Warren Buffett’s latest elephant deal

  • 25 March 2015
  • From the section Business
Heinz Tomato Ketchup

On the hunt for a big buy, billionaire Warren Buffett has again teamed up with Brazilian private equity firm 3G.

They together bought Heinz in 2013, and now, Heinz will merge with Kraft Foods to create the third largest food and beverage company in the US and the fifth biggest in the world.

Heinz, controlled by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and 3G, would own 51% of the new firm.

The Kraft Heinz Company, and shareholders in Kraft, will hold 49%. The new company will have revenues of around $28bn and the chief executive will be Heinz's current boss, Bernardo Hees.

It's a giant of a consumer goods company, with around a dozen brands that each generate revenues in excess of half a billion dollars, including Jell-O, Maxwell House, Oscar Mayer, Planters, and Velveeta.

Read full article Warren Buffett’s latest elephant deal

New term needed for zero inflation and positive growth

  • 24 March 2015
  • From the section Business
Money

The latest inflation figure for the UK revealed record low Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation of 0%, while the US figure expected later on Tuesday is expected to show a negligible increase in prices from a year ago.

However, both economies are recovering, and well enough that there's an expectation of interest rate rises on the horizon.

Read full article New term needed for zero inflation and positive growth

The Fed’s delicate task

  • 18 March 2015
  • From the section Business
Janet Yellen

The Federal Reserve's latest statement suggests that the path is clear for an interest rate rise in June or September without surprising markets.

Rather amusingly, it's because the word "patience" was removed from the statement. Of course, it depends on how far the US labour market improves since inflation isn't an issue, so the jobs market looms larger for the US central bank with its dual mandate to address unemployment and inflation.

Read full article The Fed’s delicate task

Will the Budget make any difference to the economy?

  • 18 March 2015
  • From the section Business
George Osborne

Is it all down to lower inflation rather than what's in the Budget? In terms of the economy, it seems that lower prices have a larger impact than, well, anything else.

This line in the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) report accompanying the Budget certainly caught my eye.

Read full article Will the Budget make any difference to the economy?

Britain’s mixed bag labour market

  • 18 March 2015
  • From the section Business
Woman walking past Job Centre

Just ahead of the Budget, the latest jobs figures for the UK may look like a mixed bag but it's roughly the same picture since the recovery: stronger job growth, weaker wage increases. As such, there's something for everyone to latch onto.

First, the most eye catching figure is that employment is at a record high 73.3% - 22.64 million is the most people in work since comparable records were collected in 1971. But, there's 8.3 million people working part-time, and that's an increase of 137,000 from a year ago.

Read full article Britain’s mixed bag labour market

Why does the UK want to join the China-led development bank?

  • 13 March 2015
  • From the section Business
Representatives of Asian nations attend the signing ceremony for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Beijing
The AIIB already has 27 member countries and is expected to be launched at the end of 2015

The UK is the first Western country to seek to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It's a new international financial institution (IFI) essentially led by China and viewed as a rival to the World Bank.

There are 21 Asian countries that signed up last October to set up the AIIB. That has risen to 27, with the launch expected at the end of the year. It has about $50bn in capital, which is only a fifth of what the World Bank holds and also less than the Asian Development Bank.

Read full article Why does the UK want to join the China-led development bank?

Britain best place to invest, says China's richest man

  • 12 March 2015
  • From the section Business

China's richest man has said that he considers the UK the best place in the world to invest.

Wang Jianlin, chair of China's largest property company, Dalian Wanda, said the UK had one of the most open markets and that investment was not subject to the same scrutiny as elsewhere.

Read full article Britain best place to invest, says China's richest man

China's route to riches

  • 12 March 2015
  • From the section Business
Woman walks at the Bund in front of the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai
A high proportion of China's millionaires live in Shanghai

This is the billion dollar question. How did a poor communist country transform itself into having the second most billionaires in the world, after the United States, in just over a generation?

Hurun, which tracks the wealthy, says that they have identified 400 billionaires in China, but there are another 800 yet to be profiled.

Read full article China's route to riches

China’s new breed of billionaires

  • 11 March 2015
  • From the section Business
Shanghai French concession
The river front area of Shanghai is commonly known as 'The Bund'

Driving through the narrow streets of the French concession, as it's called, I am reminded of when Shanghai was known as the Paris of the East.

Ritzy shops like Prada now share a block with older colonial era houses. They are a rarity in China these days when high rise apartments dominate city skylines.

Read full article China’s new breed of billionaires

Dollar flourishes as emerging market currencies struggle

  • 10 March 2015
  • From the section Business
Dollar bills

From the South African rand to the Brazilian real to the euro, currencies are weakening to the lowest levels in over a decade against the dollar.

The dollar, measured against a basket of its trading partners, has reached the highest level since 2003 - the last time that it traded at parity with the euro.

Read full article Dollar flourishes as emerging market currencies struggle