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Tag Archives: Europe – UK

Just Get Brexit Over With? Businesses Fear Prolonging the Uncertainty

“In addition to uncertainty about what’s going to happen, now there’s uncertainty about when it will happen.” By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. With each passing day, the fog of uncertainty surrounding Brexit thickens, with myriad knock-on effects for businesses on both sides of the English Channel. “Companies no longer have any idea what they should be preparing for,” Martin Wansleben, executive director of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce...

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Outsourcing Giant Interserve with 65,000 Employees Collapses

Shareholders wiped out, 14 Months after competitor Carillion Collapsed. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Shares in UK outsourcing giant Interserve, which employs over 65,000 people worldwide including 45,000 in the UK, were suspended today after almost 60% of the firm’s shareholders, led by the US hedge fund Coltrane Asset Management, rejected a last-ditch debt-for-equity swap with Interserve’s creditors that would have diluted the shares of current...

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Transition to Cashless Society Could Lead to Financial Exclusion and System Vulnerability, Study Warns

“Serious risks of sleepwalking into a cashless society before we’re ready – not just to individuals, but to society.” By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Ten years ago, six out of every ten transactions in the UK were done in cash. Now it’s just three in ten. And in fifteen years’ time, it could be as low as one in ten, reports the final edition of the Access to Cash Review. Commissioned as a response to the rapid decline in cash use in the UK and funded by...

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Disorderly Brexit Increasingly Likely, EU Blinks on Derivatives-Clearing in London

No one can afford even the smallest hiccup in derivatives. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. After months of furious lobbying, the City of London Corporation has finally got what it wanted: recognition by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) of the three biggest clearing houses it hosts, LCH, ICE Clear Europe and LME Clear. This will allow the three to continue providing services throughout the EU even in the event of a no-deal Brexit,...

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London Housing Meltdown Spreads as Pre-Brexit Angst Batters Market Sentiment

“If you are looking to buy a house in Q1 you will have the market to yourself.” By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. In some places, in particular prime markets in London and the south-east, house prices have been tumbling. According to London-based estate agency LonRes, average “achieved” prices: In Prime Central London: -6% in Q4 2018; and -14% from their 2014 peak. In slightly cheaper Prime London districts: -5% in 2018. In Prime Fringe districts, i.e....

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Lloyds Bank Resurrects 0%-Down Adjustable-Rate Mortgages for First-Time Buyers to Prop Up UK’s Housing Market

Desperate measures for desperate times? By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. As house prices in the UK continue to slip-slide downwards, compounding fears that the multi-year housing boom has run out of gas, the country’s largest mortgage lender, Lloyds Bank, has unveiled a new mortgage scheme called “Lend a Hand” to help first-time buyers with little or no personal savings inject fresh blood into the souring market. It is an adjustable-rate mortgage with no...

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“Worst December in 10 Years”: Brick-and-Mortar Retail in the UK Faces Overindebted Consumers

But online sales are hot, now at 20% of total retail.  By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. It’s a confusing picture. A monthly survey of retailers published by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) indicated that just 4% of retailers reported good sales volumes for January, whereas 41% said they were poor, giving a balance of -37%, the lowest since November 2011 (-39%). Sales volumes fell in the majority of retail sub-sectors with clothing (-43%),...

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What an Investment Fund, in Disclosing a Big Loss, Said about the Housing Bust in Prime Central London

“Probably now enduring its most protracted period of price suppression since records began.” Here is an interesting and colorful tidbit on the housing market in Prime Central London, one of London’s most expensive areas and once the hotbed of London’s breath-taking property bubble, and now a deep morass. A closed-end fund — London Central Portfolio Property Fund – focused on small apartments worth less than £1 million, sent a letter to its investors on January 21 in which it disclosed...

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Brexit’s Ironic Twists Hit Spain’s Biggest Industry

“Peak Tourism” has already set in. Brits account for 22% of tourists in Spain. Now add Brexit. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. In a delectable irony, two of the biggest corporate victims of a disorderly Brexit could turn out to be Spain’s flagship carrier Iberia and low-cost airline Vueling. Both companies are majority owned by British Airways’ parent company International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), which is UK-based. And current EU rules...

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Automakers Prepare for “No-Deal” Brexit

They’re already under pressure from the deteriorating market. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Honda, the fourth largest car producer in the UK, has unveiled plans to halt its UK production for the first six days of April in order to stockpile parts in the immediate aftermath of Britain’s exit from the EU. The announcement came on Thursday, the same day that UK Premier Theresa May met her Japanese counterpart Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss...

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