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NEWS - BUSINESS & ECONOMY

NEWS - BUSINESS & ECONOMY

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

September 19 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

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

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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M&S branches out to Nordic countries

September 18 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

M&S branches out to Nordic countries

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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Alibaba ups share price ahead of highly anticipated IPO

September 17 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Alibaba ups share price ahead of highly anticipated IPO

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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Firms head back to the City of London

September 16 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Firms head back to the City of London

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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Germany and France to kick-start €300 billion European investment push

September 10 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Germany and France to kick-start €300 billion European investment push

In line with plan outlined by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Germany and France are joining forces to push towards a European investment programme.

The eurozone’s struggles have been well-documented over the past few years since the financial crisis, but a new push from France and Germany could see a renewed period of investment across the European Union.

Bloomberg reports that government officials have confirmed that France and Germany are working together on proposals to involve the European Investment Bank (EIB) in granting loans to businesses. Apparently, the initiative is due to be presented to a meeting of finance ministers from across the bloc’s member states on Friday, 12 September.

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UK emerging as a ‘graduate economy’, claims OECD

September 10 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

UK emerging as a ‘graduate economy’, claims OECD

The UK is turning into a “graduate economy”, OECD says, but skills shortage needs to be addressed

More and more people in the UK are obtaining degrees, transforming the economy – but basic skills are not rising at the same rate.

These are the findings of the latest Education at a Glance report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which shows the UK is increasingly developing into a “graduate economy”.

More people are now likely to have a degree than to have achieved only school-level qualifications, the report finds – a significant milestone on the road towards a true graduate economy.

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Interest rates in the UK will rise in Q1 2015, says CBI

September 09 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Interest rates in the UK will rise in Q1 2015, says CBI

The Confederation of British Industry has said that it now expects interest rates to go up as early as the beginning of 2015 in Q1.

Last week (September 5th) saw the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) surprise nobody with the news that interest rates would remain flat for another month.

After more than five years at the record low of 0.5 per cent as the central bank has attempted to promote and then safeguard economic growth, it is going to take compelling evidence to encourage MPC to increase the cost of borrowing.

But the attitudes of policymakers have been shifting in the past few months, and minutes from last month’s meeting indicated that for the first time in three years the decision was not unanimous. Two members of the committee had actually voted to increase interest rates, although nine consented to keep the rate flat.

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UK challenges EU over bonus cap for bankers

September 08 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

The UK is mounting a legal challenge to new rules that limit the bonuses bankers can be awarded.

The UK government is due to present a legal challenge today (September 8th) to new EU legislation that limits the bonuses that can be paid to bankers.

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Bank of England keeps interest rates at 0.5%

September 05 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Bank of England keeps interest rates at 0.5%

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has announced that it is to keep interest rates at a record low of 0.5 per cent for another month, despite the fact that the UK’s economy is in robust shape.

In making the announcement, the BoE also revealed that it would be maintaining the size of its economic stimulus programme at £375 million.

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UK construction sector experiences 7-month high

September 04 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

UK construction sector experiences 7-month high

The UK construction sector continues to deliver outstanding results, with the latest Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

The construction boom in Britain is substantial, with the rise in output between August and July – from 62.4 to 64.0 – the largest monthly increase one of the biggest ever recorded during the survey’s 17-year history.

It is also the largest monthly rise since January of this year. Attributing to these successes include another marked rise in house building, and upsurges in commercial activity and civil engineering.

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TTIP can add £10bn to UK economy

September 03 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

TTIP can add £10bn to UK economy

Lord Livingston has claimed that the negotiations between the UK and the US over a European Union trade deal could add £10 billion a year to Britain’s coffers.

UK trade minister Lord Livingston said that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has the potential to transform Britain’s economy, by adding as much as £10 billion to it annually.

Although opponents of the yet to be finalised agreement believe that it would have a detrimental effect, Lord Livingston, who was chief executive of British Telecom until last year, brushed aside such arguments, saying the opposite in most cases is true.

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BCC ups UK growth forecast for 2014 and 2015

September 01 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

BCC ups UK growth forecast for 2014 and 2015

The British Chambers of Commerce has once again upgraded its economic forecast for the UK in 2014 and 2015.

It’s almost a cliché now to talk about the success of the UK’s economic recovery. But more encouraging data has been revealed last week that indicates Britain is doing even better than expected.

The latest Economic Forecast from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) shows that the business organisation has upgraded its growth forecasts for this year and next year. In fact, the 2014 prediction has been revised from 3.1 to 3.2 per cent – the fastest growth rate since 2007.

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Ryanair launches no-frills business class

August 29 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Ryanair launches no-frills business class

Ryanair is known for its no-frills approach to travel, but has just launched its first business class service.

Budget airline Ryanair has been working hard to shed its no-frills image in the past few years. Now it is following rival carrier easyJet with the launch of its first business class travel service.

 

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Salaries rise quickly for UK manufacturing sector employees

August 28 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Salaries rise quickly for UK manufacturing sector employees

New figures from manufacturers’ organisation EEF show that pay in the manufacturing sector is ticking upwards.

The manufacturing sector has experienced a resurgence as the UK recovers from the financial crisis. Even at a time when concern is high about the cost of living and the pace of wage inflation, manufacturers have managed to buck the trend with more promising salary data published on Tuesday, 26 August.

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UK car exports hit record rate

August 27 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

UK car exports hit record rate

The United Kingdom’s car manufacturing industry hit new highs during July pushing the total number of automobile exports past the five million mark.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed an output rise of 2.8 per cent to 132,570 vehicles during July. It took the total number of cars to come off UK production lines to 923,884, a 3.4 per cent compared to the same period 12 months ago. It has also meant exports have passed over five million since 2010, the best start to a decade ever.

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Mexico records stronger than expected growth

August 27 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Mexico records stronger than expected growth

Mexico reported a stronger than expected rate of growth in the second quarter of the year.

Industrial activity and domestic demand improved over the period and it further shows that the Mexican economy is steadily making progress towards recovery. Data published last week showed a 1.04 per cent increase in GDP in comparison to the first three months of the year. There were also gains in services and industry, which grew at their fastest rate since the third quarter of 2013.

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Switzerland to keep cap on franc until 2016

August 21 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Switzerland to keep cap on franc until 2016

The Swiss National Bank could keep its cap on the value of the franc until at least mid-2016, a Bloomberg poll has found.

Switzerland’s unique financial and monetary system has kept it in a close relationship with the very different regime within the eurozone. So much so that in the depths of the debt crisis that gripped Europe, Switzerland set a minimum exchange rate to protect the franc from depreciating too far.

Yet it doesn’t seem that the eurozone is recovering quickly enough for the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to risk removing the limit. According to the Bloomberg Monthly Survey of economists, it’s more likely that it will stay in place for another two years.

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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway stock price exceeds $200,000 per share

August 20 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway stock price exceeds $200,000 per share

Shares in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway surpassed $200,000 last week, a record high level for the price of one share.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has been one of the best-known names in the business world for many years, but the company truly made history last week.

Class A shares in the firm hit and eye-watering $202,850 each, topping the $200,000 mark for the first time and adding a spectacular $667 million to the investment tycoon’s fortune. This means that Mr Buffett, who is the third richest man in the world, is now worth nearly $66 billion, according to Forbes.

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Coca-Cola buys Monster stake for over $2 billion

August 20 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Coca-Cola buys Monster stake for over $2 billion

Coca-Cola has bought a $2.15 billion stake in Monster Beverage to begin a partnership with the energy drinks firm.

Coca-Cola has announced it is purchasing a stake in energy drinks company Monster Beverage to effect the start of a new working partnership.

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Job candidate shortage in the UK pushes salaries up

August 18 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Job candidate shortage in the UK pushes salaries up

A shortage of talent is pushing salaries higher, new recruitment data shows.

All the recent data has been pointing towards huge improvements in the UK labour market, with employment rising much more quickly than was expected even just a year ago.

But concerns have lingered around the nature of the jobs being created – as more people have gotten into work, wages have largely failed to match inflation and remain far below pre-recession figures.

So new data from KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) is particularly encouraging.

 

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London’s FTSE 100 index edges up to lead in Europe

August 18 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

London’s FTSE 100 index edges up to lead in Europe

The London FTSE 100 stock index rose last week to move ahead of French and German rivals.

Financial markets can change rapidly. In fact, change is really the only constant in today’s trading landscape. The UK’s top equity index the FTSE 100 has certainly seen some highs and lows in the past few months, but last week’s trading has seen it edge upwards as other European rivals have fallen.

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Japan economy struggles to cope with sales tax hike

August 15 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Japan economy struggles to cope with sales tax hike

Japan’s latest growth figures show that the economy is struggling to manage with a sales tax increase instituted in April.

Japan’s economy had been struggling with stagnant growth and nearly two decades of deflation when Shinzo Abe became president. Last year, Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda – Mr Abe’s preferred candidate for the role – unleashed a huge round of quantitative easing measures in a bid to kickstart the economy and get the country back on the path to growth.

However, as the latest data from the Cabinet Office shows, Japan is far from out of the woods.

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Vocational training is ‘key to fight youth unemployment’

August 15 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Vocational training is ‘key to fight youth unemployment’

Putting vocational and academic study on the same level is vital to reduce youth unemployment, according to a new report.

Youth unemployment has been one of the most serious issues stemming from the financial crisis. Though joblessness among young people is falling rapidly, as it is across the UK, unemployment figures for this age group have remained higher than they are in the UK as a whole.

According to a new report from the Institute for Public Policy and Research (IPPR), that is because the key lies in furnishing young people with the right skills to pursue their careers.

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Finance to lead City of London hiring spree

August 13 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Finance to lead City of London hiring spree

A rise in City of London hiring is set to be driven by a boom in finance recruitment, new data shows.

The UK jobs market is continuing to improve. Successive pieces of economic data have shown more and more people getting into work. Even though wages have not yet begun to match the rate of rising employment, job-hunters still have plenty to smile about. New figures also show that the finance sector is likely to be at the forefront of this recovery.

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Italy back in recession as its economic woes continue

August 12 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Italy back in recession as its economic woes continue

One of Europe’s biggest economies shows few signs of improvement, since Italy has gone back into recession.

Italy’s economy has been a cause for concern for years. But while its neighbours such as Spain took a hit from the global financial crisis and are beginning to emerge on the other side, the southern European nation is still stuck in the mud. If anything, it’s just slid a little deeper, according to new growth figures published on 7 August.

Gross domestic product fell by 0.2 per cent in the second quarter of this year, after slipping by 0.1 per cent in the previous three months. After two consecutive quarters of contraction, Italy is now officially classified as havingslipped back into a recession – the third in six years.

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