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The Bank of England has raised its growth and inflation forecasts for 2017 and kept interest rates on hold at 0.25%. It now expects the economy to expand by 1.4% next year, with inflation set to surge to 2.7% – nearly triple its current level. Growth of 1.5% is now forecast for 2018 – down from the previous 1.8% estimate. Sterling was trading 1.5% higher at $1.2488 after the report was released, while yields on UK government bonds also rose.
Government loses Article 50 court fight
Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the European Union, the High Court has ruled. This means the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – beginning formal discussions with the EU – on its own. Theresa May says the Brexit referendum and ministerial powers mean MPs do not need to vote, but campaigners argue this is unconstitutional. The government is expected to appeal.
Mark Carney to leave Bank of England in June 2019
Bank of England governor Mark Carney says he will step down in June 2019. It means he will serve one year more than the five he had committed to, but will still be two short of the usual eight years’ governors serve. Mr Carney said the move “recognized the importance to the country of continuity” during Brexit negotiations. But Treasury Select Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie said his decision to serve six years “requires a good deal of examination and explanation”. Prime Minister Theresa May said Mr Carney’s decision to stay for an extra year would provide “continuity and stability as we negotiate our exit from the European Union”.
The UK’s dominant services sector moved up a gear in October as it grew at the fastest rate since January but inflation pressures are beginning to build up. Economists said the data suggested that the services sector, which makes up 80% of the economy, had “regained its mojo” as the closely watched survey, the purchasing managers’ index (PMI), showed a reading of 54.5, up from 52.6 in September. This was the highest reading since January and beat all forecasts for the month. Any reading above 50 marks expansion.
Service sector providers cited a growing level of new business in October, with new contracts rising at the fastest rate in nine months. Companies linked the new work to new business opportunities, rising international demand linked to the weaker pound, improving market confidence and promotional campaigns.
Young drivers with ‘risky’ Facebook pages will pay more for insurance
Insurers are to analyse motorists’ Facebook pages to set premiums under plans to screen out the riskiest drivers. The car insurance company Admiral will request permission to access social media sites from today to create a “personality-based” profile of first-time motorists. The service will use an algorithm to search for evidence that drivers are “conscientious” and therefore less likely to be involved in an accident. This includes analysis of writing styles and whether users make extensive use of calendars or accounting apps.
Source: The Times
Greg Clark, the business secretary, has said the government is seeking a deal to shield Britain’s car manufacturing industry from the impact of Brexit by guaranteeing tariff-free access to Europe.
“The automotive sector is one of our great strengths”, he told the BBC. “We want to see the whole industry prosper”. Mr Clark said the large number of European carmakers on the continent that sold into the UK, as well as the highly integrated nature of the automotive supply chain, meant that tariff-free trading would be beneficial for both sides.
Honda plans to keep making cars in UK ‘for now’
Honda said it had “no plans for now” to withdraw from the UK market after the British government said it was seeking a deal to shield the car manufacturing industry from the fallout of the British exit from the EU. The comments by Japan’s third-largest carmaker came after Greg Clark, the UK business secretary, said on Sunday that assurances given to rival Nissan — which led to its decision last week to invest in Sunderland — were extended to other car groups with plants in the country.
Volvo and Geely to share China car factory
Swedish premium carmaker Volvo is to share a factory in China with parent Geely, the first time that Chinese and foreign marques will be made on the same mainland production line. Volvo’s smaller 40-series model and cars under Geely’s recently launched mid-range Lynk & Co brand will be produced in a new facility being built in Luqiao, 350km south of Shanghai. The move to bring manufacturing under the same roof is the latest step in efforts to tighten ties between Volvo and Geely by transferring European know-how to Geely while maintaining the Swedish automaker’s business and reputation.
Electric cars will influence demand for metals more than oil
Over the next 20 years, electric vehicles (EVs) may have a much greater influence on the London Metal Exchange than the oil market. Put simply, motorists are going to have a lot more copper in their cars. The Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt (both of which will be launched imminently) will be the first mass market EVs that can be driven 200 miles on a single charge — the minimum many commentators say is needed if cars solely powered by batteries are to go mainstream in the US.
Source: The Financial Times
A trial of driverless cars in London will avoid marking the vehicles in any way because of fears that motorists will bully the law-abiding robot cars. Volvo plans to start test driving 100 cars around the capital with volunteers from the public in 2018, with London’s busy streets representing a major challenge for self-driving technology. But unlike other trials of driverless cars around the world, which use custom-made vehicles, the cars will be indistinguishable from regular Volvos, said Erik Coelingh, the Swedish company’s senior technical leader. It comes after researchers found that motorists are likely to overtake and cut off self-driving cars because they are perceived as law-abiding and unlikely to react.
Source: The Daily Telegraph