7 August

@SueArthur

7 August

Good morning, 

US agony aunt Joyce Brothers once quipped: “My husband and I have never considered divorce... murder sometimes, but never divorce.”  The end of a lengthy relationship rarely gets away without being messy. Brexit negotiations appear to be no exception.
 
The Telegraph’s lead on Sunday indicated that the UK planned to offer £36bn as a “divorce bill” settlement – but the offer would be conditional on the EU abandoning its strict sequencing of negotiations.
 
However, eurosceptic Conservatives believe that Britain is under no legal obligation to pay anything when it leaves the EU and should in fact get some money back.  They have accused negotiators of trying to push through the divorce bill during the holiday season.
 
The official line from Downing Street is that the UK will pay “no more than it needs to” in its settlement. The £36bn figure has been dismissed as “inaccurate speculation”.
 
Brexit will no doubt be the first order of business when parliament resumes in September.
 
Meanwhile in global affairs, Beijing and Moscow have backed tough sanctions on North Korea in a rare show of unity. Donald Trump summed up the development in a characteristic tweet: “China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact!”
 
In a sign that the relationship between the US and Russia continues despite President Donald Trump signing sanctions into law against Russia, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of an international gathering in Manila yesterday.
 
Lavrov indicated that he believed US colleagues were ready to “continue dialogue” – perhaps the best position that Mr Trump can hope for at this stage.

NEWS

Unrest continued in Venezuela over the weekend as soldiers tried to launch an uprising against President Maduro. Government officials have since claimed to have halted the military uprising, and Maduro has called for tough sentences to be imposed on those responsible for the attempted coup. On Saturday, the newly inaugurated Constituent Assembly held its first session – after facing allegations of voting fraud.

The Data Protection Bill, details of which are to be published today, could see British citizens granted more control over what happens to their personal information. Citizens will be able to ask for personal data, or information posted when they were children, to be deleted. The data protection watchdog will also get new powers to levy bigger fines on firms that contravene rules.

US Vice President Mike Pence has dismissed reports he is preparing a presidential run for 2020 as “absurd” and “offensive”. He has insisted that he is focused on ensuring Donald Trump’s re-election in response to a New York Times report suggesting he was starting early preparations for a presidential campaign.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Sainsbury’s will cut more than 1000 jobs at its head office as part of a drive to save £500m. The exact number of job losses is expected to be announced next month.

Royal Dutch Shell has applied for a licence to supply electricity to businesses across Britain, in a major challenge to the big six energy providers. Shell’s offer will focus on industrial consumers, and as a starting point it will take over power supply to all 600 sites that it owns in the UK.
 
The City of London’s top financial consortium has suggested that a cliff-edge Brexit would pose serious dangers to the European financial system and believes it will be avoided at all costs. Lobby group, UK Finance, suggests the much bigger threat lies several years after the UK has left the single market.

MARKETS

The week ahead 

The busy earnings period is beginning to wind down, but there are still several large corporates due to announce this week. Numbers will be out from Standard Life, Legal and General, Prudential and Old Mutual.
 
We also see oil come back into focus, with the latest OPEC monthly report.
 
Chinese, German, UK and French trade data will all be released this week. Turning to the British Economy, sales data from the British Retail Consortium released on Tuesday will show whether the retail sector continued on from strong June numbers. The Bank of England’s Agents’ Summary of Business Conditions, a compilation of reports from 12 regional agents liaising with 700 UK businesses, is due on Wednesday.

Interims
Plus500 Ltd (DI), Synthomer, Telit Communications, Ultra Electronics Holdings 

AGMs
Akers Biosciences, Inc, Tanfield Group 

UK Economic Announcements 
(08:30) Halifax Price Index

International Economic Announcements
(20:00) Consumer Credit (US)

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Kevin Pringle remembers a childhood encounter with the Queen on a visit to his home town, and reflects on what Britain would be like if the country no longer had a royal family.

As Kenya prepares to go to the polls tomorrow, the FT’s Big Read takes a closer look at the political system of one of Africa’s success stories. Kenya’s elections are important to watch because of its relatively stable, diverse economy.  Nairobi is home to multinationals including Google, KPMG and General Electric.

DID YOU KNOW?

Police officers are trialling the use of classical music in an experiment to fight crime. At the troubled Broadwater Farm housing estate in North London, police will broadcast the music from speakers in an attempt to calm the atmosphere