17 September 2018

Stuart Taylor

17 September 2018

Good morning,

Deal or no deal?

Ahead of a decisive week in the road to Brexit, Theresa May has been channelling Noel Edmonds as she declares to MPs and fellow EU leaders that the choice they face is to accept her vision for Brexit, or end up with no agreement at all.

With six months to go until the UK leaves the EU, we’re close to crunch time in Brexit discussions. Leaders from across Europe will meet in Salzburg on Wednesday for the first of three summits to strike a plan for future relations, perhaps by as early as mid-November.

The PM has sought to set the tone for these talks by reiterating her belief in her Chequers plan, and she appears to have got off to a successful start. The Times is reporting this morning that the EU is preparing to accept a frictionless Irish border after Brexit, resolving one of the most pivotal disagreements to any agreement. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, is believed to be working up a plan that would mean technology is introduced to minimise customs checks between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

In much less surprising news, Boris Johnson has once again used his Telegraph column to criticise his party leader’s strategy, saying that Brussels was attempting to “to annex Northern Ireland" through their Irish border proposals. Johnson’s weekly outbursts suggest the PM might need to look closer to home when resolving conflict.

And if politicians were in any doubt about the importance of reaching a suitable compromise, they only have to turn to the business pages of this morning’s papers. The FT reports that Deutsche Bank is preparing to land a blow to the City of London by moving about three-quarters of its estimated €600bn worth of assets from London to Frankfurt in order to comply with European rules over operations in a “third country” which the UK will be classified as upon exit from the EU.

The European Central Bank has ordered that Deutsche Bank beef up its capital and liquidity in Germany, meaning the bank’s UK operation will transform into a ringfenced subsidiary after Brexit, leaving the City to work out how to respond to the flight of capital that has seen some overseas banks move out of London and back to the EU mainland.

A timely reminder to the PM, if she needed it, that the stakes could not be higher as we creep towards decision time.

News

Police have said that there is "nothing to suggest that Novichok" was the cause of two people falling ill at a restaurant in Salisbury and are no longer treating the illnesses as a major incident. Nearby streets were cordoned off after a man and a women fell ill at Prezzo on Sunday evening.

Deepening floods has caused the coastal city of Wilmington, North Carolina, to be completely cut off from the rest of the state. Officials have described the city as an island within the state after declaring all the roads as impassable, leaving the 120,000-strong population stranded. 

Typhoon Mangkhut is making its way across China after leaving at least 64 people dead in the Philippines. The storm is one of the most powerful storms to hit the region in decades and has caused more than 2.5 million people to be evacuated in Guangdong and on Hainan island.

Business & Economy

Nick Read, the incoming chief executive of Vodafone, has said that he is considering a sale of tens of thousands of mobile masts as a way to cut the company’s €31bn debt. Read will take over at the telecoms giant later this month and outlined his plans after a recent trading update presented a lacklustre outlook for the rest of the financial year. (£)

Argentina’s economy minister will today present to congress a number of austerity-driven budget measures as the country tries to shore up support from the IMF and reassure investors following a plunge in the value of its currency. Allies of President Macri are confident of support for the measures to cut the deficit after currency volatility saw the peso fall 20% since late month. (£)

Paperchase is facing fresh potential pressure on its financial resources after a leading credit insurer confirmed it would no longer cover suppliers for any new stock that they deliver to the chain. The decision by Euler Hermes to withdraw its cover is said to have been prompted by specific concerns about Paperchase’s cash flows and wider worries about high street trading. (£)

Markets

The week ahead

Today will see the IMF’s latest review of the UK economy and it is likely to attract a lot of attention given the UK is only a matter of months away from leaving the European Union. Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, will also publish August’s index of consumer prices figures, a key indicator of inflation and price stability.

A couple of significant meetings take place on Tuesday. South Korean President Moon Jae-in travels to Pyongyang for a high-profile three-day meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, where they will look to use their third meeting of the year to continue to improve relations between the two countries. North Korea’s discussions with the US will also be on the agenda.

With Russia supplying most of Hungary’s gas in a deal that runs until 2020, energy is likely to be high on the minds of Viktor Orban and Vladimir Putin when the Hungarian PM and Russian president meet in Moscow.

Thursday will see Ryanair host their AGM, and Nike will hold a shareholder meeting a matter of weeks after running a controversial advertising campaign that featured Colin Kaepernick, the American football player who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality.

Finals              

City of London Investment Group     

Finsbury Food Group

MJ Gleeson

Interims          

Clearstar Inc. (DI)

Horizon Discovery Group

M. P. Evans Group

Restore

Tern

Warpaint London

Trading Announcements

Daily Crest Group

AGMs

Absent

Intl. Economic Announcements

(10.00) Consumer Price Index (EU)

Columns of Note

Kevin Pringle had words of wisdom for Jacob Rees-Mogg and his Brexit-supporting colleagues in yesterday’s Sunday Times Scotland. Pringle says that Rees-Mogg and the other members of the European Reform Group are missing the point when they argue against a soft Brexit. Instead, Pringle says that any exit from the EU on soft terms is an illusion, as Brexit will only serve to grow the separation parameters as time goes on. (£) 

The FT’s Big Read analyses Juventus’ summer purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Italian football club will outlay €340m for the 33-year-old over the next four years as they look to cash in on “the Ronaldo effect”, attracting fans and corporate groups to Juventus, leading to higher broadcasting money. (£)

Did you know?

Argentina is the only country to be named after a chemical element ('argentina' means 'silvery' in Spanish)

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY 

House of Commons

In recess until Tuesday 9 October

House of Lords

In recess until Tuesday 9 October

Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled

 

TOMORROW

Scottish Parliament

Topical Questions (if selected)

Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee Debate: Bank closures: Impact on local businesses, consumers and the Scottish economy