20 September

@Stu7Tay

20 September

Good morning, 

Theresa May might be in New York to discuss global issues with world leaders at the UN general assembly, but it is domestic matters that continue to keep the prime minister busy.

Several front pages of the newspapers this morning report that four days of cabinet tumult appear to have been resolved, with Boris Johnson denying that it was him spreading the 'news' that he might be leaving his position as foreign secretary.

Reports surfaced yesterday that Johnson was to quit after May delivers her much-anticipated speech on the progress of Brexit negotiations on Friday, believing that the prime minister’s proposed “Swiss-style” arrangement with the EU – in which Britain would pay for permanent single market membership - was fundamentally the wrong course for the country.

However, The Times report that Johnson has struck a deal with Number 10 that will see May pursue a post-Brexit vision more aligned to that set out by the foreign secretary in his controversial newspaper article over the weekend. In her speech in Florence, May is instead expected to attempt to break the deadlock over negotiations and deliver more details on what the total divorce bill will amount to, with the FT reporting that Angela Merkel has been told by UK government officials to expect at least €20bn over the two-year transition period.

Whether the promise not to use the address to pursue a “soft Brexit” was a concession or not by Downing Street, it appears to have put Johnson in a chirpier mood, telling The Guardian that he and his colleagues in the cabinet were “a nest of singing birds.”

For May, she will hope that the matter is now resolved in the Big Apple, and that she can now make a brand new start of it with her colleagues as they prepare for the Conservative party conference at the end of the month.
 

NEWS

A strong earthquake in central Mexico has killed at least 248 people and left dozens of buildings toppled in the capital, Mexico City. The 7.1 magnitude quake comes exactly 32 years after a quake killed thousands in Mexico City.

Donald Trump has used his maiden address to the UN general assembly to warn Pyongyang that America was prepared to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or that of its allies, saying that “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” in a reference to leader Kim Jong-un. (£)

Theresa May will today tell delegates at the UN general assembly that technology companies must go “further and faster” in removing extremist content. The prime minister will also host a meeting with other world leaders and representative of Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter, in which she is expected to challenge them to find fixes to take down terrorist material within two hours.

 

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Indian conglomerate Tata's European steel business has agreed the first stage of a joint venture with German steel manufacturer ThyssenKrupp in a deal that will create Europe's second-largest steel group. The venture is expected to be finalised by the end of 2018, with job losses expected to be shared between both companies.

The amount of lending by Europe’s largest car manufacturers has more than doubled since the financial crisis, with the expanding use of auto credit in global car sales pushing their total exposure to borrowers to record highs. Analysis by the FT shows that companies such as Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler and Renault now have more than €400bn of global exposure to loans and leases as of the end of June. (£)

The Federal Reserve is today set to reverse almost nine years of quantitative easing as it begins to attempt to reduce the almost $4.5 trillion on its balance sheet. The Federal Reserve will slowly reduce the amount it reinvests from its holdings in order to avoid creating financial shocks, in a process known as “policy normalisation”. (£)

MARKETS

What happened yesterday
The FTSE 100 overcame a sluggish start to the day to close 21.97 points up at 7,275.25.

Shares in supermarkets rose following the release of research by Kanar Worldpanel which showed sales in the sector has risen by 3.6 per cent in the three months to 10 September. Shares in Sainsbury’s had a rise of 2.6 per cent, Morrisons by 2 per cent and Tesco by 1 per cent.

The announcement by Ocado that investment in a new distribution centre would increase short-term costs contributed towards a drop in their share price, despite the news of a 13.1 per cent increase in the company's retail sales to £312.7m over the 13 weeks to 27 August.

The shares in the FTSE 250-listed firm had dropped by as much as 6 per cent, but closed 2 per cent down.

On the currency markets, the pound was up 0.11 per cent against the dollar at $1.3512, but it was stagnant against the euro at $1.1288.

Interims
Accesso Technology Group
Attraqt Group
Cambian Group
Kingfisher
Science In Sport
Shield Therapeutics

UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Retail Sales

Int. Economic Announcements
(07:00) Producer Price Index (GER)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(15:00) Existing Home Sales (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Chris Deerin set out in The Herald his experiences of working closely with Boris Johnson, a man he says is “frustrating; chaotic; selfish; perpetually on the verge of blowing it; lavishly gifted”. Deerin says all political leaders need to have ambition, judgment and integrity and Johnson’s actions over the weekend put him in danger of only having the first.

Writing in the FT, Risto Penttilä says EU leaders should take a leaf out of John Maynard Keynes' book, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, and strive for an amicable Brexit. He says in doing so, a Europe can be build where every state can participate on its own terms. (£)

DID YOU KNOW?

Saturn’s density is low enough that the planet would float in water. You just need a bathtub big enough to hold it…

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