LSBF Blog - Global Matters

IMF: Slow and steady growth worthwhile for China

September 29 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

An IMF expert has said that sustainable growth in China would be worth a slower rate of expansion.

Concern has emerged in global markets about a potential slowdown in China, and what easing demand in one of the world’s biggest economies could mean for the rest of the world. But according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), slower growth would be worthwhile to ensure that Chinese expansion is sustainable.

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France seeks German support for economic reforms

September 29 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

France is hoping that German support will help it implement economic reforms.

Europe has faced its economic struggles since the financial crisis, and France has become seen as one of the weaker links in the eurozone chain. But its government is working hard to implement economic reforms and to do that, it’s looking to Germany for support.

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Lloyds sells off 11.5% more of TSB stake after IPO success

September 26 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Lloyds Banking Group has continued to sell off its stake in TSB with a further divestment of 11.5 per cent.

Lloyds Banking Group has been edging closer and closer to washing its hands of challenger bank TSB for months. Today (26 September) it has emerged it has raised another £161 million from selling off a further 11.5 per cent stake in the promising lender.

It’s clear that Lloyds has wasted no time in bringing the latest sale to market, having promised it would not sell any more shares until this week.

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Biggest drop in UK graduate unemployment for 15 years

September 26 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Graduate career prospects are improving further, after figures showed graduate unemployment is falling even further.

Graduates know they have an advantage in the labour market, but since the financial crisis employment prospects have taken something of a knock. This year has seen plenty of improvement, however, and new data shows that unemployment among UK graduates is falling at a record pace.

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UK e-commerce surge imminent, claims Barclays report

September 25 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Report released by Barclays claims that a huge rise in e-commerce over the next few years is expected in the UK.

E-commerce is already a growing and promising sector of the economy in the UK, but it seems there are even better times to come for online retailers. According to a new report from Barclays, there’s a boom coming in the e-commerce sector.

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Virgin founder Richard Branson offers unlimited holidays for staff

September 25 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Sir Richard Branson says Virgin will stop tracking annual leave for some employees as new working practices look to boost productivity.

It’s a well-established fact that the way we live and work is changing. New technology is making it easier to build greater flexibility and freedom into the working day, and a new generation of millennial workers is prioritising a good work-life balance. Businesses, too, are beginning to understand the benefits that a new approach to work could bring.

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India promotes manufacturing sector to encourage investment

September 24 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

India is launching a new campaign to encourage investment in the nation’s manufacturing sector.

India has been struggling to keep pace with growth in the economies of many of its rivals. With a current account deficit, high inflation and weak factory output, it is now considering a raft of new measures to increase foreign direct investment and get the country growing fast once more.

This week, the government will officially announce a new programme aimed at luring global industry into India’s manufacturing sector.

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Rockefellers go green with investments

September 24 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

John D. Rockefeller’s heirs are pulling their money out of fossil fuel investments and going green.

John D. Rockefeller’s name has passed into legend. Synonymous with his massive oil wealth, he has become an almost mythical figure in the history of the US. So it’s all the more significant and symbolic that his heirs are going green.

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Corporate social responsibility adds to corporate value, says KPMG report

September 24 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

A report from KPMG has highlighted the importance of corporate social responsibility in adding and maintaining business value.

Businesses have often been tempted to see corporate social responsibility as little more than a public relations stunt. Intended to win over the public, activities that are aimed at adding value to communities rather than directly benefiting the companies themselves can all too easily be treated like vanity projects.

But as a recent KPMG report found, businesses need a better understanding of how they contribute to society at large in order to create corporate value of their own. So how are firm’s corporate and societal value linked?

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Dubai IFC to issue $700 million Islamic sukuk bonds

September 23 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Dubai International Finance Centre will be issuing Islamic sukuk bonds worth $700 million next month, it has announced.

Dubai has become more and more important as a financial hub for the Gulf region. A growing number of companies are choosing to set up there and its reach is becoming increasingly global. With the announcement of a large-scale new sukuk next month, it is consolidating its position in the Islamic finance category.

Governor and executive chairman Essa Kazim of the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) announced the move last weekend, on 21 September, at the same time as the finance hub’s half-year operating review.

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Alibaba makes record $25 billion IPO

September 23 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Alibaba finally posted the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) this week after a lengthy build-up.

It’s been a long road to get there, but after months and months of build-up, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba finally floated on the stock market last Friday, 19 September.

Everyone who had been watching the deal had expected it to be huge, and there was talk of a record-breaker long before Alibaba had even confirmed it would list on the New York Stock Exchange. They weren’t disappointed.

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Business leaders call for UK minimum wage rise

September 22 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

A group of business leaders have called for a higher minimum wage, and unions have welcomed the news.

The UK introduced the National Minimum Wage as a means of protecting low-paid workers and ensuring a basic minimum income for the nation’s employees. Not every business supported the move when it was first introduced, amid concerns that it would drive up operating costs and damage the fortunes of the company – but as it has become entrenched in the labour market, it’s hard to imagine Britain without it.

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Growing population makes Africa a key market

September 22 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Africa has seen its population grow, making it even more attractive as a market for businesses.

In recent years Africa has seen an explosion in growth in some of its major economies. Although it remains one of the poorest regions in the world, a growing population and economic development mean it is a very promising market for businesses planning to grow internationally.

Data from the Population Research Bureau shows that by 2050, Africa will see its population more than doublefrom 1.1 billion to 2.4 billion people. Nigeria alone will see its population rocket from 174 million to 440 million people. That will mean a large, young and sophisticated audience with a higher demand for a whole range of goods and services, not to mention a large workforce. Improved access to healthcare and medical advances are thought to have been the driving forces.

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US stimulus nears end but rates stay low

September 19 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

The US will end its quantitative easing programme next month, but it is not yet clear when interest rates will rise.

US monetary policy has been decidedly loose since the financial crisis. The Federal Reserve has been buying bonds for the past six years and interest rates have remained low over that same period. With more than $4 trillion Treasury and mortgage bonds reportedly purchased by the Fed since 2008, it is finally due to end its asset purchase programme next month.

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Business backs Scotland’s ‘No’ vote in independence referendum

September 19 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Businesses and investors have reacted with confidence to Scotland’s decision to stay as part of the UK.

Scotland’s decision to remain part of the United Kingdom marked a watershed moment in the nation’s political life. But it also sent ripples throughout the business and finance landscape, as the world reacted to a vote that ended months of uncertainty. That relief has been reflected in an influx of votes of confidence in the Union this morning, although in some respects the markets are already calming down again.

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Malaysia growth fastest in Asia-Pacific after China

September 19 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Malaysia’s economy is the fastest-growing in its region, credit ratings agency Moody’s has said.

Malaysia has been seen as one of Asia’s highest-potential markets for some time, and its efforts to boost its economic prospects have largely borne fruit. Yesterday, credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service said that despite fiscal consolidation acting as a drag on growth, the nation is still performing strongly. In fact, it’s doing better than any other economy in the region, with real gross domestic product (GDP) having grown by 6.3 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2014.

With a rate of growth that outstrips all the major countries in Asia-Pacific except China, Malaysia is clearly taking positive steps to boost its economy.

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M&S branches out to Nordic countries

September 18 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Norway and Finland are about to become the next countries to open M&S outlets.

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has been one of the UK’s most recognisable brands for decades, and it is using that legacy to fuel expansion into new markets overseas. The classic British retailer is about to launch into another promising European market as is plans to open stores in the Nordic countries.

On top of its 160 outlets in Europe, the company is pushing towards its target of having 250 overseas stores by 2016 by setting up 15 new stores in Norway and Finland as part of a franchise agreement. A flagship clothing and food shop in Helsinki will open next month, followed by its counterpart in Oslo in November.

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UK job market continues to grow as unemployment drops by 146,000

September 18 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Unemployment in the UK has fallen once again, according to new ONS figures, with 146,000 more finding jobs in the three months to July this year.

By now it’s almost dull to hear more positive news about the labour market, but the UK’s economic recovery is showing no signs of slowing down if employment is anything to go by.

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Alibaba ups share price ahead of highly anticipated IPO

September 17 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

E-commerce giant Alibaba’s share price has been increased to $66-68 ahead of its highly anticipated IPO.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has been one of the dominant forces in online trading for years, so it’s no surprise that its upcoming initial public offering (IPO) in New York is among the most hotly anticipated flotations this year. That excitement is rising even further now that the firm has upped the price range of its shares ahead of the IPO.

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Google launches $105 Android One smartphone in India

September 17 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Google is taking smartphones to the masses in emerging markets like India with the new Android One device.

Google has been onto a winner with its Android operating system in the past few years. It’s the biggest rival to Apple’s iOS and used on a wide range of devices by different manufacturers, and it’s associated with lower costs than rivals running Apple’s software. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that Google is using Android to gain a foothold in emerging markets.

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PricewaterhouseCoopers revenue grows to £2.8 billion

September 16 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Revenues are up five percent to £2.814 billion at PricewaterhouseCoopers as clients become more optimistic about the economic outlook.

Most recent data has pointed to a marked upturn in the UK’s economic fortunes as the business world looks forward to better trading conditions in the next few months and years. It makes sense that one of the touchstones of this success would be the professional services sector – after all, improvements in other sectors will have knock-on effects for the firms that provide services to them.

This became apparent at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) yesterday, 15 September, as the company announcedthat revenues have risen on the back of encouraging improvements in client confidence.

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Firms head back to the City of London

September 16 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Occupancy rates in the Square Mile are rebounding as firms look back to London as a finance hub.

London’s position as a finance hub has never really been in doubt. But in the midst of the financial crisis, a number of companies began to look elsewhere in favour of more affordable, and perhaps more competitive, locations.

It seems the capital is recovering from the effects of that shift, with a new report showing that companies are moving back to the City.

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UK signs more China trade deals

September 15 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

The UK moves to develop stronger links with China have continued with a new wave of trade deals.

The UK has been going out of its way to consolidate and tighten its bonds with China. Just a few months ago, deals worth more than £14 billion were signed during the visit of Chinese premier Li Keqiang to British shores, covering everything from oil to securities.

As China vice premier Ma Kai came to London and met chancellor George Osborne as part of the annual UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue summit, another fresh wave of trade deals are expected to be finalised.

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Japan PM Abe calls for greater female participation in workforce

September 15 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has been trying to get more women into work to boost the nation’s economy.

Japan’s working environment is known for many things, but flexibility and work-life balance are not among them. Punishing working hours and a culture of unpaid overtime have ensured that the country has a reputation for being tough on working parents.

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Bank switching rises with 7-day service

September 12 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

More and more people are switching bank accounts since a seven-day switching system was introduced.

Last September, moves were finally made to simplify the process of switching bank accounts. As part of a move to increase competition and make life easier for consumers, the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) was launched to ensure that customers could switch their accounts within seven days.

Direct debits and credits would also be changed over for them without any extra charges. According to new Payments Council figures published today, the scheme has been fairly successful so far.

This two-year project will see a total of £750 million invested in the design, building, testing and launch of the service by the time it ends. However, it is already being well used – in fact, the data shows that in just under a year since the launch, over 1.1 million switches have been made.

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