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Live Reporting

By Joe Miller and Howard Mustoe

All times stated are UK

Joe Miller

Business Reporter


Well we must be going now, and that's the last you'll hear from the live page until Monday. Thanks for sticking with us, and have a very merry Christmas.

No weird buildings

Giant Trousers

Chinese president Xi Jinping has called on the country's architects to stop building "weird" structures,

the New York Times reports. The industry is still mulling over the precise meaning of the cryptic instruction, but there seems to be some consensus that buildings like the China Central Television headquarters, aka Giant Trousers (pictured), are a thing of the past.

Via Blog

ONS Data

Robert Peston

Economics editor

It is on days like today that I am grumpy with the Office for National Statistics and with myself. Because I would love to usher in Christmas with some positive economic news (or perhaps none at all). Read more


Bank balance?

Louise Cooper, a regular of this parish,

writes about the gender imbalance at the Bank of England in today's Times. "Mr Carney has put a woman on the monetary policy committee and Jane Austen on a bank note. But, according to its latest diversity report, only 13 per cent of its directors are female. That is almost half the number of women directors in the FTSE 100"

The other John Lewis

john lewis of hungerford

John Lewis of Hungerford, which makes fancy kitchens, has served up its annual results. £7.4m of sales for 2014 compared with £6.6m a year ago. But profit dropped after costs rose. Profit for the year was a more modest £44,363, from 2013's £144,845.

Via Blog


Linda Yueh

Chief business correspondent

The holidays are a good time to reflect on well-being. The ONS has done so, releasing alongside its latest GDP estimate an assessment of income that is intended to provide a more comprehensive picture of economic prosperity. Firstly, is it more informative than GDP alone? Read more


Shopping frenzy

Oxford Circus

With Christmas almost upon us, the Guardian says

disorganised panic buyers will today meet organised shoppers preparing to buy fresh food. But the build-up has not gone smoothly for some people. The Daily Mirror says the
plans of online shoppers were thrown into chaos when the websites run by Waitrose and Sainsbury's crashed.



As the ONS data shows, construction output increased by 1.6% in the third quarter of 2014 and has risen by 5.7% since the third quarter of 2013.



The above chart shows the average compound quarterly growth rates for the five years after the economic downturn beginning in the first quarter 2008. Only services has recovered all lost ground.

Myanmar mine protest


A woman protesting against a Chinese-backed copper mine in Myanmar (Burma) has been shot dead, according to AFP, who cite a government spokesman. State media reported that nine protesters and 11 police officers had also been injured during the protest, says the newswire.


More stats from the Office for National Statistics (well, it is their raison d'etre). UK GDP grew by 0.7% in the third quarter of 2014, as previously estimated. However, growth over the past 12 months was revised down to 2.6%, from 3%.

UK household income

BBC News Channel


Joe Grice, chief economist at the ONS, is on the News Channel, and says median income (the income of the middle household if all households are ranked from the lowest income to the highest) has been "on a plateau for a little while," and is now where it was in 2002-03.

UK deficit

The deficit being referred to is the current account or trade & foreign payments/receipts deficit (not the budget deficit). That's the difference between the amount of money that the UK receives from the rest of the world and the money it pays out.

UK deficit

In a blow to George Osborne, the UK's current account deficit is reported to have been £27bn in the third quarter of 2014, up from £24.3bn in the three months before. The current account deficit is now the equivalent of 6% of the country's total GDP.

Consumer trends

From July to September 2014, household spending (adjusted for inflation) grew by 0.9%, or £2.5bn,

says the Office for National Statistics. Transport led the charge, up 2.9% compared with the prior 3-month period.

North Korea's internet service is back online after being cut off for most of yesterday. It comes after President Obama warned the US would make a proportional response to the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures. The US has declined to comment.

Via Email

Thorntons warning

Julie Palmer

Partner and retail expert at Begbies Traynor

"Despite reporting strong sales of its seasonal Christmas products, lower than expected orders from the UK's largest supermarkets have hit Thorntons hard this festive season, reducing its visibility among its core customer base at what should be one of its busiest trading periods."

Opec's defiance


The FT predicts the oil industry is set for turmoil after the Saudi oil minister said the producers organisation, Opec, would not cut production,

even if the price of a barrel fell to $20. The paper says Ali al-Naimi tore up Opec's traditional strategy of keeping prices high by limiting oil output and replaced it with a new one of defending the cartel's market share at all costs.

Market update


FTSE 100 share index has opened up 0.42%, while Frankfurt's
Dax is unchanged. In Paris, the
Cac is up 0.32%.

Nicaragua canal


Construction work has begun on a new canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The waterway - across Nicaragua - is being built by a Chinese company as a rival to the Panama canal. Nicaragua's president, Daniel Ortega, said the canal would change the country's economy. "With the wealth that a project of this type generates, we will have greater possibilities of completely eradicating extreme poverty and poverty".

North Korea tours

koryo tours

If you've ever been interested in seeing a time-lapsed video of North Korean capital Pyongyang, but have been too afraid to ask, there's one

here from Mr Cockerell's firm Koryo. What's the strangest place you have been for a holiday? Tell us at Pictures welcome.

Market update

Hong Kong stocks climbed 0.15% following a rally on Wall Street where the Dow Jones and S&P 500 stock markets rose to fresh records. The Nikkei is closed for the Emperor's birthday holiday.

Mansion tax

Ed Balls

The Independent has an

interview with the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, in which he says imposing a mansion tax on homes worth more than £2m would be one of the first acts of an incoming Labour government. But it questions whether it will raise the £1.2bn a year that he hopes. Irrespective of its merits, argues the paper, it's a vote winner, because it chimes so well with the current mood of impatience with the super rich.

Oil's decline

BBC Radio 4

The received wisdom is that the spectacular fall in oil prices is down to oversupply in the market, but one economic outfit disagrees. Danny Gabay, ex Bank of England, says China's slowdown is to blame. Research by his firm, Fathom Financial Consulting, found that the country's economy contracted much more sharply than official estimates. Consequently, the oil fall is "overwhelmingly, predominantly, if not entirely a demand shock," he tells

Today. "It's China slowing down. The supply element is more of a reaction."



We have what looks like a profit warning from chocolate company Thorntons. The firm says it "faced challenges which have adversely affected its sales performance in the run up to Christmas".

Via Twitter

Steve Rosenberg

BBC News, Moscow

"This morning Moscow Radio is discussing the Russian senator who advised Russian women to use beetroot instead of imported lipstick"

Via Twitter

Simon Jack

Business correspondent, BBC News

"Perhaps my favourite item of the year is on Today, today. The montage of the programme's racing selections throughout the year at 0825."

North Korea tours

Radio 5 live


Simon Cockerell, general manager of Koryo Tours is on

5 live. What's special about them, then? They are a British firm, which for the last 21 years has been arranging tours to North Korea. "You don't have access to the whole country, there's basically a list of places you can go, and that list expands every year," he says.

Supplier payments

Radio 5 live

More from James Sproule of the Institute of Directors. "We need a culture change here, good corporate citizenship is about paying bills on time". Big companies muscling small companies into discounts and late payments is a problem, he adds. Bureaucracy in paying back rebates is another.

Supplier payments

Radio 5 live

James Sproule, director of policy for the Institute of Directors, is on

Wake Up to Money talking about late payments to suppliers, a practice of which Premier Foods were recently accused. "For a significant minority, there is real impact, and they don't pay their own suppliers so the whole problem cascades through the system," he says. It can lead to problems with loan repayments, he says.


Radio 5 live

Anne Richards, chief investment officer of Aberdeen Asset Management, is talking about Tesco's future on

Wake Up to Money. Their accountants, PwC, are being probed by the regulator. Tesco has a "new team, new chief executive, new CFO... I can imagine every drawer is being pulled open to see what nasties might be in there". There will be challenges though: "The food retail market is changing... Tesco has been slow to react to that."

HK corruption case

Thomas Kwok, one of the chairmen of development giant Sun Hung Kai Properties

Thomas Kwok, a Hong Kong property tycoon who was convicted of bribing a government official to the tune of $1.1m in exchange for information on land sales, has been sentenced to five years in jail. Kwok, the former co-chairman of the city's largest developer, is one of the richest people in Asia.

Cheap money

Radio 5 live

Anne Richards, chief investment officer of Aberdeen Asset Management is the markets guest on

Wake Up to Money. Looking back, how have low interest rates worked for Europe? "Easy money... hasn't worked. It's given policy makers a real conundrum." It has merely pushed up markets and asset prices, she says.

Howard Mustoe

Business reporter

Good morning! Get in touch with your thoughts on the year: or on Twitter @BBCBusiness

Joe Miller

Business Reporter

Good morning, and welcome to our last live page before Christmas. Today's the day to send us your anecdotes, musings or ramblings while we, in turn, regale you with all the business news that's fit to print.