Operation Stack: Could it be the norm?

  • 28 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Digital congestion sign at Operation Stack Image copyright Getty Images

Operation Stack. Every day. For perpetuity.

That was the stark warning sent by the head of the Port of Dover to UK and European politicians on the eve of Article 50.

That is the trigger that fires a two-year countdown for the beginning of the end of the UK's membership of the European Union and with it the border agreements that put European goods on UK shelves and vice versa.

His warnings are not the ravings of a Brexit pessimist. They are a clear message to governments, both here and in France, that the cost of failure in agreeing new rules in the currently frictionless movement of stuff between here and our biggest trading partner, the EU, could be severe.

The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has already highlighted customs checks as a key obstacle to trade. Tim Waggott, the CEO of the port of Dover is confident that a clear and sensible solution is available.

Read full article Operation Stack: Could it be the norm?

Tesco: Another victory for pragmatism?

  • 28 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Tesco trolleys Image copyright EPA

Hugely regrettable - that's how the chief executive of Tesco, Dave Lewis, described the two-and-a-half-year scandal that has spanned his entire time at the helm of the UK's largest retailer.

That is probably an understatement. One of his very first acts in charge was to face the media one morning in September 2014 to reveal Tesco executives had overstated profits by about £250m - a figure later revised up to £326m. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has been parked in Tesco's offices ever since.

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Hopes fade for Co-op Bank turnaround plan

  • 23 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Co-op Bank Image copyright Getty Images

The Bank of England has placed the Co-op Bank under "intensive supervision" as survival options for the ethically-based lender dwindle.

The BBC understands contingency plans to ensure the "orderly failure" of the 150 year old bank are well advanced.

Read full article Hopes fade for Co-op Bank turnaround plan

Are we headed for a bond market bloodbath?

  • 20 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Janet Yellen Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Has Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen unleashed a bloodbath in raising rates?

The greatest bull market in history is over. Last week's rise in US interest rates confirms the reversal of a 30-year trend, and that spells big trouble according to some Cassandras.

There have been bumps in the road along the way but the market for bonds - IOUs issued by governments, banks and companies to raise money - has headed pretty much in one direction for those 30 years.

Read full article Are we headed for a bond market bloodbath?

Doubts over future of UK electric mini

  • 7 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Media captionBMW's Ian Robertson: "The UK is in a strong position but it's not the only production facility we have"

The head of BMW in the UK has thrown further doubt over whether BMW will build an electric version of the mini in the UK.

Speaking to the BBC at the Geneva Motor Show, Ian Robertson, said: "Somewhere around the middle to the third quarter of this year we will decide where to build the electric mini and we have said all along that we would like to see the UK have tariff free access to the single market.

Read full article Doubts over future of UK electric mini

Vauxhall's uncertain road ahead begins

  • 7 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Vauxhall dealer Image copyright Getty Images

Carlos Tavares, the man who will determine the future of Vauxhall workers, downplayed the threat to more than 4,000 Vauxhall workers - but he chose his words very carefully.

The head of PSA insisted that the new combined company would have an opportunity to set new internal benchmarks for performance.

Read full article Vauxhall's uncertain road ahead begins

Philip Green keeps promise to 'sort' pension problem

  • 28 February 2017
  • From the section Business
BHS Oxford Street Image copyright Getty Images

The BHS flagship store on Oxford Street is still boarded up.

The workers are long gone but the debate about the pension mess that was left behind and the corporate culture which let it all happen has carried on.

Read full article Philip Green keeps promise to 'sort' pension problem

The LSE-Deutsche Boerse deal looks dead: Who killed it and why?

  • 27 February 2017
  • From the section Business
Traders work on the floor of the stock exchange in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 27 February 2017 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Trading floor of the Frankfurt stock exchange

The blow was officially landed by the European Commission who came up with a last minute requirement, on 16 February, for the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to sell its Italian bond trading platform (MTS).

Although not a massive contributor to the revenues of the LSE, the Italian government bond market is Europe's biggest, because Italy has the most debt.

Read full article The LSE-Deutsche Boerse deal looks dead: Who killed it and why?

Why is RBS still losing money?

  • 24 February 2017
  • From the section Business

When RBS lost £24bn in 2008, my daughter was half way through junior school.

She's now doing her A-levels and RBS is still losing billions.

Read full article Why is RBS still losing money?

Barclays boss has reasons to be cheerful

  • 23 February 2017
  • From the section Business
Jes Staley

Barclays chief executive Jes Staley was in a good mood this morning - and why not?

After three years of losses, Barclays is back in the black, it will have sold off all its non-essential businesses by June, its capital levels are very close to the point where the banking authorities will let it start paying higher dividends, and interest rates could head upward - a good thing for banks' profit margins. Its shares rose 3% on the news - happy days.

Read full article Barclays boss has reasons to be cheerful