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  1. Get in touch:
  2. Pound slips to 2018 low against the dollar
  3. Debenhams profit warning sees shares slump 14%
  4. McCarthy & Stone shares fall 19%
  5. Footyasylum shares collapse, down 42%

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

Good night

That's all from the Business Live page. Join us again tomorrow from 06:00.

Ford to turn Detroit station into offices

Car maker Ford is to renovate Michigan Central Station in Detroit and turn it into offices accommodating up to 5,000 technology staff and software engineers with a focus on self-driving vehicles.

In a speech the company's executive chairman, Bill Ford, said the station, which dates back to 1914, brought immigrants to Motor City during its most successful years, before closing in 1988 and falling into disrepair.

"This became a place where hope left, it became a symbol of the city's hard times" Mr Ford said. "We have big plans for this building."

US to take cash deposits from China aluminium importers

Importers of Chinese aluminium into the US are to pay cash deposits on the US border, the US commerce department has announced.

The move comes as trade tensions increase between China and the US.

US stocks finish down

Wall Street traders
Getty Images

US stocks fell on Tuesday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average turned negative for the year as a sharp escalation in US-China trade dispute rattled the markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 287.26 points or 1.15% at 24,700.21.

The S&P 500 ended the day at 2,761.00, a fall of 12.75 points or 0.46%.

And the Nasdaq finished at 7,725.58, a fall of 21.44 points or 0.28%.

Pure Gym boss on scrapping VAT on memberships

This content only works in the UK.

Humphrey Cobbold, boss of Pure Gym talks to Sean Farrington.

Humphrey Cobbold, the boss of Pure Gym, talks about scrapping VAT on gym memberships to reduce the burden on the NHS, why landlords are reluctant to cut rents on the High Street, and how lunges are replacing running on treadmills.

Russia and Saudi Arabia push for oil output increase

Nodding donkey
Getty Images

Russia and Saudi Arabia are pushing Opec and its allies to raise oil output from July to meet growing demand and cover supply outages in Venezuela and Libya, despite opposition from several members of the producer group, including Iran.

"Oil demand usually grows at the steepest pace in the third quarter... We could face a deficit if we don't take measures," Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. "In our view, this could lead to market overheating."

Mr Novak said Russia wanted Opec and non-Opec countries to raise output by 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd), effectively wiping out existing production cuts of 1.8 million bpd that have pushed up oil prices to $75 per barrel from as low as $27 in 2016.

How old do you feel?

Mercedes exhibition

Slow, inflexible, forgetful, always off sick. Sound familiar? These are all misconceptions about older workers that Mercedes-Benz is trying to address.

The German car maker has come up with initiatives to try to challenge stereotypes about older workers.

These include an exhibition where visitors are asked to choose between the "young" or "old" door to enter. Many retired visitors, who still feel young, go in through the "young" door.

Inside you can take tests inside to measure memory, balance, ability to work in a team, grip tightness, how easily you can relax and how high you can jump.

Who says economists don't have fun?

Douglas Fraser

Scotland business & economy editor

Former Malaysian PM faces 1MDB embezzlement charges

Najib Razak
Getty Images

Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has said that his predecessor, Najib Razak, was totally responsible for the state investment fund, 1MDB, that is missing billions of dollars.

Dr Mahathir said investigators had an almost perfect case against the principal suspects.

He said Mr Najib, his wife and others could soon face a range of charges, including embezzlement. They have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

Tech chiefs speak out against child separation

A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border
Getty Images

A number of tech-giant chief executives have spoken out against the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their asylum-seeker parents, including Tim Cook of Apple, who called them "inhumane".

Now Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook has chipped in.

"Organizations like Texas Civil Rights Project and RAICES are doing great work helping families at the US border get legal advice and translation services, as well as documenting what is happening on the ground to make sure these stories are shared. I've donated to them and I encourage you to as well. We need to stop this policy right now,” he said in a Facebook post.

UK fruit growers 'short of seasonal workers'

Do you like strawberries? Well, they might just be more expensive this summer.

Industry body British Summer Fruits (BSF) says 61% of growers are having trouble recruiting workers and 63% have reported a drop in applications for seasonal work.

BSF chairman Nick Marston said: "British growers are dependent on seasonal agricultural workers from the EU... Any fall in home-grown production not only increases our dependence on imported fruit, but it will inevitably lead to significant price rises, too."

Fox calls for trade calm

China port
Getty Images

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is to call on countries not to use trade tariffs as a first port of call as tensions between the US and China escalate.

Mr Fox, a leading Brexiteer, will tell a UK-China conference set up by the free-trade-promoting Centre for Policy Studies think tank that countries should collaborate through bodies such as the World Trade Organization:

"As China continues to astound the world with its economic progress, a newly global Britain will be ready to build a constructive partnership, working towards greater global prosperity and stability, and rooted in a rules-based international system that works for all our citizens."

Business Live wonders - is this really the way the world works now?

US 'blocking WTO appeals judge appointments'

The Trump administration is blocking all new appointments to the WTO appeals court, Reuters reports.

"In blocking new appointments, the Trump White House is undermining a tribunal that enforces the rules of a trading system that has served WTO members well for over 20 years, and continue to be crucial to the group’s interests," the news agency said in the comment piece.

Trump tariffs: Markets fall as trade war fears mount

Police crack down on online fraud

Hands on a computer keyboard

Police have arrested 95 people across Europe as part of an operating targeting online fraud, including two people in the UK.

"Several of the fraudsters targeted during the operations were using social media to commit remote purchase fraud, with criminals offering goods to buyers for a heavily discounted price via social media and then using stolen card details to make the purchase. The buyers’ card details are then usually stolen and passed on to other fraudsters," the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) said in a statement.

UK clears way for Sky battle

Sky News

Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox has answered remaining government doubts about the independence of Sky News if it buys all of its parent Sky, paving the way for a takeover battle over the pay-TV group.

UK Media Secretary Matt Hancock said Fox had secured a commitment from Disney to operate Sky News for 15 years rather than 10 years, an increase in the funds available for the channel to at least £100 m a year, and a pledge to retain its editorial independence.

He said the revised undertakings would "help to ensure that Sky News remains financially viable over the long term, free from any potential outside influence".

So is that the all-clear for the Disney deal? Not quite - US media giant has also thrown its hat in the ring, with higher offers for Sky.

Eurozone budget deal struck

Angela Merkel
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France and Germany have agreed to set up a common budget for the eurozone, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday, announcing a key reform proposal to bolster the bloc.

The budget will be a "real budget with annual revenues and spending," said French President Emmanuel Macron after talks with the German leader, adding that Paris and Berlin hoped to have it in place by 2021.

Norwegian Air: Size matters when it comes to profits

Norwegian Air plane
Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air Shuttle is reaching a size at which it can be profitable, its founder and chief executive has said, while reiterating that he will not block a sale of the budget carrier if other shareholders want to sell it.

Both British Airways owner IAG and Lufthansa have been in contact with Norwegian over a possible deal.

Chief executive Bjorn Kjos said Norwegian was reaching the peak of its investment phase this summer and was ready to reap the benefits.

"We have reached the size that we need to facilitate what we would like to do. Now it's about refining the business," Mr Kjos told a conference of airports association ACI.

'Dangerous environment for investors'

Dan Ivascyn, group chief investment officer at bond giant Pacific Investment Management Co, (Pimco) has said it is a "relatively dangerous environment for investors" because of political uncertainty making stretched market valuations more vulnerable.

"It's about trying to limit the downside when fear returns to the market and volatility rises," Mr Ivascyn said.

US stocks opened lower after President Donald Trump's latest threat to impose duties on additional Chinese goods heightened worries that tit-for-tat tariffs could spiral into a trade war.

Russia to target US goods in response to US metals tariffs

Maxim Oreshkin
Getty Images

Russia will impose tariffs on imports of certain goods from the US in response to tariffs placed on steel and aluminium imports by Washington, Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin (pictured) said.

The tariffs will target goods that Russia has domestic equivalents of, and the move will not affect Russian macroeconomic performance, Mr Oreshkin said.

Wall Street falls as trade tensions rise

Wall Street traders
Getty Images

US stock have tumbled at the open after rising trade tensions between the US and China, The Dow Jones fell 1.3% to 24,671 points, the S&P 500 fell 0.2% to 2,774 points, and the Nasdaq fell 1% to 7,670.

Asos bans silk, cashmere and mohair

Asos models

Asos is banning products which contain feathers, silk, cashmere and mohair from its website.

The fashion retailer says it has updated its animal welfare policy and will stop stocking products using these materials by the end of January 2019.

Animal rights group Peta said it "applauds ASOS for leading the charge for compassion in fashion".

Asos has already banned fur, angora and other rabbit hair and products which use materials from vulnerable animals.

Full story here

Small firms need to be as productive as the Germans

German town
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Smaller firms could add billions of pounds a year to the UK economy if they were as productive as their German counterparts reckons NatWest.

It's published research that suggests that workers in small to medium sized businesses in the UK generate £147,000 worth of output per year on average. But that's less than half of those in Germany.

The gap underlines official figures showing that UK productivity fell in the first quarter of the year, according to the report.

Pound still struggling against the dollar

Pound dollar graph

The pound is still struggling against the dollar after falling to a 2018 low on the back of Trump's latest trade war outbursts.

It's down 0.7% on the day to $1.3153.

FTSE 100 still in negative territory

FTSE 100 graph

Looking at the markets, the FTSE 100 is still stumbling along at around 40 points down on the day. It's fallen 0.56% to 7588.92.

The FTSE 250 is similarly down 0.6%, dropping 97.78 points to 20,901.82.

McCarthy & Stone is the biggest faller on the FTSE 250 index, slumping 14.64% to 111.35.

Fracking still off limits in Scotland

Scottish Green Party energy spokesperson Mark Ruskell (C) joins an anti-fracking demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament, as MSPs prepared to debate the issue, on October 24, 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Getty Images

The petrochemical giant Ineos has lost its legal challenge to overturn the Scottish Government's ban on fracking.

The Scottish government announced a moratorium on fracking in 2015 and launched a review of the controversial oil extraction technique.

After considering the evidence for two years, ministers concluded there was "overwhelming opposition" and announced what was described at the time as an "effective ban", enforced via planning powers.

Ineos argued that it is unlawful for ministers to use planning powers to prohibit fracking in Scotland.

Visa explains June outage and promises compensation

Sign saying no Visa payments

Card giant Visa told the Treasury Select Committee that it's failure on 1 June led to 5.2 million card transactions being affected, including 2.4 million transactions in the UK.

It has pledged to compensate customers affected by the failure

It explained that the outage occured because of a problem in its processing system, which saw a component within a switch in its primary data centre suffer “a very rare partial failure”, which prevented a back-up switch from operating.

The outage lasted from 2.35pm on 1 June to 12.45am on 2 June but Charlotte Hogg, chief executive of Visa Europe, said that during the incident 91% of transactions of UK cardholders processed normally.

She added that “we have been focused on identifying all necessary steps to prevent a reoccurrence”.

An independent review will examine the lessons to be learnt from the incident.

Temporary chief motors in at Audi after boss arrested

Audi car
Getty Images

Scandal-hit car company Audi has suspended chief executive Rupert Stadler and appointed sales executive Abraham Schot as an interim replacement with immediate effect.

The move comes a day after Stadler was arrested over the diesel emissions scandal.

"Stadler has requested that the Supervisory Board release him from his position in the Board of Management of AUDI AG and in the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG," Audi said in a statement.

Stadler's suspension from board duties will be temporary until the circumstances of his arrest are clarified, Audi said.

Chinese smartphone maker lowers valuation

Mi store
Getty Images

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has lowered its likely valuation to between $55bn and $70bn following a decision to delay its mainland share offering until after its Hong Kong IPO, according to Reuters.

The delay was triggered by a dispute between the company and regulators over the valuation of its China depositary receipts, according to the report.

The move casts doubt on Beijing’s efforts to lure foreign-listed Chinese tech giants back home, the report said.

Investors freaked out by Footasylum

Footasylum website

Footasylum shares have almost halved in value. So what's upset investors so much?

Well, it warned that profits for the 2018/2019 financial year would "show more modest growth" then 2017/2018.

It also said that trading this year had been hit by weak consumer confidence.

Investors don't like such comments, but coming from a company that only listed last November, they are particularly alarming.

Analysts at stockbrokers Peel Hunt also worry that the company faces long-term concerns. In particular Nike and Adidas are cutting back on the number of retailers they supply.

"Footasylum may find that its access to the cool product files is restricted over time. Days like today won’t help," their report said.

New editor for Mail Online

In the wake of Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre's imminent retirement, Guardian media business correspondent Mark Sweney has news of more Daily Mail moves:

View more on twitter

Alexa tries hospitality

Concierge bell
Getty Images

Want room service? Well you might have to ask Alexa.

Marriott International is going to experiment with using Amazon's Alexa, along with the voice-activated device Echo, which uses Alexa.

The device could be used for ordering room service, requesting housekeeping or calling the concierge.

Slingsby shares slump on profits warning

Man on ladder
Getty Images

Shares in industrial equipment supplier H C Slingsby have slumped a third today after it issued a profits warning.

The AIM-listed Shares fell 33% from 75p to 50p after the company reported a 6% slump in sales for the three months to 31 March and a 1% fall in sales in the five months to the end of May.

It said: "Disappointing levels of order intake across the group so far during June 2018 lead the directors to remain cautious regarding the outlook for the results for the six months to 30 June 2018."

No more discounts...

BBC personal finance correspondent Simon Gompertz tweets:

View more on twitter

Draghi: 'We will remain patient'

Mario Draghi
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Mario Draghi, The President of the European Central Bank, has promised this morning that the Bank will take its time to lift interest rates.

His speech at an ECB conference in the Portuguese town of Sintra reinforced last week’s agreement by policy makers to keep borrowing costs unchanged at least through the summer of 2019.

He said: “We will remain patient in determining the timing of the first rate rise and will take a gradual approach to adjusting policy thereafter.”

BreakingE.ON hikes dual fuel prices

E.ON will raise prices for standard dual fuel customers by 4.8% from 16 August, the German utility said on Tuesday.

Prices for electricity-only customers will jump 6.2% and by 3.3% for gas-only customers.

E.ON said the increase is needed "due to the significant rise in the cost of wholesale energy, and in common with similar pressures faced by a number of other suppliers of all sizes across the industry over recent months".

Moneysupermarket slumps on broker rating

Moneysupermarket shares graph
Google Finance
Moneysupermarket shares have slumped today

Shares in Moneysupermarket have fallen more than 7% - or 24p - after a broker slashed its price target.

Barclays Capital cut its price target for the financial services comparison site to 310p from 330p. The shares are currently trading at 299p, down from 321p on opening this morning.

Job cuts at Poundworld

Poundworld store

One in three workers at Poundworld's head office have been made redundant, the BBC has learned.

Some 98 workers are believed to have lost their jobs out of 270 employed at the company's head office.

It could be the first of more bad news to emerge from the struggling chain which went into administration last week, putting around 5,100 jobs and 335 stores under threat.

The administrators Deloitte are understood to be looking at a number of bids for different parts of the chain.

Poundworld stores and the company's distribution centre remain open as the search of a buyer continues.

Pound heads lower

Pound dollar

The pound has been on an interesting journey this year. In April it rose as high as $1.4325 and seemed to be heading towards levels not seen since before the referendum on European Union membership in June 2016.

In the weeks before the referendum it was trading close to $1.50.

But since April the pound has fallen around 8%. That largely reflects the receding likelihood of an imminent increase in UK interest rates.

It is now firmly below $1.32.