22 September

Ania Lewandowska

22 September

Good morning,

All eyes are on Prime Minister Theresa May this morning as she prepares to give her third key speech on Brexit. Delivered from Florence, Italy, the expectation is that today's speech will kickstart talks that have stalled over recent months.

The prime minister is expected to propose a "standstill" transitional deal with the EU of up to two years to minimise damage to business. Whilst she's unlikely to mention a figure for the divorce bill it's understood she will accept a settlement that means none of the other 27 countries will be forced to pay extra as the UK exits. This amounts to at least 20 billion euros. The final figure is still likely to be between 50 and 70 billion euros.

According to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, the intention is to make the payments conditional on continued access to the single market and some form of customs union. This would allow the UK to strike its own trade deals during the transition period.

With Britain’s exit bill and the status of EU citizens the primary sticking points, May is also expected to offer stronger legal protections for EU citizens living in the UK.

News

North Korea has threatened to detonate a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific, after Kim Jong Un warned that Donald Trump would “pay dearly” for his threat this week to “totally destroy” North Korea if America was forced to defend itself and its allies. North Korean leader described President Trump as a "mentally deranged dotard" and threatened to "tame (Trump) with fire".

The German Federal election will take place on Sunday, with Angela Merkel likely to secure a fourth term as German Chancellor. Her Conservative bloc is set to win the largest share of the vote in the election. However, with Martin Schulz trailing behind in second place, attention has now turned to the recent boost for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). The anti-migrant are on track to not only enter the German Bundestag for the first time, but the latest polls place the AfD in third place. The election results will come in during the night and the result is expected to be confirmed at about 3am on Monday.

The death toll from Mexico's powerful earthquake has risen to 282, officials confirmed. Rescuers continue to race against the clock to reach trapped survivors, while thousands are left homeless in towns and communities outside Mexico City. In Puebla state, authorities have declared a state of “extraordinary emergency” in 112 municipalities – equivalent to 51% of the region.

Facebook is planning to release the content of more than 3,000 ads purchased by Russian operatives before the 2016 US election, after US lawmakers criticised it for not being forthcoming about Moscow’s use of social media to influence US politics. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, confirmed the company would share with Congress “the content and related information” of adverts that appear to be linked with a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency.

Business & Economy

Banks and building societies are to carry out checks on all current account holders to identify illegal immigrants. The measure, part of a government clampdown, will see them given a list of people who are liable for removal or deportation from the UK or who have absconded from immigration control. The move was backed by Parliament in 2016 and will be in force from January.

Ryanair's boss Michael O'Leary announced the airline will recruit 120 new pilots within "the next week or two" to avert the prospect of a new wave of cancelled flights. The announcement was made at Ryanair's AGM in Dublin just hours after a letter was sent to the company by a group of its existing pilots, rejecting an offer of a tax-free £12,000 bonus in exchange for working overtime.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) released government borrowing data which showed a fall in borrowing compared to the same month in the previous year, and below what economists had forecast. Public sector net borrowing (excluding public sector banks) decreased to 5.7bn in August 2017, a fall of 1.3bn compared with August 2016. This is the lowest net borrowing in the month of August since 2007, according to the ONS. The figure is also below the 6.5bn consensus forecast.

Markets

What happened yesterday?
The FTSE 100 ended down 0.1 per cent or 8.05 points at 7,263.9 yesterday, underperforming a positive European market which was boosted by gains among banking stocks.

A big rise in the value of shares in the specialist metals and chemicals firm Johnson Matthey was the highlight of the London stock market. Its shares closed 15% higher at £4.32 after it announced plans to invest £200m in developing batteries for electric cars.

Mining stocks on London's top tier index fell into the red yesterday, as investors reacted to a drop in precious metal prices sparked by hawkish signals from the US Federal Reserve.

Shares in precious metals miners Antofagasta, Randgold Resources and Fresnillo and were all down about 2.3 per cent.

In the FTSE 250 market shares in the outsourcing group Capita fell 12% to £5.70 after it reported lower profits and gave a weaker than expected forecast.

The FTSE 250 ended down 0.63% at 19,418.

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.5% against the dollar to $1.357 and was barely changed at 1.136 euros.

Finals
Smiths Group Plc (SMIN)

Interims
Saga plc (SAGA)

AGMs
Accrol Group Holdings Plc (ACRL)
Sirius Real Estate Limited (SRE)
UK Economic Announcements
(11:00) CBI Distributive Trades Surveys

Columns of Note

Writing in The Financial Times, Sebastian Payne argues that the Prime Minister’s speech in Florence today marks “the end of no deal is better than a bad deal” approach. The author admits that many European leaders will welcome this change of tone and it is also an important moment for May and her government.

In The Times this morning, Philip Collins offers his advice on how the government can solve the housing crisis. Collins is calling on Sajid Javid to seize the opportunity and be bold as the review of social housing policy is underway.

Did you know?

Ayapa Zoque or Tabasco Zoque is a critically endangered language of Ayapa, a village in Tabasco, Mexico. Nowadays there are approximately 15 speakers whose ages range from 67 to 90.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY

House of Commons

In recess until 9th October for party conference season

House of Lords

In recess until 9th October for party conference season

Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled

MONDAY

Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled