Britain’s foreign policy calculations

  • 17 April 2015
  • From the section Business
Chinese currency, the Yuan, or RMB
London wants to be the leading offshore trader of China's currency

At the London Metal Exchange - owned by China since it was bought by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange three years ago - the shouts of traders haven't been replaced by the silent hum of trading computers.

The other thing that hasn't changed is the importance of the financial sector to the British economy. Preserving the City's position has been a priority for the government - so China unsurprisingly looms large in British foreign policy.

Looking back, the coalition government has repeatedly emphasised the importance of engaging more with emerging markets, so re-balancing away from Europe and towards fast-growing countries like China.

But, with China, there is a balance to be struck between economic gains and addressing political issues such as human rights.

When David Cameron met the Dalai Lama in May 2012, he was cheered by some. But China froze out Britain for more than a year, and when relations finally thawed, Britain seemed to redouble its efforts to make up for lost ground.

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Is it a choice between higher pay or a job?

  • 15 April 2015
  • From the section Business
protesters in the US
Workers are staging protests about low pay in over 200 US cities

Raising the minimum wage to $15 (£10) per hour has become a rallying cry for fast food and other US workers who are protesting low pay by walking off the job in over 200 cities.

This won't be reassuring, but economists are split as to whether raising the minimum wage will be at the cost of jobs.

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The end of an era for China

  • 15 April 2015
  • From the section Business
Chinese shoppers

Probably the least surprising thing about China's GDP growth rate for the first three months of the year is that it slowed to 7%. After all, that's the target for the year.

What's more surprising are the drivers: consumption more than investment, services outpacing manufacturing, and domestic demand rather than exports. Taking today's figures and the data for March together with the full year picture for 2014 shows that China's growth drivers are changing.

Read full article The end of an era for China

What’s driving global growth?

  • 14 April 2015
  • From the section Business
A worker welds at a construction site in China

The latest IMF forecast for the world economy sees growth picking up this year and next. Global GDP is expected to expand by 3.5% this year and 3.8% in 2016.

The US is powering ahead, with 3.1% growth forecast in both 2015 and 2016. The UK is also expected to grow well at 2.7% this year, but slow to 2.3% next year. The euro area is recovering but slowing, as is expected to expand by about 1.5%.

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Biggest deal yet

  • 8 April 2015
  • From the section Business
Shell petrol pumps

A whopper of a deal comes along just a day after yesterday's FedEx-TNT merger. Shell's $70bn cash and stock bid for BG Group would make it not only the biggest deal in the oil and gas sector in a decade but would also rival last year's Comcast-Time Warner Cable mega deal in size. It is the biggest merger and acquisition (M&A) deal this year and the 14th biggest ever.

The merged company would become the biggest oil company by production - though ExxonMobil is larger by market cap - and cement Shell's dominance in liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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The year of mega deals?

  • 7 April 2015
  • From the section Business
A TNT lorry

After only the first quarter, this year is shaping up to beat last year's frenzied deal-making.

Years of low interest rates and cheap borrowing costs, record high stock markets, and a recovery that is finally picking up steam combined to mark 2014 as the busiest year for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) since the recession.

Read full article The year of mega deals?

Why Amazon wants the Internet of Things to deliver

  • 2 April 2015
  • From the section Business
Jeff Bezos
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on a visit to India in November 2014

Amazon is known for wanting to provide everything that you buy and its latest foray aims to do just that.

Amazon Dash are buttons that you stick on household items. And with a click, you can re-order your dishwashing detergent from the e-retailer and it will arrive on your doorstep along with your other purchases.

Read full article Why Amazon wants the Internet of Things to deliver

Jay-Z, Empire, and the new music business

  • 31 March 2015
  • From the section Business
Jay-Z in concert
Jay-Z has garnered some 15 artists as co-owners of Tidal

It's life imitating art. The popular US TV show, Empire, is based on a music mogul whose record label offers artists a rare share in the business.

It's thought to be based on the life of rapper Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, who has launched a music streaming business where artists ranging from Madonna to Coldplay are equity partners.

Read full article Jay-Z, Empire, and the new music business

Is it possible to end global poverty?

  • 27 March 2015
  • From the section Business

Later this year, the UN is expected to adopt the World Bank's ambitious target of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

It would mean that for the first time, everyone in the world would able to afford a refrigerator and other goods that would make life a bit easier.

Read full article Is it possible to end global poverty?

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.

Read full article Warren Buffett’s latest elephant deal