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Thread: World News from Forex Forum Nigeria.
  1. #501
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    UK's summer spending spree cools in September - surveys

    British consumers turned more cautious about their spending in September after going on a summer spree, two surveys showed on Tuesday, suggesting the overall economy can no longer cope on them quite as much to soften the drag of Brexit.

    Shops reported total spending edged up by an annual 0.7 percent last month, the slowest rise since October last year apart from a slump in April which was distorted by the timing of the Easter holiday, the British Retail Consortium said.

    A broader measure of consumer spending by Barclaycard (BARC.L) increased by the smallest amount in five months, rising by an annual 3.9 percent.

    “We’ve seen spending return to a more modest level as consumers balance their budgets after a longer than usual summer of spend,” Esme Harwood, a Barclaycard director, said.

    Household consumption accounts for about 60 percent of Britain’s economy. The Bank of England and other forecasters have been surprised by its strength since the Brexit vote in 2016, even as pay growth has lagged behind inflation.

    The propensity of consumers to spend has helped to soften a slowdown in the overall economy.

    But there have been signs that after a summer heatwave and the soccer World Cup, households have turned a bit more cautious. The BoE last week reported the weakest increase in borrowing by consumers in nearly three years.

    Nearly half of the consumers surveyed by Barclaycard — 46 percent — were planning to spend less on Christmas this year than they did in 2017, she said.

    The BRC data showed that on a like-for-like basis, which excludes the effect of changes in store space, retail sales fell 0.2 percent in September, the first non-Easter decline since October last year.

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    BoE takes action to steer lenders through 'no-deal' Brexit - source

    The Bank of England (BoE) has asked lenders in Britain to provide six-hourly checks on their balance sheets in the days after a possible “no-deal” Brexit as it seeks to avert a sudden squeeze in credit supply, a senior industry source said.

    The source told Reuters the central bank’s supervisory arm, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), was “upping the ante” on its Brexit planning as time runs out for London and Brussels to agree the terms of their divorce.

    “The working assumption was that there will be something , and now... they might simply time out,” the source said, describing the lengthy negotiations between UK and EU lawmakers.

    The PRA declined to comment.

    Brexit negotiations have so far failed to produce a deal with just six months to go before the March 29 deadline. A no-deal Brexit would erase legal infrastructure relied upon by much of the financial sector, and could derail a shaky UK economy.

    The BoE on Tuesday urged the European Union to do more to protect cross-border financial services from the risks of a “cliff-edge Brexit” in its most stark warning on market stability to date.

    But the central bank also said it had no concerns about the overall resilience of Britain’s banks, pointing to healthy volumes of capital stockpiled to help lenders cope with disorderly markets.

    The BoE’s checks on lenders if there is no deal would cover deposits, loans, currency and derivative exposures as well as any changes in the cost of funding and lending rates, the source told Reuters.

    These would also include telephone calls at regular intervals where senior management can relay in real time the money market impact of Britain’s departure from the single market, and the end of decades’ worth of shared regulation and mutual commercial interest.

    The PRA routinely increases monitoring of lenders around significant events, and took similar measures when Scotland voted on its membership of the United Kingdom in 2014 and the Brexit referendum in 2016.

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    Post-Brexit trade deals unlikely to help UK economy much - OBR

    Britain’s plan to strike trade deals around the world, a key plank of the government’s strategy for life outside the European Union, is unlikely to help the economy much, the country’s official budget forecaster said on Thursday.

    Brexit supporters have stressed the importance of striking trade deals with countries outside the EU which account for the bulk of growth in global trade.

    But the OBR said such trade deals were unlikely to have much impact on its forecasts for Britain’s economy over its usual five-year horizon, and perhaps for many years to come, in a report setting out how it will factor Brexit into its outlook.

    “As well as being challenging to negotiate, the evidence suggests that the benefits of additional bilateral trade deals are likely to be relatively modest - and the impact of any individual deal may not be material for our forecast,” it said.

    The OBR pointed to the government’s own analysis suggesting the boost to the economy from a trade deal with the United States, Britain’s number two trading partner after the EU, was likely to be just 0.1 to 0.3 percent a year in the long run.

    The OBR said the impact of a disorderly, no-deal Brexit was almost impossible to quantify because it would be unprecedented.

    However, the OBR drew a parallel with early 1974 when energy shortages and striking miners forced the government to introduce a three-day working week, causing a 3 percent slump in economic output in the space of a single quarter.

    EU officials say a withdrawal deal is within reach but British officials say “big issues” remain.

    The EU accounts for about half of Britain’s external trade, through the bloc’s single market for goods and services. Britain’s access to this will be curtailed after Brexit.

    The OBR said it was “noteworthy” that all estimates for the hit to Britain’s economy so far from the 2016 Brexit vote showed economic output be around 2 to 2.5 percent lower than it would otherwise have been, despite different calculation methods.

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    UK no-deal Brexit paper warns of complications for power imports

    Britain has warned operators of electrical power links with Europe that they will need to set up alternative trading arrangements if the country leaves the European Union next year with no exit deal.

    The United Kingdom imports around 6 percent of its electricity via power links with France, the Netherlands and Ireland but plans to build several more.

    Companies operating electricity interconnectors, which include Britain’s National Grid (NG.L) and French grid operator RTE, should “carry out contingency planning for a ‘no deal’ scenario”, a government paper said.

    In the event of no deal on Britain’s EU exit, European energy law will no longer apply to the UK electricity market.

    The paper said the government and energy regulator Ofgem were working with interconnector operators “to ensure new access rules are approved in Great Britain and are providing support to interconnectors engaging with EU Member State authorities”.

    Britain has issued a series of papers outlining the implications of a no-deal Brexit for a range of sectors.

    The British government wants to increase power supply options, such as new interconnectors, as old domestic coal and nuclear plants close from the mid-2020s.

    However, Norway’s state-owned grid operator Statnett warned earlier this year that Brexit could hamper new projects, including two planned links with Norway.

    A separate paper said gas trading between Britain and Europe was not expected to change significantly in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

  6. #505
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    Banks, insurers must have credible plans for climate change: BoE

    “Financial risks from climate change will be minimized if there is an orderly market transition to a low-carbon world, but the window for an orderly transition is finite and closing,” the central bank said in a policy proposal document.

    Governor Mark Carney, who has put climate change issues on the BoE’s regulatory radar, said last month that lenders had failed to grasp the scale of the challenge.

    The BoE’s Prudential Regulation Authority said it expects firms to understand how climate risks will affect their business model.”

    Insurers are facing heavier payouts for increased flooding caused by climate change and tougher energy efficiency standards for homes and commercial property could affect repayments on mortgages and thereby hit banks, it said.

    If the risks are material, the PRA said firms should show how they will mitigate them “and to have a credible plan or policies in place for managing exposures.”

    In Monday’s statement setting out its guidance for the consultation, the BoE explained how it expected banks, insurers and building societies to “identify, measure, monitor, manage and report on their exposure” to climate change risks.

    It called on firms to help it work out what good measurement and public disclosure of risks would look like.

    Some banks have agreed to disclose information regarding climate change already, something which has the potential to become mandatory in the future.

    Separately, the Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates asset managers and trading platforms in Britain, published a discussion paper on managing climate change risks.

    It asks if investment managers should be required to take risks from climate change into account, and whether there should be a new requirement for firms to report publicly on how they manage climate risks.

    The FCA wants to ensure competition and growth in green investments that provide environmental benefits, and will look at how to improve investor information on climate risks faced by a company listing on the stock market.

    “We are seeing increasing interest from issuers and investors in the green and sustainable finance space and as a result, greater transparency on sustainable capital flows, but today’s publication shows that the regulators want to see much more,” said Amrita Ahluwalia, a lawyer at Linklaters.

    The BoE expects to issue further guidance on best practice 12-18 months after the supervisory statement has been finalised.

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    Still one-in-four chance of no-deal Brexit, say economists

    There is still a one-in-four chance Britain and the European Union part ways in less than six months without reaching a deal, according to a Reuters poll taken as EU leaders prepare to meet in Brussels later this week.

    The stubborn problem of resolving the United Kingdom’s post-Brexit land border with Ireland thwarted an effort over the weekend to clinch a deal before this week’s EU summit as negotiators admitted defeat after marathon talks.

    Both sides want to finalise talks by mid-November to give parliaments in London and Brussels time to approve a deal before Britain otherwise crashes out in March, an outcome that would plunge businesses and millions of citizens into a chaotic and costly legal limbo.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May faces stiff opposition at home and abroad to her plans and is struggling with deep divisions in her own party. Boris Johnson, her former foreign minister and figurehead of Britain’s Brexit campaign, said talks were “now entering the moment of crisis”.

    May said on Monday she continues to believe a deal is achievable and real progress had been made in recent weeks on both the withdrawal agreement and future relationship. She also said progress had been made on Northern Ireland, the UK’s only land border with the EU.

    When asked what probability they attached to the likelihood of a disorderly Brexit - where no divorce deal is reached - economists questioned largely before the talks hit an impasse gave a median 25 percent, unchanged from a September poll. The highest forecast was 80 percent.

    “A deal is still more likely than not,” said Kallum Pickering at Berenberg. “At any rate, the range of possible outcomes remains wide. But then again, did anyone seriously think this would be a walk in the park?”

    The most likely eventual outcome is the two sides reaching a free trade agreement, the poll taken Oct. 9-15 found, as has been predicted since Reuters first began polling on this two years ago.

    In second spot was leaving without an agreement and trading under basic World Trade Organization rules. Holding in third place was Britain belonging to the European Economic Area, paying to maintain full access to the EU’s single market.

    Keeping its position as least likely was Brexit being cancelled. No respondent pegged this as most likely.

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    The Dollar is key in the short term but the big cycles are turning cautious
    In the last few weeks, we have mentioned the concept of the totality of monetary policy. Everyone focuses on interest rates, but monetary policy is more than that. We need to look also at money supply, the yield curve as well as rates, the Fed’s balance sheet and the direction of the US Dollar to get an overall sense of monetary conditions. A number of commentators will make the point that with US rates at only 2%, how can there possibly be bad times ahead; surely rates would have to reach 5% or more for something nasty to happen? Perhaps they are right, but if we accept the argument that we need to look at the totality of monetary policy, along with current conditions, then the situation has to be more nuanced that “ah, rates are too low for a recession to occur”.

    Chart 1 below is from the excellent Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management. His thesis (and we are massively simplifying this) is that M2 money supply growth has decelerated into 17 of the last 21 recessions (since 1900) and that the totality of monetary policy can explain the four occasions when money supply did not decelerate into recessions.

    In chart 2 below, we plot the Fed Funds rate and the US yield curve alongside the year over year per cent change in M2 and stock prices (shaded areas = recessions). What we are trying to show here is a more complete look at monetary policy than purely interest rates, which of course remain at a low nominal reading of 2%. This shows that prior combinations of Fed tightening, as shown by Fed rate rises, decelerating money supply growth and a flattening of the yield curve are a powerful force and apparent prior to recent recessions.

    Where are we today? Well, the Fed will continue to raise rates until something changes (most likely something untoward in the financial markets in our opinion) M2 money supply growth is decelerating noticeably and the yield curve continues to flatten. We are of the view that these monetary levers need to tighten further prior to a recession, and that we will likely see the yield curve flatten well before such an event.

    Because of its global reserve status, changes in US policy are felt at home and abroad. Global markets are also influenced by changes in the US current account (a mechanism by which the US supplies Dollars to the rest of the World thereby helping growth) and the level of the Dollar. So, with the current account about half the level it was pre 2008 crisis, and the Dollar up 7% from the recent low, headwinds for the global economy and more especially emerging markets are becoming apparent.

    We think that the Dollar could be an important factor for global markets in the weeks ahead. Any further Dollar gains could easily tip markets over towards bear market territory, or a decline in the Dollar will help markets bounce from here. It is important, because as we show in chart 3 below, the MSCI World ex. US is testing a level of support that has been created over the last eight months, and it is trading below its own 40 week moving average. A break of this support could easily lead to further losses.

    For months, we have been talking of a multi-month topping process, and this is what it looks like on a chart of a broad based index. Our preference at the current time is that this support will hold and that the Dollar could soften in the weeks ahead. We are therefore looking for the topping process to continue a little longer, and for central banks to tighten policy further (obviously led by the Fed) and for economic growth to remain reasonable. But the risks do seem to be growing and investors need to remain alert.

    In the weeks ahead, we will continue to look at the current conditions of the economy, and how policy could affect growth in future quarters. As we tried to point out last week, the economy will only start to deteriorate after the turn in leading indicators and financial markets. We should certainly not confuse economic analysis with market analysis as waiting for an obvious deterioration in the economy will most likely mean that investors have overstayed their welcome. That said, we think the combination of both a financial and economic downturn will be comparable to 2008, and so understanding both is extremely important.

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    Slump in food shopping drags down UK retail sales

    A free-spending summer by British consumers came to an abrupt end last month with the biggest fall in sales in six months, raising questions about one of the main drivers of the economy ahead of Brexit, official figures showed.

    Retail sales volumes in September dropped by 0.8 percent from August - a sharper fall than economists had expected in a Reuters poll - hit by the largest decline in food purchases since October 2015, the Office for National Statistics said.

    Annual sales growth slowed to 3.0 percent from 3.4 percent in volume terms, in contrast to the pick-up expected by economists.

    But looking at the quarter as a whole, annual growth was still the strongest for a calendar quarter since late 2016.

    The joint-hottest summer on record, combined with the World Cup in June and July, encouraged shoppers to splash out on food and drink for barbecues earlier in the quarter.

    Britain’s economy has slowed since the June 2016 Brexit vote, but consumer spending has remained fairly solid, despite pressure on household disposable income from a spike in inflation since the referendum.

    Sterling edged lower against the dollar after the data.

    “September’s dip in sales reinforces suspicion that consumers may be a bit more restrained in their spending in the near term, at least after their third-quarter splurge - as their purchasing power is still relatively limited,” said Howard Archer, economist at consultants EY ITEM Club.

    Previously published data from the British Retail Consortium and Barclaycard had already shown households were spending more cautiously last month after their summer spree.

    This week provided signs of some respite for households, with underlying pay growth picking up to its fastest since 2009 at 3.1 percent and inflation dropping to 2.4 percent.

    “Retail sales continued to grow in the three months to September ... despite a slowdown in food sales following a bumper summer,” ONS statistician Rhian Murphy said.

    Thursday’s data showed a 1.5 percent monthly drop in food sales, spread across both big supermarkets and smaller stores. But sales of household goods such as furniture and electricals saw the biggest annual growth since 2001, boosted by promotions, clearance and online sales.

    British retailers themselves have reported mixed fortunes in their most recent earnings reports.

    While grocery sales have been robust this year, a shift away from high-street spending towards holidays and entertainment, along with online competition, has taken its toll on clothing and homeware retailers who lack a dominant internet presence.

    This week, fashion retailer Superdry warned on profit, and department store group John Lewis has reported lacklustre autumn trading.

    Online fashion has been the exception with both ASOS and Boohoo reporting strong trading..

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    UK budget gap shrinks, but leeway still limited for Hammond

    Britain’s government recorded a smaller budget deficit than expected in September, but the improvement is unlikely to give much help to finance minister Philip Hammond as he prepares his annual budget.

    The deficit in September fell to 4.123 billion pounds ($5.38 billion) from 4.958 billion pounds a year before, the Office for National Statistics said. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of 4.5 billion pounds.

    The figures also showed a sharp downward revision for August’s deficit.

    For the first six months of the 2018/19 financial year, the deficit stood at 19.9 billion pounds, down 35 percent on the previous year and the lowest at this stage of the year since 2002.

    But few economists expect Hammond to unveil major shifts in spending in his budget on Oct. 29, five months before Brexit.

    London and Brussels have yet to strike a divorce agreement and Britain’s official budget forecasters have said Brexit is more likely to harm than help public finances.

    Earlier this month Prime Minister Theresa May pledged an end to austerity, but Hammond’s room for manoeuvre is limited.

    He has yet to explain how he will finance May’s promise of higher health spending, which will add 20 billion pounds to the National Health Service budget by 2023/24.

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  12. #510
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    Oil service company Solstad seeks creditor talks, shares fall

    Oil service company Solstad Offshore (SOFF.OL) is seeking negotiations with creditors and other stakeholders to boost liquidity ahead of the slow winter season, the company said on Monday, sending its shares down around 20 percent.

    Solstad, with more than 4,000 employees, is one of the world’s largest suppliers of specialised vessels to the oil and gas industry as well as offshore wind power developers. It has a fleet of 141 vessels.

    Solstad and other oil services companies are trying to bounce back after being hit by oil company spending cutbacks following a slide in oil prices. The company went through a major debt restructuring in 2016-17 and merged with several rivals.

    Solstad’s second-quarter results in August showed that liquidity continued to shrink during the first six months of 2018. The company said it would look at various options, including vessel sales, entering into joint ventures or further consolidation.

    “We were all too optimistic about when the recovery will happen,” Chief Executive Lars Peder Solstad told Reuters on Monday.

    “2019 will probably be a bit better, but we will need to wait until 2020 or 2021 to see the rates rising to reasonable levels.”

    Solstad’s CEO declined to elaborate on the options under consideration, or to comment further on the liquidity situation. The company reports its third-quarter results on Nov. 6.

    In the second quarter, Solstad’s cash position fell to 1.37 billion Norwegian crowns ($166.13 million), down from 1.47 billion crowns at the end of March and from 2.4 billion crowns in mid-2017, according to the company’s second quarter earnings.

    Soldstad’s total debt and liabilities stood at 31.1 billion crowns in the second-quarter.

    Solstad said in its second-quarter report that it expected to benefit from increased offshore drilling and production activity to a certain extent in 2018, but even more in 2019 and onwards.

    “I’m still very positive about the market’s recovery, but it’s more about the timing,” CEO Solstad said on Monday.

    Solstad’s biggest shareholders are billionaire investors Kjell Inge Roekke and John Fredriksen, who own close to 40 percent of the shares.

    Its competitors include U.S.-based Tidewater (TDW.N), which agreed in July to buy a smaller rival GulfMark Offshore Inc (GLF.A) to expand in the UK North Sea, as well as Oslo-listed Siem Offshore (SIOFF.OL) and DOF (DOF.OL).

    ($1 = 8.2465 Norwegian crowns)

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