LSBF Blog - Global Matters

Trade trip organised to China to encourage women entrepreneurs

January 29 ,2015 | by Erin O’Neill

ConnectChina aims to increase the number of women entrepreneurs doing business with their counterparts in China.

A collaboration between ConnectChina and Maiden Voyage will bring a women-only business team on a trade trip to China and Hong Kong this year. It’s a scheme that’s designed to open up the difficult market of China to more women entrepreneurs, showing that problems such as the large geographical distance, cultural differences and language barriers are not insurmountable.


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Coinbase launches first regulated US Bitcoin exchange

January 28 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

After $75mn funding boost, Bitcoin services provider Coinbase has opened the first regulated US Bitcoin exchange.

Coinbase has opened the first-ever licensed US exchange for Bitcoin not long after netting around $75 million in funding. The company hopes to make the controversial cryptocurrency more official with the new exchange as it adds the US to its growing list of countries that offer these services.

The value of Bitcoin jumped on the news by around 20 per cent, briefly breaking above the $300 barrier versus the US dollar. However, since then the price has settled closer to the $250 level.


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UK maintains strong record on high-skilled job creation

January 28 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

Employment rates near record highs as growth of UK high-skilled jobs outpaces that of Europe.

This week, UK Prime Minister David Cameron stated that Britain is the ‘jobs factory of Europe’. The latest round of employment data saw the unemployment rate fall to 5.8 per cent and the employment rate jump to 73 per cent.


It’s no doubt that the number of employed people in the UK remains close to record highs and unemployment continues to decline, which has the government heralding the data as proof that its economic plans are working.

The figures do showcase improvement in the economy. Furthermore, wage growth is outstripping the inflation rate and should see consumers gain more purchasing power, which would help add extra fuel to the consumer spending powered economic recovery.


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Solar energy fuels African economic revolution

January 28 ,2015 | by Helen Gould

In a world run on fossil fuels, Africa solar energy skips the mains to get its power from the sun.

The collective economy of Africa is thought to be pumped full of potential, natural resources and a rapidly expanding population that could catapult the continent to the height of the Western economies.


Surveys suggest that seven out of ten of the world’s fastest developing economies are found on the continent of Africa. It’s then no surprise that the combined African economies expanded around four per cent in 2013, outpacing global growth of three per cent in the same period.

But despite this fast pace of expansion, it seems that a large proportion of Africans lack essentials such as access to a supply of electricity. The International Energy Agency estimates that 585 million people have no access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, while in rural areas the electrification rate gets as low as 14.2 per cent.


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Equality key to a strong economy, say WEF 2015 Davos speakers

January 27 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

Inequality leads to stagnation, according to speakers at the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2015 in Davos.

The advanced economies of the West have seemingly failed to shake off the effects of the financial crisis, leading to much speculation over the root cause of this secular stagnation. Some draw parallels to the economic situation in Japan, where low growth, low inflation and low productivity runs rampant.


After six years of low interest rates and monetary stimulus, we could conclude that the threat of secular stagnation will not be swept away by only changing macro-economic policies – more is required.

Instead, the remedy to the ailing global economy is being cited as structural reforms. Following the financial crisis, the measures that were put in place to spark a return to growth has seen a rise in economic activity, but at the cost of equality.


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City of London well placed to boost fast-growing markets, claims study

January 27 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

The City of London is well-placed to build closer ties to emerging and fast growing markets, claims a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report.

In the future, the UK’s economic clout will continue to weaken as emerging markets and fast-growing economies catch up and realise their potential. In fact, by 2050 the G7 nations will no longer account for half of the world’s economic output and instead make up less than a quarter, according to a PwC report.

It’s a figure that continued to worry the lord mayor of London, Alan Yarrow, and saw him embark upon a tour of the Gulf to build ties and highlight the wide range of skills and expertise that the UK holds. Writing in CityAM, Mayor Yarrow wrote about his recent visit to the region to re-strengthen the UK’s relationship with its bilateral trading partner.


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London fintech startup Transferwise valued at close to $1 billion

January 27 ,2015 | by Claire Payne

London fintech startup Transferwise, founded in 2011 by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, raised around $58 million of funding pushing its value close to $1 billion.

In a new round of funding, the London startup has managed to secure around $58 million which values the company close to the $1 billion. Transferwise is a fast-growing peer to peer money transfer startup, which is rumoured to be in talks with Facebook for remittance services.

The firm was founded in 2011 by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, with the aim to make it cheaper and easier to transfer pounds to euros. Having been built by ex-Skype and PayPal engineers, it looked like the founders had the perfect backgrounds for this to take-off.


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Facebook adds $227bn to global economy, claims study

January 26 ,2015 | by Claire Payne

Deloitte & Touche study claims Facebook generated 4.5mn jobs and added $227bn to global economy in 2014.

The number of users on the social network Facebook now surpasses 1.35 billion and would rank as the second most populated nation in the world, if it were a country.

It is figures like these that have led to a new study into the impact of Facebook on the real world, where the company states it has a real economic effect.


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Global 100 index lists 2015’s most sustainable companies in the world

January 26 ,2015 | by Erin O’Neill

A look at some of the world’s top sustainable businesses according to Corporate Knights 2015 Global 100 index.

In today’s increasingly environmentally aware world, businesses need to do all they can to ensure they minimise their impact on the globe. It’s with this aim in mind that Corporate Knights collates data to determine which firms are making careful use of resources, to make the most of their capital and ensure employees are achieving all they can.

Corporate Knights uses publicly disclosed information from global companies, ranging from mid- to mega-sized companies that have a market cap above $2 billion dollars, to evaluate 12 key performance indicators (KPIs) for calculating their rankings. The results are then released every year at the World Economic Forum in Davos.


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European Central Bank to inject €1.1 trillion in historical bonds investment

January 23 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

The European Central Bank failed to disappoint this week as it unveiled plans to buy government bonds worth €1.1 trillion with new money.

At Thursday’s conference, Mario Draghi finally ended rampant speculation over quantitative easing plans, which had markets positioning themselves ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) conference.

The ECB bravely took the plunge and announced plans to launch a sovereign bond-buying scheme that will amount to more than one trillion euros, which exceeded market expectations.


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Telefonica in talks to sell O2 to Hutchison Whampoa for £10bn

January 23 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

Hutchison Whampoa enters talks to buy Telefonica-owned O2 for £10.25 billion.

In a move that would create the UK’s biggest mobile group, Hutchison Whampoa confirmed that it is in negotiations to buy Telefonica for £10.25 billion. However, Frank Sixt, the finance director of Hutchison, has said there is “still work to do” as they embark on several weeks’ worth of discussions.

It’s the latest buy in a spending spree by Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, who owns Hutchison Whampoa. Recently, Mr Li also spent £1.1 billion on Eversholt, to put him in control of a third of the UK’s trains.


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British CEOs optimistic about UK economic growth, says report

January 22 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

Chief executives in Britain are confident about UK economic growth in 2015.

The majority of UK chief executive officers (CEOs) believe there are more opportunities for their company to grow in today’s climate compared with three years ago, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) annual Global CEO Survey, which was published at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Three out of five (61 per cent) of British bosses were upbeat about their company’s growth prospects and 85 per cent of business leaders in the UK were confident about the year ahead, however, that’s slightly lower than a the 93 per cent reading from a year ago.


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UK jobs up as unemployment rate slips to new low

January 22 ,2015 | by Helen Gould

The number of people out of work fell to its lowest level in the three months to November as UK jobs continued to grow.

Employment in the UK remains one of the highlights of the economic recovery and new figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirms these facts. The unemployment level fell to its lowest in more than six years in three months to November, according to the report.

The number of unemployed people in the UK fell by 58,000 to 1.91 million and the unemployment rate edged lower to 5.8 per cent, its lowest reading since August 2008 and a little below expectations.

“We’re continuing to buck the European trend with strong growth and record job creation,” said Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury.


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British financial sector registers fastest growth since 1996

January 21 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

The British financial sector recorded the fastest growth in Q4 of 2014 since 1996, reports CBI.

Overall business volumes in the UK’s financial sector rose at their fastest pace since 1996, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Firms in the sector also reported strong income growth and falling costs, helping to improve profitability for the second consecutive quarter.


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UK economy set to expand at fastest rate since 2008, EY forecasts

January 20 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

Economic growth in 2015 in the UK looks set to hit a seven-year high, with rapid expansion expected.

The UK’s economy is forecast to grow at its fastest rate in seven years, according to the latest quarterly forecast from the EY Item Club. Driving the economy forward will be a sustained period of inflation averaging around zero per cent, while real disposable income is expected to increase significantly.


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UK investment in China to quadruple by 2020, says study

January 20 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

UK investment in China is set to quadruple over the next five years, according to King & Wood Mallesons study.

UK investors will pour four times as much money into China by 2020 when compared with last year, according to a new study from King & Wood Mallesons. The report highlights that foreign direct investment (FD) in China will double by 2020, however, the UK’s contribution to the total will quadruple in five years’ time.


The study, titled Branching Out: Investment Opportunities in China, states that the total investment from the UK is expected to rise to £26 billion by 2020, up from £6.7 billion, as the Chinese economy opens up further to foreign capital.

“With stable development, China has become the fastest growing country attracting the most investment in the world not merely because of the size of the market, but also due to our improving legal environment and increasingly healthy society,” said Wang Ling, managing partner of King & Wood Mallesons in China.


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At €20 billion, Eurozone trade surplus raises to new record

January 19 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

EU exports outpaced imports to help widen the Eurozone trade surplus in November.

The EU’s trade in good balance widened in November, according to official figures from Eurostat. The Eurozone trade surplus was 20 billion euros in November 2014, that’s 3.5 billion higher than the same time a year ago.

It’s welcome news for the European economy, which has suffered at late from a slew of disappointing data, and will give the European Central Bank (ECB) hope for the recovery yet.


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IMF chief Lagarde praises UK economic growth

January 19 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, says UK economic growth serves as an example to others.

Britain’s economic recovery provides an “eloquent and convincing” example to the rest of the European Union, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.


Christine Lagarde said the UK had shown clear leadership and that the economic recovery was “exactly the sort of result” she would like to see.


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UK economy can be world’s most prosperous by 2030, says Osborne

January 16 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

Chancellor George Osborne says that UK economy could be the richest economy in the world.

As the UK recovery continues to grow in strength, optimism is reaching highs and businesses can look forward to a year of strong performances, especially in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector. The UK government also recognises the burgeoning recovery and believes the UK economy has the potential to become the richest in the world in 15 years’ time, according to the UK’s chancellor, George Osborne.

Speaking at the Royal Economic Society, Mr Osborne said: “The case for optimism is strengthening. If we are willing to take on the vested interests and pursue the right policies with consistency and discipline then there are no limits to what Britain can achieve.”


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UK online sales surpass £100 billion mark for the first time

January 16 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

UK internet sales broke above the £100 billion level for the first time.

Digital sales in the UK continue to rise as shoppers become more adept at navigating retailer’s online stores, racking up a total of £104 billion spent in 2014 to break above £100 billion for the first time ever.

It’s a vast sum of money and further highlights the health of UK economy which has mostly been powered on consumer spending. When comparing 2014 to the previous year, we can see sales grew by an impressive 14 per cent, according to the most recent IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index report.


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Why the UK inflation rate is desirable

January 15 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

With inflation expectations at safe levels, it’s no surprise that many economies would like to have the UK’s inflation rate.

The surprise fall to 0.5 per cent in the annual CPI rate shocked markets and saw sterling decline, however, it’s likely that much of the world are jealous of the UK inflation rate. While many experts are worrying over deflationary risks and debt-deflation traps, most are missing the bigger picture.


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UK SMEs confident to expand globally in 2015, finds report

January 15 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

Over a third of UK SMEs expect to grow their international business in the year ahead.

Businesses in the UK are confident that the economic climate will continue to be healthy and more than a third of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) anticipate growth in the amount of business they do overseas, according to research from Western Union Business Solutions.


Figures from the survey show that 83 per cent of respondents felt confident about the economic climate and those that felt very confident more than doubled in this quarter, according to the International Trade Monitor from Western Union Business Solutions.

The growing confidence in the situation at home has UK SMEs thinking about foreign shores, as 34 per cent of those surveyed predict an increase in their international business activity.


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UK creative industries adds massive £77bn to economy, says report

January 15 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

UK creative industries continue to blossom, adding £77 billion to the economy in 2013.

Creative industries in the UK are booming, according to the latest report from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The data showed the sector contributing an astounding £77 billion to the UK economy in 2013, that’s one tenth higher than 2012’s total of £70 billion.

Breaking down the figures, the data essentially works out to a jaw dropping £8.8 million per hour, or £146,000 per minute, according to the report.


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How to make social media work for you startup in 2015

January 14 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

You could help expand the potential reach of your small business by using social media.

Today’s generation seem to have arrived in this world clutching a smartphone, thereby knowing the complete ins and outs of all social media. However, many of us remember the days before public internet usage sky-rocketed, and often require some help navigating the different channels of social media available to us.


Indeed, there are many ways to utilise social media for your small business or startup, allowing you to further your reach and create a huge number of impressions. It’s a definite benefit of the digital age that allows one to easily reach the masses, however, it can be a little more complicated than posting a status to Facebook and waiting for the hordes of shoppers to turn up.


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Technology and broadband top investment priority for UK SMEs, says report

January 14 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

Access to faster and more resilient broadband will be top priority of 2015 for most UK SMEs.

In today’s digital world, connectivity is key to success and it seems the UK’s population of small and medium-sized enterprises concur, as 90 per cent of UK SMEs will look to gain access to faster and more reliable broadband in 2015, according to a report commissioned by the internet provider TalkTalk.


The survey of 1,000 UK SMEs found that 90 per cent of respondents believed that broadband was crucial to future prosperity, and a quarter of all SMEs put technology in the list of top five priorities to achieve growth in 2015.


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