Posts belonging to Category UK

Britain unveils new fintech plans, including cryptocurrencies

G20:  no consensus for global regulation of cryptocurrencies

Britain announced a task force on Thursday to exploit the technology underpinning cryptoassets, such as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as part of new plans to help fintech companies find more customers.

British finance minister Philip Hammond said he was committed to helping fintech grow and flourish by taking a series of domestic steps and forging links overseas.

“As part of that, a new task force will help the UK to manage the risks around cryptoassets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology,” Hammond told a fintech conference hosted by the finance ministry.

Investors have flocked to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin despite wild price swings.

Regulators have warned that investors could lose all their money, but see promise in the blockchain technology that underpins cryptoassets.

Britain’s announcement comes after finance ministers from the Group of 20 richest economies (G20) were unable this week to find enough consensus for global regulation of cryptocurrencies.

Machines have replaced human stock market traders

Impact on the next financial crisis could be devastating

The February sell-off in stocks demonstrated the impact of automated trading on markets, according to Charles Himmelberg, Goldman Sachs’ cohead of global markets research.
“In this new market structure, machines have replaced humans, and speed has replaced capital,” Himmelberg said in a note.
This new ecosystem dominated by machines has dried up the sources of liquidity that would be needed in the next major wave of selling, he said.

Trump’s election consultants filmed saying they use bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians

Dirty tricks to swing elections

Cambridge Analytica, a  company at the centre of the Facebook data breach (harvesting of more than 50 million profiles), boasted of using honey traps, fake news campaigns and operations with ex-spies to swing election campaigns around the world, a new investigation reveals.

Executives from Cambridge Analytica spoke to undercover reporters from Channel 4 News about the dark arts used by the company to help clients, which included entrapping rival candidates in fake bribery stings and hiring prostitutes to seduce them.

In one exchange, the company chief executive, Alexander Nix, is recorded telling reporters: “It sounds a dreadful thing to say, but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true as long as they’re believed.”…  March 20, 2018

Brexit: North Ireland would stay under EU customs union rules

Avoid a hard border post-Brexit if no wider EU-UK trade deal or alternative is agreed

Northern Ireland will in effect remain in the EU’s customs union and single market to avoid a hard border post-Brexit if no wider EU-UK trade deal or alternative is agreed, the draft withdrawal agreement will state.

EU sources said the draft agreement from Brussels covering the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc in March 2019 – to be published in Brussels on Wednesday – will maintain a common regulatory area on the island of Ireland.

This will be triggered should the EU and the UK not agree a future EU-UK free trade deal or if London fails to propose an alternative arrangement for the Border post-Brexit.…  Febuary 28, 2018

Murdoch bid for Sky challenged by US giant

US cable TV giant Comcast has made a £22.1bn takeover bid for Sky, challenging an existing offer from 21st Century Fox

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox had already agreed an £18.5bn deal to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own. Comcast said the bid of £12.50 per share was a 16% higher than the 21st Century Fox offer. Comcast is the biggest US cable TV firm. It also owns the broadcast TV network NBC and Universal Pictures.

The company’s chief executive Brian Roberts, said: “We would like to own the whole of Sky and we will be looking to acquire over 50% of the Sky shares,” he said. Mr Roberts added that the UK “is and will remain a great place to do business” and that Comcast wanted to “use Sky as a platform for our growth in Europe”.…  Febuary 27, 2018

Irish government : Brexit talks ‘could collapse at any moment’

Negotiations could break down over the border issue

There is renewed fear within the Irish government that Brexit talks could collapse over the UK government’s refusal to consider staying in a customs union with the European Union. enior figures in the Irish government said privately that they fear that Theresa May’s insistence on leaving the customs union will make a hard border impossible to avoid and lead to a complete break down in negotiations.

A high-ranking member of the Irish government said “talks could collapse at any moment” in a meeting with a prominent British MP this month, a source familiar with the meeting has told Business Insider. The Irish government did not wish to comment when contacted by BI.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said on Friday that border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are “unavoidable” if Britain decides to leave the customs union and single market.…  Febuary 12, 2018

Dow futures tumble over 400 points

Markets: Fasten your seat belts

The Dow has already plummeted more than 1,800 points over the previous two trading sessions. Monday was particularly brutal: the index tumbled a record 1,175 points. The 4.6% plunge was the Dow’s worst day since August 2011 and knocked it into the red for the year.
The tremors also spread to the other side of the globe, with stocks in Asia plummeting overnight. Japan’s Nikkei lost more nearly 5%, while stocks in Hong Kong dropped almost 4%.  Febuary 06, 2018

UK: New party aiming to stop Brexit

Touring towns and universities across the UK

The Renew party has recruited some 220 candidates to stand in local and national elections – with the first test coming in London and English councils in May – and many of them are expected to gather this weekend for their first mass training session. Representatives of Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche will attend the London event to give advice on tactics for catapulting a new party into the political mainstream. But leaders of the party played down suggestions that Renew was an attempt to replicate the French president’s political agenda in the UK.

“The EU referendum was a wake-up call that the UK is a nation divided, with mass discontent at inequality, national identity and regional, social and generational differences,” said Sandra Khadhouri, a former UN worker who is one of Renew’s three “principals”, alongside accountant James Torrance and start-up strategy consultant James Clarke.  Febuary 05, 2018

It’s official now: Brexit would damage UK growth

Leaked cabinet report

Brexit would leave the UK worse off under three possible scenarios: a comprehensive free trade deal, single market access and no deal at all, according to a leaked government analysis of the economic impact of leaving the EU.

The document was meant to be shown confidentially to cabinet ministers this week but was leaked in an embarrassing development for Theresa May and David Davis, the Brexit secretary.

It said national growth would be 8% lower under a no deal scenario, around 5% lower with a free trade agreement with the EU and about 2% lower with a soft Brexit option of single market membership over a 15-year period.…  Febuary 01, 2018

What is Davos 2018?

Who is attending the World Economic Forum?

THE world’s most powerful leaders will meet tomorrow at Davos 2018 for an annual four-day elite conference known as the World Economic Forum. But what is Davos 2018 and who is attending the World Economic Forum? A global political get-together for around 2,500 movers and shakers from the worlds of business, politics, finance and media, the World Economic Forum is held annually each year in the town of Davos.

The mountain resort sits high up in the eastern Alps of Switzerland in Graubunden, the largest and and most eastern member state of the country. It is home to one of the Switzerland’s biggest ski resorts and is also the highest “town” in Europe at 1,560m. Davos 2018 will run from January 23 to 26 under the theme of “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” and will be the the 48th forum to date.…  January 23, 2018