s announcement that Portugal is set to be removed from the green list. Holidaymakers setting off on their travels today will have to return to the UK by 4am on Tuesday to avoid a 10 day quarantine. 

It’s a blow for the UK’s airlines including EasyJet ( – down 2 per cent), RyanAir (RYAN -1 per cent) and WizzAir (WIZZ -2 per cent) which are already facing a tough summer. Even the remaining green list countries require extensive testing, which doesn’t come cheap, especially for those travelling with a family. 

The removal of Portugal from the green list is also a blow to the hotel companies and travel operators including TUI (TUI) and Jet 2 Holidays (JET2). Although executives at On The Beach (OTB) are likely feeling pretty smug this morning. The company recently made the decision not to put on any international holidays this summer amid all the uncertainty. The airlines and travel operators currently returning money to disgruntled passengers who, until yesterday, were bound for Portugal, might yet make a similar decision.  

Food price inflation soars

Food prices soared last month, according to data released yesterday, adding to broader, intensifying concerns about post-lockdown inflation trends.

The latest update from the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Food Price index showed that May saw the biggest month-on-month food price gain since October 2010 – rising 40 per cent year-on-year.

The FAO index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities. It was boosted in recent weeks by a surge in prices for oils, sugar and cereals as well as “firmer” meat and dairy prices.

Further reading on inflation:

Pennon splashes out 

Investors had been patiently waiting to see what Pennon (PNN) would do with the £3.7bn of cash proceeds from the sale of Viridor, and all was revealed yesterday. The company announced the acquisition of Bristol Water Group for £425m, a £1.5bn special dividend and a £400m share buyback programme.

The year to 31 March saw the water utility contend with the dual threats of Covid-19 and lower tariffs for the new five-year regulatory period, AMP7. You can read our full analysis of how Pennon and peers Severn Trent (SVT) and United Utilities (UU.) are faring here. 

Read more of this morning’s top news in our blog below.

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