15 June

@SueArthur

15 June

Good morning, 

Twelve people have been reported dead so far after the devastating fire that swept through Grenfell Tower in west London in the early hours of Wednesday morning. It is expected that the death toll will rise significantly today as authorities search the building debris. Dozens of residents, including entire families are still unaccounted for.
 
Firefighters have said the scale and the speed with which the fire engulfed the building was unprecedented.
 
Questions have now turned to how this could have happened in 2017. Experts have said the building was a “disaster waiting to happen” and residents had repeatedly warned officials it was a firetrap. The Telegraph reveals that government ministers were warned about the fire risk of aluminium cladding – the material used to insulate the building – as far back as 1999.

The tragic events meant that an announcement of a deal between the Conservatives and the DUP to form a minority government has been delayed. It’s likely there are other reasons behind this delay, with the DUP said to be driving a “hard bargain” behind the scenes. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has put pressure on the parties to announce a deal, calling the delay “unacceptable”.

At this rate the Queen’s speech is likely to be delayed again, and not just because of goatskin.

NEWS

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has resigned, citing the focus on his Christian faith during the election campaign. His resignation statement said he was “torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader”. Possible candidates to replace him include Sir Vince Cable, Ed Davey and Jo Swinson, who had been tipped as party deputy leader.

A lone gunman opened fire on members of the Republican congressional baseball team at a practice in a Washington suburb yesterday. The bullets struck four people, including Steve Scalise, the majority whip of the House of Representatives. Mr Scalise remains in critical condition in hospital.

Theresa May’s former Chief of Staff Nick Timothy reflects on what went wrong in a blog for the Spectator. He defends the manifesto and some of its more controversial proposals and suggests there had been too much emphasis on the prime minister at the expense of others in the party.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

The US Federal Reserve has raised its key interest rate by 0.25%, in its second increase this year. The rate is now at the highest level since 2008, when rates were cut to encourage borrowing and spending after the financial crisis. Chairman Janet Yellen said the rate rise reflected the progress the economy has made.
 
Steve Barclay, MP for north-east Cambridgeshire, and former director at Barclays Bank, has been appointed as economic secretary to the Treasury, and will be the minister responsible for the City of London. His appointment has been broadly welcomed by the City.

An EU law to abolish roaming charges for those using their phones outside the UK comes into force today. This will mean that UK citizens travelling within the EU will be able to call and surf the web for the same price they pay at home.

MARKETS

What happened yesterday?

The FTSE 100 climbed at the start of the day, in part thanks to the falling pound. However, many of the gains were lost in afternoon trading.
 
The pound slipped on weak ONS wage growth figures and political uncertainty, towards a seven- month low against the euro.
 
The strongest performers yesterday included Centrica, miner Fresnillo, and investment group Old Mutual.

Finals
Atkins (WS), Consort Medical, John Laing Environmental Assets Group Limited, Liontrust Asset Management, Majestic Wine

Interims
Safestore Holdings
 
AGMs
365 Agile Group, CityFibre Infrastructure Holdings, International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI), Loopup Group, Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets, OptiBiotix Health, Serabi Gold

 

GMs
Wood Group (John)
 
UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Retail Sales
(12:00) BoE Interest Rate Decision
 
Int. Economic Announcements
(11:00) Balance of Trade (EU)
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US) 
(13:30) Import and Export Price Indices (US)
(14:15) Capacity Utilisation (US)
(14:15) Industrial Production (US)

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Bloomberg Markets takes us behind the scenes of one of the biggest digital heists in recent memory.  A year ago a hacker stole US$55 million as a result of a bug in a programme. The article provides a fascinating account of how several people tried – and failed- to stop it.

The Conversation discusses the impact of the youth vote on the 2017 General Election result. While the article questions the validity of the 72% turnout figure we’ve seen in the media, it does acknowledge that this election successfully mobilised young people to an extent not seen for at least two decades, partly as a result of Brexit


US market reaction to the Fed’s interest rate rise was mixed, with the Dow Jones ending the session up 0.22 per cent but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both closing lower. The dollar suffered losses as a result of inflation coming in below the Fed’s targets.

Did you know?

French bakers are concerned that a hike in the price of butter by 92% in one year may lead to consumers paying more for croissants. At worst, they fear butter could run out. The rise in prices is mainly blamed on falling milk yields across France.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY
House of Commons
Business
Swearing in of Members of the Commons
 
House of Lords
No business scheduled.
 
Scottish Parliament
First Minister's Questions

Portfolio Questions
Culture, Tourism and External Affairs
Justice and the Law Officers

TOMORROW
House of Commons
The House will next sit on 19 June.

House of Lords
The House will next sit on 19 June.

Scottish Parliament 
No business scheduled.