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Live Reporting

By Mary-Ann Russon

All times stated are UK

  1. US 'seeks yuan pledge' as trade talks continue

    Man stands on a port in China

    Back to the US-China trade situation.

    The US wants China to pledge not to devalue its yuan currency as part of a deal to end the countries' damaging trade war, Bloomberg reports.

    The report said both sides are discussing how to address currency policy that would form part of a trade deal, citing unnamed sources.

    It comes as officials from both sides hold talks in Washington as a deadline to strike an agreement and avert fresh tariffs looms.

    Read more

  2. Lloyds buy-back

    View more on twitter

    That's the business presenter for BBC Radio 4's Today Programme after Lloyds Banking Group reported statutory profit before tax up 13% to £6bn.

    The bank, which was bailed out during the financial crisis but in which the government no longer has a stake, is also announcing a share-buy back and dividends to shareholders.

    And the bank has published pay deals for its staff today, including its chief executive António Horta-Osório who received £6.3m for 2018. In the previous year, the bank said, he received £6.4m.

  3. Risk involved

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury's, told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that he knew there were competition risks involved in the tie-up with Asda.

    "I would be first to acknowledge there was always a degree of risk involved," Mike Coupe said, but he said the group had used the criteria applied to previous deals.

  4. 'Who would invest?'

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4


    Mike Coupe, the chief executive of Sainsbury's, said the Competition and Markets Authority was rewriting the rules for assessing supermarket deals.

    "In the end they are taking money out of customers' pockets," Mr Coupe said.

    "As UK plc with Brexit looming, and a completely unpredictable set of competition rules, who would invest in this country? This is just outrageous," he told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

  5. 'Fight' the process

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Sainsbury Asda bags

    "We will fight right the way through the process," said Mike Coupe, the chief executive of Sainsbury's, after the CMA announcement.

    Applying the same criteria to any retail merger it would have led to it being blocked, he said, citing Tesco's takeover of Booker.

    He listed the number of convenience stores. Sainsbury's has 800, Asda 61, Tesco 2,000 and Booker 5,000. "The CMA are saying we'd have to sell all of the 61 Asda stores," he says, while the Tesco Booker deal did not require such divestments.

    He was speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

  6. More from Sainsbury's boss

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Mike Coupe told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that he was disappointed with the CMA's announcement about Sainsbury's proposed deal with Asda.

    "The CMA have fundamentally moved the goal posts, not only that they've changed the shape of the ball and chosen a completely different playing field. This is a massive problem for any business that might be considering a transaction in the UK," he said.

    "Customers are the main losers. We believe we'd be able to lower prices in the UK market. We've made that case very strongly to the CMA and they've completely dismissed our evidence," he said.

  7. CMA analysis 'fundmentally flawed"

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    The chief executive of Sainsbury's, Mike Coupe, has responded to the Competition and Markets Authority's announcement this morning.

    He told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that the analysis is "fundamentally flawed".

  8. Lloyds profits

    Lloyds bank logo

    Profits at Lloyds Banking Group rose 24% to £4.4bn in 2018.

    There's a £200m provision for Payment Protection Insurance misselling in the fourth quarter.

    "Over 2018 the UK economy has proven itself to be resilient with record employment and continued GDP growth. Although the near term outlook for the UK economy remains uncertain, our strategy continues to deliver for our customers," said chief executive António Horta-Osório.

  9. Gender pay data: It's a start

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Sheila Flavell, Chief Operating Officer at FTSE 250 recruitment firm FDM Group, spoke to Wake Up To Money about the BBC's research on the gender pay gap.

    Her company has a zero gender pay gap. While there is criticism of the way the figure is calculated, she says "it's a measure, it's a start".

    "What we say is talent comes in many forms," she says.

  10. Car industry after Brexit

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Honda logo on a hat

    More on Honda, after that announcement yesterday that it is to close its plant in Swindon.

    The Japanese carmaker said that it was not about Brexit.

    But Christian Stadler, professor of strategic management at Warwick Business School, told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that it was "possibly the tipping point".

    "While I accept Brexit is not the only factor, I do think it was one of the important factors and possibly the tipping point," he said.

    If there is a no-deal Brexit, he said that in the short-term he was "very worried" about car manufacturers in the UK.

  11. UK 'only place to go'

    BBC Radio 5 live

    honda lorry

    Honda announced yesterday that its plant in Swindon is to close but Lewis Horne, chief executive of electric car company UNITI, told Wake Up To Money that the UK had an opportunity to lead in this sector.

    He said he "wouldn't read too much" into the decision by the Japanese car maker.

    He said the UK was "the only place to go" for the labour force needed for light weight composite manufacturing and is considering setting up a base in UK.

  12. Cathay Pacific shares jump after guidance

    Cathay Pacific

    Cathay Pacific shares soared more than 6% in Hong Kong trading after the carrier said it would swing to an annual profit of around $2.3bn Hong Kong dollars ($293m; £224m).

    That's nearly double analyst estimates, according to Reuters.

    The airline is pushing a turnaround plan that aims to cut costs and boost revenues as it battles stiff competition from low-cost Chinese carriers and others.

  13. Asia markets mixed

    Men look at stock boards in Japan

    It's been a mixed session for markets in Asia.

    Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 0.5%, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.4% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index put on 0.7% in afternoon trading.

  14. Banking mirror

    BBC Radio 5 live


    Lloyds Banking Group is due to report its results shortly, following on from Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC.

    George Godber of Polar Capital told Wake Up To Money that banks "will all say roughly the same thing: 'we'd like some certainty' [on Brexit]".

    "A bank is a mirror on the economy," he said and the current trend was slightly lacklustre demand for lending but low losses on lending.

  15. Japan exports drop most in 2 years

    A street in Osaka, Japan

    More signs of slowing demand in the global economy.

    Official data out Wednesday showed Japan's exports fell 8.4% year-on-year in January, a sharper drop than the 5.5% decline economists polled by Reuters forecast.

    That's the biggest annual decline since October 2016. China-bound shipments fell 17.4% year-on-year, though trade was hit by the Lunar New Year holiday.

  16. Fed minutes out today

    The US Federal Reserve will publish the minutes of its January policy meeting will be published today, despite bad weather disrupting operations in Washington.

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  17. Good morning

    Research by the BBC has found that four in 10 private companies that have published their latest gender pay gap are reporting wider gaps than they did last year.

    Companies reporting today include Lloyds Banking Group and miner Glencore.

    We will be watching for any details on US-China trade talks after President Donald Trump said yesterday that there was "not a magical date" about increasing tariffs. Detail on that is here.

    Do get in touch: