Published: 14 April 2021
Exports to the EU partly rebounded in February after a record slump to start the year while the wider economy also returned to growth, official figures show. The Office for National Statistics said goods sales to the bloc rose by £3.7bn, or 46.6%, having fallen by £5.7bn, or 42%, in January, although they were still well down compared with last year.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has defended the government's decision to reject a request for £170m to support Liberty Steel. The firm’s future is on a knife edge following the collapse of Greensill Capital, the major financial backer of Liberty's parent company, GFG Alliance. Kwarteng told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that the request for funding came from GFG itself - a global business that he described as "opaque" and that it would be "irresponsible” to give money to such a group as ministers would have "no idea where this money would end up.” GFG has “assets around the world we haven't got to the bottom of" and the government had to ensure any money provided stayed in the UK, Mr Kwarteng said.
Young black people have been hardest hit by unemployment during the pandemic, new research indicates. Over the past year, the UK jobless rate for young black people rose by more than a third to 35%, according to the Resolution Foundation think tank. This compares with a rate of 24% for young people of Asian descent and a rate of 13% for young white people, both up three percentage points. The foundation said Covid had widened existing gaps between ethnic groups.
The majority of Brits expect to return to the office before the end of summer, Yahoo Finance UK reports. A survey of over 1,000 people carried out by Morgan Stanley found 57% of Brits believe they will be able to return to their workplaces by September at the latest, as lockdown restrictions around the country begin to ease and infection rates fall. The findings chime with a recent Deloitte survey of CFOs, which found that two-thirds of finance leaders expect the bulk of their workforce to return to the office by September.
Online fashion retailer Boohoo has spent £72m buying a new office at 10 Great Pulteney Street in London's Soho. The building has space for 600 staff, covering product, marketing, technology, and central support teams.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs has announced plans to open a new office in Birmingham later this year as part of a commitment to developing tech and engineering talent in the city.
The Bank of England announced yesterday that its chief economist Andy Haldane will step down after the June meeting of the monetary policy committee, after 32 years at the bank. He took up his current role in 2014, the same year Time magazine named Haldane among the 100 most influential people in the world. He will leave the bank to become chief executive of the Royal Society for Arts.
British defence company Babcock has announced tough self-help measures to reverse underperformance and put the business back on a more sustainable footing. 1,000 jobs and layers of management will go to save an estimated £40m a year in costs. Babcock will also focus on aerospace and defence in the UK, France, Canada, Australia, and South Africa; and raise £400m selling off other parts of the business not central to its new identity. Shares surged 25% on the news yesterday.
Takeaway courier company Just Eat announced a fourth consecutive quarter of growth in its first quarter trading update on Tuesday morning, saying its fastest growing segment was the UK market. The business said it had reached a 695% order growth rate year-on-year in the UK. Overall Just Eat processed 200 million orders in the first quarter of 2021, representing a 79% increase compared with the same period of 2020.
Banknote maker De La Rue says it has repaid all the money it received from the government's furlough scheme as profit for the financial year 2020/21 could be as much as £37m.
Real estate group Land Securities said yesterday that £33m of rent due to be received on 25 March was still outstanding. Real estate firm Derwent London said it had now received 87% of total quarterly rents, with a further 5% expected later in the period.
Investors in Credit Suisse are being urged by Glass Lewis, a shareholder advisory group, to oust the head of the lender's risk committee, Andreas Gottschling, because of a string of risk management failures. The bank failed to spot problems at Greensill Capital, which collapsed, or forsee the collapse of New York family office Archegos Capital, which cost Credit Suisse $4.7bn. The bank is notably worse off than other lenders who dealt with Archegos, and Credit Suisse shares have fallen by a fifth in the last month.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a pause in administration of the Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine after the occurrence of "rare and severe" blood clots in six women between 18 and 48. Symptoms appeared six to 13 days after vaccination. So far J&J has vaccinated more than 6.8 million people in the U.S. since the drug was given emergency authorisation in February. The FDA said the recommendation to pause the rollout was done "out of an abundance of caution."
Toshiba's chief executive resigned on Wednesday amid controversy over a $20bn (£14.5bn) buyout bid from private equity firm, CVC Capital Partners. A statement from the Japanese conglomerate gave no reason for Nobuaki Kurumatani's resignation.
Singapore app company Grab is planning to list in the US through a record-sized special purpose acquisition company, Sharecast News reports. The firm, which offers an ‘all-in-one’ platform for ride hailing, banking, food delivery and hotel bookings across Southeast Asia, has struck a deal with US company Altimeter Growth Corp. Grab's valuation of some $40bn has more than doubled in the last two months. The pandemic stoked strong demand for the app; Grab recorded $12.5bn in gross merchandise value last year. Backers include Japan's SoftBank, Uber Technologies and Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, while the merger and flotation has attracted investors including BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, Mubadala of Abu Dhabi and Singapore's Temasek.
Bitcoin soared to yet another record yesterday, this time touching $63,152.812 (£45,988.19), a day before US cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase plans to float on the stock market. Meanwhile ethereum, the world's second biggest cryptocurrency, continued its multi-month rally to cross $2,200.
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