LSBF Blog - Global Matters

China growth slowdown is a sign of consolidation, not decline, says report

June 19 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

ICAEW has published a new report which shows that slowing economic growth in China represents a period of consolidation.

Growth in China may be slowing down but it is “not something we should be too worried about”, according to a new report from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW).

Economic Insights: Greater China was produced for the organisation by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), and finds that this year could be the first in which China officially misses its headline economic growth target. However, the gap will still be fairly small.

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YouTube confirms launch of paid music service

June 19 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

YouTube is launching a paid music service in a move designed to challenge companies like Spotify.

YouTube has become hugely influential in the music industry, with growing numbers of hit songs from artists who established a fanbase through the video streaming site. But now, Reuters reports that the firm has finally confirmed that it will be launching its own paid music service to rival firms such as Spotify and Pandora.

The Google-owned company has announced that it is partnering with “hundreds of major and independent” labels, to put together the streaming service.

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Study reveals shortage of female professionals in British IT industry

June 19 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

The UK IT industry is still suffering from a serious lack of female talent, a new report has found.

The high number of budding technology companies in the UK has made it a hotbed for IT expertise – but it is also suffering from a talent shortage in a number of crucial disciplines. Now a new report has indicated that increasing the representation of women in the industry is an important way of redressing the balance.

According to the Women in IT Scorecard from the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute for IT, and e-skills UK, fewer than one in six of the UK’s 1,129,000 IT specialists are female. Interestingly, that figure actually rises slightly to 19 per cent in the devolved countries of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of more than 750,000 working specifically within the IT sector across the UK, the figure increases marginally to 20 per cent.

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General Motors recalls 3 million more vehicles

June 18 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

General Motors has suffered huge losses in both money and reputation over technical problems with millions of vehicles – and today, another three million have been recalled.

General Motors (GM) has had a bad few weeks to say the least. Millions of the US manufacturer’s vehicles have been recalled so far this year – and yesterday (17 June), the financial and reputational losses have grown even further with news that another three million cars will have to be recalled.

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Kenya aims for African record $2 billion bond sale

June 18 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Kenya has broken African records by raising $2 billion from global investors in its debut bond sale.

Kenya has raised as much as $2 billion (£1.18 billion) from institutional investors on its debut in the sovereign bond market, the Financial Times reports – the biggest ever debut for an African nation.

High levels of demand from investors such as pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies all came together to propel Kenya to its success – and with investors having placed orders for over four times more than the government eventually raised, it seems that risk appetite in the world’s markets is bouncing back.

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London: Financial technology capital of the world

London has become the world’s premier financial technology hub. What makes the city so attractive for the sector?

London has been an established centre of information and knowledge for hundreds of years, and its bustling finance centre is an established feature in global markets. In recent years, its blossoming technology sector has begun to make an even greater impression on the global scene, as well as making a huge contribution to the economy.

Perhaps then it is no surprise that a new report shows it is also the financial technology (fintech) centre of the world.

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#StartupSpotlight: Affordable private healthcare for all in the heart of London

June 17 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

In this week’s StartUp Spotlight, we speak with Alya Marquardt, MD of Harley Street Health Centre group, which provides affordable private medical service with all tests and examinations done onsite for the patients’ convenience.

 

Elevator Pitch:

Harley Street Health Centre provides affordable private healthcare including immediate access to experienced GP and medical testing as well as a range of corporate services.

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Talent shortage in the City of London boosts salaries

June 17 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

New figures from Morgan McKinley show that salaries are rising in the City due to a talent shortage.

Several new studies have recently shown that hiring is picking up across the UK, and the finance sector is performing particularly strongly. But now, a new study from recruiter Morgan McKinley has found that the employment market is becoming even more favourable for finance professionals.

In its latest London Employment Monitor the company found that the number of financial services jobs in London rose by a substantial 15 per cent in May compared to the same month last year.

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London could gain billions from booming digital tech sector

A new study has found that London’s booming digital tech sector could contribute billions to the capital’s economy.

London has long been known as a major finance centre, but in recent years another industry has taken root there to give the capital’s economy a considerable boost.

According to a new report by Oxford Economics for promotional body London and Partners, the sector could make a massive contribution in terms of both economic activity and jobs. Details of the study have not yet been released, with only one page of key findings having been published so far.

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Bank of England governor Mark Carney warns of early interest rate rise

Bank of England governor Mark Carney suggested last week that interest rates might rise earlier than expected.

12 June’s Mansion House event was not exactly full of surprises, with much of the content of UK Chancellor George Osborne’s speech published beforehand laying out new laws for the finance sector.

But one statement from Bank of England governor Mark Carney did raise a few eyebrows, after he warned that interest rates may rise earlier than most analysts expect.

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Tesla gives away its electric car patents

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has taken the major step of making its patents freely available to anyone who wants to use the firm’s technology.

Tesla Motors has been blazing a trail recently with developments in its electric car technology. But on 12 June, chief executive Elon Musk made a huge declaration that could have huge implications for the future development of eco-friendly transport.

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CBI calls for gender pay gap target

June 16 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

The Confederation of British Industry has called on the government to introduce a target for cutting the gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap has been the subject of fierce debate in the past few years, especially as wages have come under additional pressure as a result of the economic downturn.

Much has been written about how to reach a state where women’s average earnings are equal with those of men, and the latest contribution has come from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

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UK chancellor George Osborne announces tougher finance rules

June 13 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

George Osborne, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury, is set to announce a new set of measures to clamp down on bad behaviour in the finance sector.

The UK’s financial sector has suffered from a flurry of scandals in recent years, which have often left the public unaware of the amount of good practice that still goes on. In a bid to prevent problems such as the Libor-fixing fiasco from cropping up in future, George Osborne is due to announce a new set of measures to stamp out malpractice in the industry.

One of the most significant changes will be an extension of the new legislation that was put in place to regulate Libor rates.

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Bank of Ghana criticised for funding budget deficit

June 13 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Ghana’s central bank has attracted criticism for funding the government’s entire budget deficit.

Ghana’s central bank has drawn criticism from analysts by making the controversial decision to fund the government’s entire budget deficit.

Bloomberg reports that Bank of Ghana has confirmed it made use of its right to give a “short-term advance” to the government to make up the deficit. Grace Akofi, head of research at the central bank, told the source that the bailout became necessary due to “shortfalling government revenue”.

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ONS data shows strong rise in employment in the UK

June 12 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Britain’s economic recovery has been underlined today by another increase in employment.

There’s been a stream of positive news on the UK’s economic recovery recently, and figures published today by the Office for National Statistics show that employment is continuing to perform strongly.

Over 30.5 million people were in work between February and April – 345,000 more than in the previous three months and up by an impressive 780,000 from the same period last year. That was the single biggest leap since records began.

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Nigeria targets global oil leadership with OPEC secretary-general candidacy

June 12 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Nigeria is working to consolidate its status at the head of the global oil market by pushing for its oil minister to lead Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Nigeria recently overtook South Africa as the biggest economy in Africa, and Nigeria appears to be set on consolidating its position on the global stage.

Now, it appears the next step is to develop its reputation using its plentiful natural resources, as news has emerged the country is pushing its own oil minister for a leadership role in the world’s major oil organisation.

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UK industrial output rises for fifth straight month

June 11 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Manufacturing in the UK is still showing signs of recovery, after ONS figures shows industrial production on the rise again.

The UK economic outlook has been improving of late, with a series of reports showing that activity is firmly on the rise. New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published yesterday, 10 June, show that April was yet another positive month for the manufacturing sector in particular.

According to the latest Index of Production estimates, manufacturing output rose by 0.4 per cent in April from the previous month, marking the fifth month of expansion in a row. But the annual rate of growth was even more impressive at 4.4 per cent.

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India’s new government sets economic revival plan

June 11 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

India’s new government has announced a huge economic reform in a bid to bring fresh growth to the nation.

India’s economy has been failing to win over its critics of late. Although it has been growing fairly steadily, expansion below five per cent a year has not been enough to lift many citizens out of poverty and the country has been demanding more.

Manufacturing actually contracted in 2013-14, for the first time in more than 20 years.

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Barclays develops contactless payment wristbands

June 10 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Barclays says it will roll out wristbands that can be used for contactless payments in the next few months.

It is no secret that wearable technology is one of the key research areas for many tech companies. From Google Glass to patents suggesting that Samsung is still working on a smartwatch design, businesses are seeking ways to make technology more personal than ever.

Now, Barclays has announced that it is planning to extend the use of wearable tech into payment processes.

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Economic boom in sight as global shares hit all-time highs

Recovering economies and low interest rates have pushed world shares to their highest ever levels.

World shares were close to their highest levels ever yesterday, 9 June, as low interest rates in key economies and moves towards economic recovery buoyed investor confidence.

report from Reuters shows that MSCI’s 45-country All-World share index, an important benchmark for the performance of shares around the world, edged up 0.15 per cent to stand at 427.11 points. That was not far away from 428.63, the previous peak figure achieved before the financial crisis in 2007.

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European Central Bank imposes negative interest rates

Low inflation and a strong euro have driven the European Central Bank to impose negative interest rates.

The European Central Bank (ECB) took the dramatic step on imposing negative interest rates on 5 June.

Instead of paying out extra to banks that deposit money at the ECB, calculated according to the base rate, institutions will now actually have to pay financial penalties relative to the size of their deposit. Given the sizes of the sums involved, it is likely the move could prove very expensive for some banks.

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British retail calls on UK government for business rate reform

Small businesses would no longer have to pay business rates under proposals from the British Retail Consortium, but will the government listen?

Business rates have been a recurring theme for small firms over the past few years, with continual calls for the government to overhaul the current system.

But under proposals submitted to a government consultation on administering company taxes, more than 100,000 small businesses would no longer have to pay the notoriously high fees.

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Post Office and Travelex run out of Brazilian Reals ahead of World Cup

June 06 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Two major foreign exchange suppliers, Travelex and the Post Office, have run out of Brazilian reals ahead of the World cup.

The World Cup is fast approaching, and with only a week left to go excitement is mounting within the UK and the rest of the world. It’s expected to pull in 3.7 million visitors to Brazil, just over half of whom will actually be attending events linked to the tournament.

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Queen’s Speech aims for business vote

June 06 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

UK government uses the Queen’s Speech to unveil pro-business measures for the coming year.

It’s one of the highlights of the Westminster calendar, when the Queen descends on the House of Lords to unveil the government’s plans for the coming session.

Behind the pomp and ceremony of the most glamorous event that takes place in the Houses of Parliament, decision-makers have been working tirelessly on a list of measures that David Cameron described as “unashamedly pro-business”.

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SMEs and startups reap benefits of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has grown considerably in the years since the financial crisis, and businesses are reaping the rewards of this alternative source of finance.

The years since the financial downturn have seen a considerable rise in the number of new businesses and self-employed people, both in the UK and around the world. Yet at the same time, low confidence and reluctance on the part of many banks to lend to riskier businesses has made it much harder for some small firms to obtain finance.

It is hardly surprising that companies have shown more and more interest in alternative forms of finance.

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