1 Aug 2018

Daisy Penman

1 Aug 2018

Good morning, 

Labour is facing fresh criticism over claims of antisemitism in the party following the revelation that Jeremy Corbyn appeared with people who compared the actions of Israel in Gaza to the Nazis. The incident occurred in 2010 at a Holocaust memorial event where Corbyn was giving a speech.

This has prompted calls on the UK’s human rights watchdog to investigate the Labour Party. The loudest voice in this chorus has been the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) who claim that the party has “created an atmosphere in which Jewish members and/or associates are discriminated against”. 

These claims have been amplified by a recording of an ally of Jeremy Corbyn who suggested that Jewish “Trump fanatics” were behind the claims of antisemitism. Labour is facing calls to take action against Peter Willsman, who says his remarks have not been reported accurately and who has referred himself for equalities training. 

With the parliament in recess and many Conservative MPs holding Brexit talks abroad, it is unlikely the focus will shift away from Labour. Though the heatwave seems to be retreating, Jeremy Corbyn may find that he is feeling hot under the collar for weeks to come.

News 

Theresa May is to end her holiday early this week in order to attend a summit with French President Emmanuel Macron. May is attending in order to convince Macron to soften his position on Brexit - she will likely ask him to drop his objections to security co-operation post-Brexit and to promise that he will back a comprehensive trade deal for the City of London. The French government has not entirely rejected the “soft Brexit” agreement May made at Chequers earlier this month, but government sources from within France have been critical in private. 

A work and pensions select committee inquiry report has said that the way universal credit is currently paid could be taken advantage of by abusive partners. Experts told the committee that single household payments meant that abusers may be able to exert financial control over their partners. MPs recommended that ministers consider splitting the payments between the two adults in a household on a routine basis. They said that this would not only combat abuse but would also reflect modern working households and promote gender equality.

Facebook has reportedly uncovered several “inauthentic” pages on its sitedesigned to meddle in the US midterm elections in November. The pages attempted to organise politically divisive rallies and similar events across the US - in one case, a clash between far-right white supremacists and left-wing groups in Washington was suggested for later this month, with more than 2,500 people responding that they would attend. The tactics are being compared to the efforts of groups connected to Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election; Facebook has said that any link with Russia in this current investigation is yet to be found.

Business & Economy 

One of the UK’s leading economic think-tanks has said that Theresa May’s “soft Brexit” proposal is not soft enough. The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) claimed that the government would either have to pay a larger financial contribution or accept higher migration in order to get the deal it was requesting. The think-tank also claimed that the recently published Brexit white paper would lead to a loss of £500 per person per year, whereas the loss would be £800 in a “no-deal” scenario. The NIESR has attributed these grim predictions to the confusion around the process of leaving the EU, commenting that Britain is “gripped by an unusual amount of uncertainty”.

Tech giant Apple has come closer to being the first $1 trillion company after shares rose by 3.7%, which brought the share price to $197.66, valuing the company at $960 billion. When a share is worth $203.45, Apple will be worth $1 trillion. Apple doesn’t release iPhone sales in terms of its various models, but the iPhone X has been largely attributed to the rise in profits - at £999 it is the the most expensive smartphone Apple have ever sold. It is estimated that Apple will account for 41.4% of smartphone users in the UK this year and 28% of the population are reportedly iPad users.

Stuart Scott, former head of currency trading at HSBC, won a High Court case against his extradition to the US to face charges of manipulating the currency market. Scott could have faced up to 30 years in prison if he were to be convicted in America, but the lord chief justice ruled that a previous judge’s decision to agree to a request from the US Department of Justice had been wrong.

Markets 

What happened yesterday?

The FTSE 100 finished the day up by 0.62% and in America the Dow Jones was also up by 0.43%. The Nasdaq Composite outperformed the other main US equity indices, rising 0.6%, as participants awaited the release of Apple’s quarterly earnings. The indication that US-China trade tensions may de-escalate boosted industrials, while oil prices fell - Brent crude recorded its biggest monthly drop since 2016.

The yen fell 0.8% against the dollar after the Bank of Japan again failed to deliver major policy stance changes that many have been calling for. The bank declared it was strengthening the framework for “continuous powerful monetary easing”, while they also introduced forward guidance and created greater flexibility in their bond operations.

Finals
Hargreaves Services

Interims
Aggreko
BAE Systems
BBA Aviation
Direct Line Insurance Group
Lloyds Banking Group
Rio Tinto
St James’s place

Trading Announcements
A.G. Barr
Next

AGMs
CML Microsystems
Dods Group

UK Economic Announcements
(00:01) BRC Shop Price Index
(07:00) Nationwide House Price Index
(09:30) PMI Manufacturing (EU)

Int. Economic Announcements
(08:55) PMI Manufacturing (GER)
(09:00) PMI Manufacturing (EU)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(14:45) PMI Manufacturing (US)
(15:00) Construction Spending (US)
(15:00) ISM Prices Paid (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)
(20:30) Auto Sales (US)

 

Columns of Note 

In The Times, Catherine Philp looks back at the issues Boris Johnson had as foreign secretary, particularly his awkward clashes with counterparts from other countries, and looks ahead to how Jeremy Hunt may fare in the same role. The incident of referring to his Chinese wife as Japanese aside, Philp points to Hunt’s eagerness to impress foreign politicians with his knowledge of their languages and praises his diplomacy. All this is a far cry, she says, from Johnson comparing President Hollande of France to a Nazi prison guard.

In The Guardian, Michael McCarthy asks if this summer’s heatwave will turn the tide of opinion towards acknowledging climate change. The front page ofThe Sun which proclaimed “The World’s On Fire” was what first drew McCarthy’s attention to the shift in conversation about Britain’s rising temperatures, and he points out that scientific figures can say anything but until people see real change first hand they may be reluctant to trust the facts and figures. He argues that the soaring temperatures of this past month have shown the public how climate change may come to affect them.

Did you know?

According to Unesco, Japan’s literacy rate is 99% - however, the country has not conducted an official national literacy survey since 1948.

Parliamentary highlights 

House of Commons
 
Recess until 4 September
 
House of Lords
 
Recess until 4 September
 
Scottish Parliament
 
Recess until 3 September