3 April

Lyle Hill

3 April

Good morning,

President Trump has outlined more of his foreign policy in an exclusive interview with the Financial Times released this morning. Speaking ahead of a summit with President Xi Jinping this week, Trump insisted that if China is not willing to put pressure on North Korea's Kim Jong Un, America is prepared to act unilaterally to combat the nation's growing nuclear threat.

North Korea is dangerous and often mocked, but it is not necessarily stupid. The technological advance in its military is impressive, frightening and keeps the regime in power. Any war on the Korean peninsula is estimated to put the lives of one million people at risk, and while the US and South Korea would certainly win such a conflict (assuming China stays neutral), North Korea's missiles could easily strike Seoul and Toyko if called upon.

The United States is therefore in a difficult position. The UN has already confirmed that further economic sanctions would only harm the poorest living under Kim Jong Un's regime and has made clear that the party high command will continue to drink their cognac regardless.

In order to stop North Korea developing nuclear weapons, Trump may have to open up direct talks with the regime as Clinton did during his presidency. While this sounds unlikely at the moment, it is estimated that North Korean missiles will be able to hit major US cities by the end of Trump's first term, so nothing can be ruled out.

The North Korean situation is a particularly delicate foreign policy issue that even the most qualified presidential candidate would find troubling. It is now part of the day job for Trump and this Financial Times interview provides an insight into the cards he may decide to play.

News

Michael Howard, the former leader of the Conservative Party, caused controversy yesterday by insinuating that Britain would be prepared to go to war with Spain in order to protect the interests of Gibraltar. Howard said that Theresa May would show the same "resolve" as Thatcher did with the Falklands. His comments were branded "inflammatory" by the Labour Party.

Eight people have been remanded in custody on suspicion of attempted murder after a vicious attack on an asylum seeker left the 17 year old boy with a fractured skull and a blood clot on the brain. It is suspected that up to 20 onlookers did nothing as the boy was beaten late on Friday night in Croydon, south London. The attack is being treated as a hate crime.

According to the Internet Watch Foundation, Europe has become the global "hub" for child sex abuse material online. According to the research, Europe now accounts for 60% of the material worldwide, an increase of 19%. The move away from America towards Europe is thought to be driven by better reporting and policing of ISPs in the US.

Research by the Guardian has found that new welfare changes coming into force on the 6th April could push nearly 250,000 children into poverty. Child tax credit restrictions on third children could leave a family £50,000 worse off over 18 years.

Business & Economy

Central banks are dumping euros and view sterling as a safe and stable long term alternative. A poll by the Central Banking Publications and HSBC has found that despite uncertainty over Brexit, central banks around the world see political instability across the eurozone and the threat of negative interest rates as a more dangerous set of circumstances than Brexit alone.

In the latest quarterly survey of CFOs by Deloitte, results have found that financial chiefs are becoming more optimistic and confident about their companies' outlook. According to the survey, the Brexit headwinds have become less of a concern over the last couple of months, but appetite for risk remains subdued.

Tesla, the electric car maker pioneered by Elon Musk has reported record car deliveries in the first quarter of 2017. The company has shipped 25,000 vehicles to date, an increase of 60% from this time in 2016. The news comes following Musk's announcement that he has formed a new company with the specific intention of connecting machine intelligence to the brain.

Markets

Finals
Filta Group Holdings, Luceco, NetScientific

AGMs
CVC Credit Partners European Opportunities Ltd GBP

International Economic Announcements
(10:00) Producer Price Index (EU)
(10:00) Unemployment Rate (EU)
(14:00) ISM Manufacturing (US)
(14:00) ISM Prices Paid (US)

Columns of Note

Writing in The Sunday Times, Kevin Pringle argues that ardent remain voters from across the UK should support Scotland as a member of the EU. This, he believes, would highlight the economic advantages of the European Union and prove that the economic arguments put forward by remain in the referendum campaign were based in fact.

The Los Angeles Times has produced a damning editorial titled 'Our Dishonest President'. It forms the first part in a series of editorials that will be released daily until Wednesday. 'The problem with Trump' editorials will outline the dysfunctional start to the president's time in office.

Did you know?

In the last 4000 years, the longest solar eclipse lasted for 7 minutes and 28 seconds. In theory, the longest solar eclipse that is possible to be viewed from earth is 7 minutes and 32 seconds.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY

House of Commons
In recess until 18th April.

House of Lords

Oral questions
Display and promotion of alcohol in supermarkets and stores and the danger to the health and well-being of children - Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe
Reduction in the number of diesel cars and other vehicles - Lord Dubs

Legislation
Criminal Finances Bill - Committee stage (day 2) - Committee of the Whole House -Baroness Williams of Trafford

Scottish Parliament
In recess until 16th April.

TOMORROW

House of Lords

Oral Questions
Clarity of dialogue in UK TV programmes - Lord Naseby
Increasing spending on healthcare to G7 average - Lord Clark of Windermere

Legislation
Higher Education and Research Bill - Viscount Younger of Leckie