12 June 2018


12 June 2018

Good morning,

It was set to be the “summit of the century” according to the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in. Earlier today, President Trump and Kim Jong-Un met in Singapore to discuss the prospects of North Korean nuclear disarmament and a detente in the tense relationship between the two countries.

The fact that the summit is happening would have seemed ludicrous a year ago. The businessman and reality TV show president with no political experience meeting a young dictator following in his father’s footsteps would have made even the most outrageous foreign policy commentators blush.

But there was no sign of nerves from the North Korean leader, who just hours before the summit, opted to take a stroll around the streets of Sentosa, while Trump opted to remain in his hotel.

At the end of the negotiations, lasting more than two hours, the leaders signed what was self-described as a "comprehensive" document, but it was not disclosed in great detail what it contained. That will come later. What was most important was the imagery, with Trump and Kim exchanging an historic handshake in front of a row of US and North Korean flags.

Whether the summit is as important as Yalta or Richard Nixon's 1972 trip to China for geo-politics remains to be seen. But this morning marks an important step in international affairs and its aftermath may be felt for years to come.


After another set of negotiations, Tory rebels handed Theresa May a lifelinelast night by confirming they would not vote for an amendment to stay inside the customs union, as long as a new amendment is tabled that commits the government to negotiating a new customs "arrangement". However, there may be more trouble ahead for May, as Nicky Morgan, one of the leading rebels, said pro-Europeans would vote against the government if May did not win backing in Cabinet for her customs partnership plan.

Philip Hammond is expected to announce a bumper package for the NHS that includes raising up to £10 billion in extra tax to increase funds for the service. The move comes as the NHS is set to celebrate its 70th birthday, and Theresa May is also set to lift a cap that has been imposed on foreign workers from outside the EU that has hindered foreign doctors from coming to the UK.

Arron Banks, a prominent Leave.EU backer, is expected to appear in front of MPs today to discuss claims linking him to Russian officials. He claims Leave.EU did not receive any money and is part of a "fake news narrative". His appearance comes amongst claims he met Russia's UK ambassador three times in 2015 and 2016.

Business & Economy

Citigroup has offered a stark warning on the speed at which automation is eroding bank jobs, announcing that it will shed up to 20,000 technology and operations staff within the next five years. The comments come in a series of FT interviews with bosses of the largest investment banks on the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis.

Pomerantz, an American law firm, is investigating claims on behalf of WPP investors into whether “WPP and certain of its officers and/or directors have engaged in securities fraud or other unlawful business practices”. The potential law suit comes as Sir Martin Sorrell announced he would be returning to the City with a potential rival to WPP.

The new chief executive of HSBC, John Flint, presented his strategy for the bank to investors on Monday. He promised to continue HSBC's "pivot to Asia" and announced the bank would pursue a strategy of top line revenue growth. HSBC's revenues are down 37% in the past decade.


What happened yesterday?
The FTSE 100 had a strong start to the week and was up by 0.73% or 56.36 points to 7,737.43. This corresponded with a dip in the pound against the dollar of 0.19% at $1.33815. Sterling also fell against the euro by 0.48% to €1.1341.

This drop in sterling was precipitated by UK industrial production figures and goods trade balance figures that fell short of market expectations. However, the markets seemed to ignore the difficult G7 summit where Donald Trump flexed American muscles to undermine the "rules based international order".

In corporate news, Vodafone announced that it would cut its stake in Vodacom from 64.5% to 60.5% following Vodacom's plans to issue shares. This sent Vodafone's stock price up 0.94%.

Rolls-Royce was down 0.31% after speculation it was set to announce almost 4,000 job cuts on Friday. The company also announced that it will be required to carry out more tests on some Trent 1000 engines what have caused the company continued headaches after a durability issue.

BP Marsh & Partners
CML Microsystems
Iomart Group
Motorpoint Group
Oxford Instruments
Park Group
Trading Announcements
Ted Baker

UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Claimant Count Rate

Ted Baker
Tri-Star Resources
Woodford Patient Capital Trust

Int. Economic Announcements
(10:00) ZEW Survey (EU)
(13:30) Consumer Price Index (US)


Columns of Note

The Financial Times looks at the downfall of Sir Martin Sorrell at WPP after his announcement that he is returning to corporate life with a new venture to rival his old company. Using the accounts of more than 25 insiders, the column pieces together the account of what happened during the internal probe into Sorrell's conduct, and the aftermath.
Hugo Rifkind, writing in The Times, looks at the distinct divide in the Brexit camp. He uses the Arron Banks saga to distinguish between two different types of Brexiteer: the nihilists and the denialists.

Did you know?

According to reports, the biggest stadium in the world is in North Korea. The Rungrado 1st of May Stadium is alleged to hold up to 150,000 people and is used for the Mass Games.

Parliamentary Highlights

House of Commons
Oral Questions: Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)
Ten Minute Rule Motion: Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (England) – Fiona Bruce
Consideration of Lords amendments: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – Day 1
House of Lords
Oral Questions
Reviewing the Tier 2 visa system to ensure that overseas doctors recruited by the NHS can take up their positions - Baroness Hayman
Improving the mental and physical health and wellbeing of carers - Baroness Pitkeathley
Harassment of BBC Persian staff by the Iranian authorities - Lord Grade of Yarmouth
Recent reports of the Burmese military attacking Christians in Kachin and other ethnic minorities in Burma - Lord Alton of Liverpool
Legislation: Civil Liability Bill [HL] – Report stage – Lord Keen of Elie
Scottish Parliament
Topical Questions (if selected)
Ministerial Statement: National Council of Rural Advisors
Ministerial Statement: Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2016
Scottish Government Debate: Improving the lives of Gypsy Travellers

House of Commons

Oral Questions

Prime Minister's Questions

Consideration of Lords amendments
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Day 2

House of Lords

Oral Questions
Impact on the value of the Government's Royal Bank of Scotland shares of the actions of the bank’s global restructuring group - Baroness Kramer

Impact on crime levels of reductions in local authority funding

Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill – Third reading - Baroness Sugg

Scottish Parliament

Portfolio Questions
Education and Skills

Scottish Liberal Democrat Debate
Finance and the Constitution