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  1. Growth next year will be weakest since 2008-09 recession, says BCC
  2. Chinese firm buys stake in Russia's Rosneft
  3. Trinity Mirror in talks to buy Express newspaper
  4. FCA under Saudi Aramco scrutiny
  5. FTSE 100 trades lower
  6. Thomas Cook pilots strike and plan more
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Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

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That's all from the Business Live page for the week. Please join us again on Monday from 06:00 UK time.

Wall Street flat as Irma approaches Florida

US stocks closed broadly flat, as investors assessed the financial impact of Storm Harvey and tracked Hurricane Irma as it moved towards Florida.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher - finishing at 21,798 points - helped by a rise in financial stocks as US Treasury yields rebounded from 10-months lows.

The Nasdaq Composite declined to 6,360, pulled lower by Apple and Comcast. The S&P 500 was little changed at 2,461.

Irma damage 'exceeds $10bn'

Irma passing the eastern end of Cuba at about 8:00 am EST on 8 September
Getty Images

Hurricane Irma has caused more than $10bn (£7.6bn) in damage across the Caribbean so far, according to disaster risk experts.

That would make it the costliest storm ever to hit the region, the Centre for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology said.

The estimate does not include damage in the Dominican Republic or Cuba, which are later in the storm's path (pictured).

Irma has left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean, affecting an estimated 1.2m people, and is now heading towards Florida in the US.

Lawmakers target Equifax after data breach

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US lawmakers have attacked credit report giant Equifax after the company revealed that 143 million US customers may have had their information stolen in a data breach.

"Every breach leaves consumers exposed and vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and a host of other crimes, and they deserve answers," said Rep Jeb Hensarling, who leads the House Financial Services Committee.

The breach - one of the biggest ever reported in the US - puts people at risk for identity theft and other forms of fraud.

State prosecutors said they would investigate and a Congressional committee is reportedly planning to hold a hearing.

He made Netflix, now he's hacking movie night

Dave Lee

North America technology reporter


Do you remember Blockbuster Video?

Mitch Lowe does. And he remembers what they said to him as he set about putting them out of business with Redbox, the movie rental company.

“They said 'wait a minute, we rent movies for $5. You can’t make money renting them for a dollar!’"

"The year I left we did $1.5bn in revenue. Blockbuster doesn’t exist any more."

Read more here.

Euro pulls back from 32 month high

The Euro is is still up against the dollar at $1.203, but has pulled back slightly from a high of $1.2091 earlier.

Bitcoin falls

Bitcoin logo
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Bitcoin has fallen sharply -more than 7% - after a report from a Chinese news outlet said China was planning to shut down local crypto-currency exchanges.

Analysts said this was just a temporary setback.

US seeks to jail Shkreli, citing 'pattern of threats'

Martin Shkreli
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US prosecutors have asked a judge to jail Martin Shkreli while he awaits sentencing for securities fraud, after a Facebook post by the former drug company executive about Hillary Clinton prompted an investigation by the US Secret Service.

"[Mr] Shkreli has engaged in an escalating pattern of threats and harassment that warrant his detention pending sentencing," prosecutors said in a filing in Brooklyn federal court late on Thursday.

Shanghai takes hard line on soft cheese

A chef displays a cheese platter at a restaurant in Beijing
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Shanghai has halted the import of cheeses such as Roquefort, Brie and Camembert in a move that could damage European exporters, Reuters reports.

Such cheeses are made with microbiological cultures that are not authorised in China, but the country has allowed them to come in for years, it said.

"The European cheese industry is extremely concerned by this ban," a diplomat told Reuters.

Cheese sales in China are expected to reach 5.3bn yuan (£621m) this year, up 26% from last year.

US crude falls as Irma heads for Florida

An oil refinery is seen before the arrival of Hurricane Harvey
Getty Images

Oil prices have fallen after almost a week of rises as Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms in a century, drove toward Florida and the US Southeast after wrecking islands in the Caribbean.

Irma, the second major hurricane to approach the US in two weeks, has already killed 14.

Its predecessor, Harvey, shut a quarter of US refineries and 8% of US oil production, with crude prices slumping as low refining activity sharply reduced demand for oil to process.

US crude futures are down 2.7% at $47.79 per barrel, and Brent Crude is down 0.9% at $53.98 per barrel.

BNP Paribas loses tax avoidance case

French banking giant BNP Paribas has lost a tax avoidance case that has seen it pay back £35m to UK authorities.

It comes after a tribunal ruled in favour of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which said the lender had tried to use a tax avoidance scheme known as "dividend stripping".

Insurance firms 'well prepared'

BBC's Susannah Streeter tweets

Race against time

Thomson and First Choice Hurricane Irma flight delays

Thomson and First Choice say that due to the the planned closure of Orlando Sanford International Airport on Saturday 9 September flights between the UK and Sanford on Sunday and Monday will be delayed between 24 and 48 hours.

United Utilities fined £666,000 for raw sewage pollution

Trout in Medlock
Environment Agency

United Utilities has been ordered to pay a fine of £666,000 after pleading guilty to polluting a river with untreated sewage effluent in Greater Manchester.

The Environment Agency brought a prosecution against the water company after sewage polluted the River Medlock.

After a complaint, "officers found that the pollution had deposited grey sludge on the River Medlock’s bed over four kilometres resulting in significant impact on fish stocks and water quality in the river," the Environment Agency said.

Kraft Heinz names 29-year-old chief financial officer

Heinz ketchup bottles
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Food giant Kraft Heinz has named 29-year-old David Knopf as its chief financial officer as part of a bid to shake up its business.

Mr Knopf, formerly of Goldman Sachs and 3G Capital, will replace Paulo Basilio in the role.

Bank body warns of Equifax scams

Typing on a laptop
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Finance industry body UK Finance has warned consumers to be on the alert after a massive Equifax data breach.

While the majority of of people who had data compromised are in the US, some UK and Canadian customers were also affected.

UK Finance said consumers should be wary of suspicious phone calls, texts and emails from fraudsters claiming to be from their bank, the police or trusted firms.

The body's head of fraud and financial crime prevention Katy Worobec said:

"Criminals often seek to exploit data breaches, so it’s vital to be alert. Be extremely wary of any call, text or email out of the blue, even if they state there has been fraud on your account."

Sports Direct to pay £43m worth of employee share bonuses

Mike Ashley

Sports Direct is to pay employee share bonuses worth over £43m, the firm has announced.

Mike Ashley, chief executive at Sports Direct, said: "The people at Sports Direct deserve every penny of these bonuses. It's thanks to their magnificent achievements and fantastic loyalty that we are able to make progress towards becoming the 'Selfridges' of sport."

The share bonus scheme is not open to workers on zero hours contracts.

However, there is a £19m incentive scheme open to a proportion of those workers, a spokesman said.

Wall Street flat as Irma approaches US

Hurricane Harvey damage
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US stocks are flat as investors assess the financial impact of hurricane Harvey and tracked Hurricane Irma as it ploughs towards Florida.

The three major Wall Street indexes were on track to end the week lower, with many economists forecasting that third-quarter GDP will take a hit due to the hurricanes.

Taxify ordered to stop accepting London bookings

A mini-cab app hoping to rival Uber has been ordered to stop accepting bookings in London, just days after it launched.

Estonia-based firm Taxify began operating in the capital on Tuesday, offering a mini-cab booking service similar to Uber.

But Transport for London (TfL) demanded that it stop, after ruling it did not have the necessary licence.

"The law requires private hire bookings to be taken by licensed private hire operators at a licensed premises, with appropriate record keeping," TfL said.

"Taxify is not a licensed private hire operator and is not licensed to accept private hire bookings in London. TfL has instructed Taxify to stop accepting bookings and it has done so."

Equifax execs 'sold $1.8m shares in days after cyber breach'

Three senior Equifax executive sold about $1.8m of shares in the firm following the discovery of a massive cyber breach, but before the news broke, Bloomberg reports.

John Gamble, Joseph Loughran, and Rodolfo Ploder were not aware of the breach when they exercised options to dispose of the stock, the company said.

Consumer credit score firm Equifax said on Thursday that personal details of as many as 143 million US consumers were accessed by hackers between mid-May and July, in what could be one of the largest data breaches in the US.

Chinese firm buys stake in Russia's Rosneft

Rosneft oil facility

A fast-growing Chinese energy company has struck a deal to buy a 14% stake in Rosneft, Russia's biggest oil firm, according to BBC Monitoring.

CEFC China has already expanded into Europe, central Asia and Africa, but this is its most eye-catching deal to date. The Russian business daily Vedomosti estimates the value of the deal at $8.9bn.

CEFC China bought the stake from a consortium comprising the Qatar Investment Fund and Glencore, which earlier participated in Rosneft's privatisation.

Other major shareholders in Rosneft (pictured) are Russian state-owned Rosneftegaz and British BP.

'Gatwick gusher' firm gets flow test permits

Horse Hill development

The consortium behind controversial oil projects in Surrey has been given the go-ahead by the Environment Agency for further drilling and to test oil flows.

UK Oil and Gas, which owns about a 32% stake in the Horse Hill projects, said an application for long-term production testing and drilling was submitted to Surrey County Council in October 2016 and will be decided at the Council's planning committee meeting on 18 October this year.

FBI investigating Uber

Uber logo on car windscreen
Getty Images

The FBI is currently investigating Uber to see if it used software to interfere with its competitors.

In April, drivers for rival service Lyft sued Uber, claiming that the ride-hailing app illegally tracked their locations using a spyware named "Hell".

The investigation, led by the FBI and the New York US attorney's office, relates to these claims, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the investigation.

Thomas Cook shares fall

Thomas Cook aeroplane
Getty Images

Thomas Cook shares have fallen by 2.5% following a 12-hour strike by pilots of the leisure airline.

A Thomas Cook spokesman said: "We are disappointed that Balpa has announced further strike dates."

Euro makes fresh gains

ECB office in Frankfurt

The euro hit a 32-month high against the dollar earlier - reaching $1.2092 before slipping back slightly. It's now risen 15% against the US currency this year.

Kit Juckes, a strategist with Societe Generale, said the euro had strengthened as the "dark clouds over the euro zone continue to lift".

Others said the euro had also benefited from reports the European Central Bank will cut back on its monetary stimulus next month, a precursor to higher interest rates further down the line.

Bell Pottinger Asia: 'mostly business as usual'

Bell Pottinger's Asia unit has been swift to separate itself from the scandal at its British parent.

It said earlier that it will begin trading under a new name "in the coming days".

But as the FT's Katie Martin points out its statement is a little less upbeat.

View more on twitter

2017 will be the 'costliest' for insurers

FTSE 100 slips lower

The FTSE 100 has slipped lower. It's currently trading 0.4% down at 7,366.3.

Barclays is in the lead with its shares up 1.8%.

Greene King's shares are still down 11% following the pub group's downbeat outlook issued earlier.

Burberry shares rise

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Burberry shares are currently up almost 1% and outperforming the wider FTSE 100. They've been boosted by a note from Credit Suisse upping the rating on the stock to "outperform" from "neutral".

For the last two years, the bank had been negative on the luxury fashion brand's stock due to a slowdown in growth, margin pressure and brand fatigue, but now it believes new management can turn the brand around.

Burberry recently hired Marco Gobbetti as chief executive, who previously served as CEO of Givenchy and Céline.

"Given its heritage with more than 50% of group sales from apparel, Burberry is well placed to capitalise on the need for newness in luxury," says Credit Suisse.

Uber rival suspends service

Talking of Uber, rival Taxify has had to stop offering rides in London just three days after its launch.

The Estonian start-up has been ordered by Transport for London to stop accepting bookings because "it's not a licensed private hire operator".

In response, Taxify says it has "temporarily stopped operations to clarify its legal position with the regulator and reach a resolution so that services can return to normal".

Uber pledges to tackle air pollution

Uber in London
Getty Images

Uber has announced plans to tackle air pollution in the UK with a £150m fund and diesel scrappage scheme aimed at encouraging its drivers to switch to hybrid or electric cars.

The ride-hailing app wants all vehicles in London on its uberX service to be 100% hybrid or fully electric by the end of 2019, with no diesel vehicles on the app. For the rest of the UK, Uber wants the same standard to be achieved by 2025.

Licensed drivers will be able to access up to £5,000 towards the cost of upgrading their car to a hybrid or fully electric vehicle.

“Air pollution is a growing problem and we’re determined to play our part in tackling it," said Fred Jones, Uber’s Head of UK Cities.

Body Shop sale complete

The Body Shop
The Body Shop

Brazilian cosmetics firm Natura Cosmeticos has now officially completed its takeover of The Body Shop.

Natura now owns three brands - Natura, Aesop and The Body Shop. This gives the beauty giant a presence in 69 countries with 3,200 shops and 1.8 million sales consultants.

Guilherme Leal, co-president of Natura, says the combined group is "a new force for good taking shape."

The question for investors is whether it can compete in a global market with the likes of P&G, L'Oreal, Unilever and Avon?

UK could lead the way on self-driving cars

Google self-driving car
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US tech firms like Google, Apple, Tesla and Uber may be ahead on self-driving car research, but the UK could still lead the way on realising the technology, Cambridge-based driverless technology startup Five AI has claimed.

"The UK has some of the top schools in the world in computer vision and behaviour prediction," Five AI boss Stan Boland told the Today programme.

"Annoyingly some of top professors [in the world] are working for Uber and Google, but some of the best ones are now working for us.

"It comes down to the talent you can assemble to solve the problem - it will happen in two to four years."

Yves Saint Laurent co-founder dies aged 86

YSL co-founder Pierre Bergé
Getty Images

The French businessman Pierre Bergé, who helped his partner Yves Saint Laurent build his fashion house into a worldwide brand, has died at the age of 86 at his home in the south of France.

Mr Bergé and Mr Laurent co-founded the fashion house in 1961. They remained lifelong business partners despite splitting up as a couple in the 1980s. Mr Laurent died in 2008.

Mr Bergé stopped running the fashion house in 2002 after four decades.

His friends included the most illustrious French writers of the twentieth century.

He is survived by his husband Madison Cox, a landscape architect who he married in March 2017.

Car finance deals fall

people signing car deal
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Figures show the number of new cars bought using finance fell by 7% in July compared with the same month a year ago, according to the Finance and Leasing Association, which represents about 86% of borrowing against vehicles in the UK.

The figures could alleviate concerns over a credit bubble in motor finance.

Dealership car finance, through loans offered to car buyers at the point of sale, has been growing rapidly in recent years, with the Bank of England warning about the issue in July.

'Industrial production a blow'

car manufacturing

Despite the better-than-expected manufacturing output figures, Pantheon Macroeconomics economist Samuel Tombs says the slowing in the broader measure of industrial output is disappointing.

"July’s industrial production data are a further blow to hopes that the sector will accelerate and fully offset the worsening slowdowns in the services and construction sectors," he says.

Pound holds onto gains

US dollar/pound
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The pound has held onto its gains following the slew of data.

It's currently up 0.27% against the dollar at $1.31380. Against the euro, it's 0.06% higher at 1.09030 euros.

"The stronger official data add some relief to worries that the official data were showing the sector facing another downturn despite the weakened pound," says IHS Markit economist Chris Williamson.

UK manufacturing up in July

UK car plant
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The British Chambers of Commerce assessment of the economy may be gloomy, but manufacturing output expanded at the strongest pace this year in July, according to official statistics.

The Office for National Statistics said manufacturing output rose 0.5% in July, boosted by car production improving after a dip in June.

Growth in the broader measure of industrial output slowed to 0.2% from 0.5%.

But there is little sign of improvement in the trade deficit despite sterling's sharp fall since last year's Brexit vote.

The ONS said Britain's trade deficit in goods edged up to £11.576bn - the biggest since March - from a sharply downwardly revised £11.527bn for June.

While goods exports to the EU increased, this was offset by falling goods exports to the rest of the world.

Brexit is 'creating new jobs'

BBC Business Live

People waiting for a job interview
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Looking for a job?

We've got good news - Brexit is causing a rise in demand for staff in the UK. Job pay rates across multiple industries are also increasing, according to recruitment trade body the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

"There's a big demand at the moment for managerial leadership roles to help companies navigate these uncertain waters, but also [roles] like risk managers, legal staff, HR staff, there's huge demand there."

"There's also big demand in the blue collar sectors like hospitality, logistics, construction, so it does cut across most sectors of our economy," Tom Hadley, director of the REC, told BBC Business Live.