Has inflation killed off an interest rate rise?

  • 18 July 2017
  • From the section Business
Sale signs Image copyright PA

The surprise fall in the inflation rate from 2.9% to 2.6% begs the question: has it now peaked? And if so, what does that mean for living standards and borrowing costs?

Inflation has been on a steady climb since the end of 2015 and accelerated after the EU referendum result in June last year, as the sharp fall in the value of the pound pushed up the price of everything we import.

A bit like a snake that has swallowed something big, that bulge in import costs has taken its time to work through the economic system because producers, wholesalers and retailers order things in advance, so it takes time for higher costs to show up in consumer prices.

It is tempting to think that the bulge has finally got through the system and inflation will now begin to fall.

There is some evidence to support that in the details of Tuesday's report. The rate of inflation in the price of materials on their way into the factory has fallen from a whopping 11.6% in May to 8.8%.

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JP Morgan boss sounds Brexit job warning

  • 11 July 2017
  • From the section Business
Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JP Morgan Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jamie Dimon has already said he will move hundreds of people out of the UK when it leaves the EU

In capital cities around Europe there is a smell of blood in the water - a sense that the UK's financial services industry has been wounded by Brexit and that presents a chance to take a bite out of its dominant position.

Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JP Morgan - which employs 16,000 people in Britain - has already said he will move hundreds of people out of the UK when it leaves the EU to Dublin and Frankfurt where it already has operations.

Read full article JP Morgan boss sounds Brexit job warning

Mike Ashley - maverick or monster?

Mike Ashley (left) Image copyright PA
Image caption Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley (left) arrives at the High Court to give evidence

"I am not Obi-Wan Kenobi controlling the Deathstar."

That was Mike Ashley's response to the suggestion that he runs the retailer Sports Direct with absolute power.

Read full article Mike Ashley - maverick or monster?

Prepare yourself for a high-stakes Barclays battle

Former Barclays chief executive John Varley Image copyright PA
Image caption John Varley is the first former bank chief executive to face criminal charges over conduct during the 2008 financial crisis

The four defendants made their way through a thick press pack to take their seats - in the dock - at Westminster Magistrates court yesterday. It was a sight many thought they would never see. Senior bank executives inside a criminal court to face charges for their conduct during the great financial crisis.

Former chief executive John Varley and bankers Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath sat, stony-faced, next to each other behind the glass panel as they gave their names, date of birth and addresses and listened as the charges against them were read by the clerk of the court.

Read full article Prepare yourself for a high-stakes Barclays battle

Co-op Bank stands on brink of a new era

  • 28 June 2017
  • From the section Business
A Co-op Bank branch Image copyright Getty Images

The Co-op Bank has been limping along for four years since an abortive attempt to buy 632 branches from Lloyds revealed a £1.5bn hole in its finances.

It was saved by a consortium of US hedge funds but has been unable to earn itself back to health since then.

Read full article Co-op Bank stands on brink of a new era

Why Barclays came under SFO fire

  • 20 June 2017
  • From the section Business
Barclays sign Image copyright Reuters

Former top executives at Barclays will be the first senior managers to face criminal charges over their activities during the financial crisis nearly a decade ago.

A five-year Serious Fraud Office (SFO) inquiry will see charges brought against both Barclays PLC, the holding company of Barclays Bank (an important distinction as I'll try and explain later) as well as four executives, including former chief executive John Varley, and Roger Jenkins, who was head of investment banking and wealth management for Barclays in the Middle East.

Read full article Why Barclays came under SFO fire

UK government complacent as Europe launches new raid on London

  • 13 June 2017
  • From the section Business
City view from Waterloo Bridge Image copyright Getty Images

Hundreds of billions of trading in euros is settled in London every day.

A clearing house is an enormous middleman standing between buyers and sellers from all over the world. The economies of scale of this vast trading pool save customers from around the world tens of billions in cost every year and, according to a report by consultants EY, support over 80,000 direct and indirect UK jobs.

Read full article UK government complacent as Europe launches new raid on London

Business senses a chance to reassert itself

  • 12 June 2017
  • From the section Business
Manufacturing worker Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Businesses want a renewed focus on their wishes

Enough with the politics - we have work to do.

That is the message from a business lobby that wants its voice heard after an election campaign from which it had felt excluded.

Read full article Business senses a chance to reassert itself

BA board to demand IT chaos inquiry

Passengers stranded at airport Image copyright Getty Images

The inquisition has begun.

What happened, why, and who was to blame for a catastrophic failure, that caused misery for tens of thousands of passengers, may cost British Airways over a hundred million pounds and tarnished the image of Britain's aviation flag carrier?

Read full article BA board to demand IT chaos inquiry

RBS court case adjourned for third time

RBS logo Image copyright Getty Images

Lawyers representing 9,000 Royal Bank of Scotland shareholders have been granted another adjournment in a court case that was meant to start on Monday and has already been delayed twice.

Separate factions within the shareholder group are understood to be unable to agree whether to accept an improved offer to settle claims they were misled about the strength of the bank's finances when asked to pump in more money in 2008, months before RBS nearly collapsed.

Read full article RBS court case adjourned for third time