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Economy & Finances

Lloyd’s of London to open Brussels unit in early 2019: CEO

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Lloyd’s has been among the most vocal financial businesses on the need for a European Union subsidiary if Britain has no access to the single market after leaving the bloc and is one of the first to announce such a move. Lloyd‘s, which started life in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house in 1688, houses more than 80 syndicates in a building in the City of London. Its syndicates focus on specialist insurance and reinsurance in anything from oil rigs to athletes’ legs. The venerable insurance market said last March that it had chosen Brussels as the si... Read More »

London home sellers slash prices at biggest rate since financial crisis

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The prices that London home-sellers are seeking for their properties fell by the most since the financial crisis this month, at a time when prices in most of the rest of Britain are rising, industry figures showed on Monday. London’s once red-hot housing market has slowed for the past year due to a double hit from higher purchase taxes on expensive homes and the June 2016 Brexit vote, which hurt demand from foreign buyers and raised fears of big job losses in the capital’s financial industry. Rightmove, Britain’s biggest property website,... Read More »

Europe’s largest pension fund to drop tobacco and nuclear weapons investments

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Owen Walker YESTERDAY Europe’s biggest pension fund, ABP of the Netherlands, plans to ax tobacco and nuclear weapons from its investment portfolio. The €405bn scheme joins a growing list of institutional investors in shunning stocks they deem harmful to the environment and to human health. The industry-wide fund, which manages money on behalf of 2.9m members, said on Thursday it will sell €3.3bn of tobacco and nuclear arms industry holdings in the next year. “Investments in tobacco and nuclear weapons have been a dilemma for us for quite some t... Read More »

Bitcoin: Warren Buffett warns cryptocurrency craze ‘will come to a bad ending’

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Warren Buffett isn’t buying the cryptocurrency craze. “I can say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending,” the Berkshire Hathaway CEO said during an interview with CNBC. As the price of bitcoin surged to a record high of nearly $20,000 (£14,800) in December, the alternative currency — and the idea of cryptocurrencies in general — generated intense interest from both amateur investors and from institutions like Goldman Sachs, which reportedly is setting up a cryptocurrency trading desk. Mr Buffett, known for his often-pre... Read More »

Forget Bitcoin – now Dogecoin goes wild

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But even in the turbulent world of cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin is seen as a pretty wild creature. It was launched in 2013, inspired by a short-lived online craze for pictures of a particular Japanese dog breed. Last weekend, however, it nearly doubled in value and is now worth more than $2bn (£1.5bn). Dogecoin had been gaining steadily all through December, but the latest spike has prompted howls of "crypto-hype" from sceptics. Granted, it's still well behind the biggest beast in the digital currency pack, Bitcoin, which has a total value of mor... Read More »

Belgium sells 2.53 bln euros of short-term debt

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Yields on three-month paper rose to a negative 0.570 percent from a negative 0.621 percent last week. Paper expiring a year from now also rose compared to the last auction of 2017 to a negative yield of 0.546 percent. Investors have paid rather than received interest on holding Belgium's short-term borrowings for more than three years. ($1 = 0.8384 euros) ... Read More »

World Bank issues warnings on interest rates and inflation

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Financial markets are complacent about the risks of sharply higher interest rates that could be triggered by better than expected growth in the global economy this year, the World Bank has warned. The Washington-based organisation said that much of the rich west was running at full capacity as a result of a broad-based upswing in activity, but were now vulnerable to a period of rising inflation that would prompt action from central banks. Launching the Bank’s global economic prospects, the lead author Franziska Ohnsorge said: “There could be fa... Read More »

France plans privatisation law in asset sale push – PM

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The government outlined last year plans to sell stakes in order to finance a 10 billion euro (£8.9 billion) innovation fund. It has since reduced its minority stakes in energy group Engie and car maker Renault, and there has been speculation that Paris airport operator ADP and national lottery firm Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) are in line to be privatised. “There have already been some (asset sales) and there will be more,” Philippe said in an interview with Sunday paper JDD. Asked if the government would present a privatisation bill, a neces... Read More »

UK companies will face huge new VAT burden after Brexit

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More than 130,000 UK firms will be forced to pay VAT upfront for the first time on all goods imported from the European Union after Brexit, under controversial legislation to be considered by MPs on Monday. The VAT changes spelled out in the taxation (cross-border trade) bill – one of a string of Brexit laws passing through parliament – are causing uproar among UK business groups, which say that they will create acute cashflow problems and huge additional bureaucracy. Labour and Tory MPs and peers said that the only way to avoid the VAT Brexit ... Read More »

Apple leads race to become world’s first $1tn company

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The race is on to become the world’s first trillion-dollar company, with all eyes fixed on tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Financial commentators and investors predict 2018 will herald the first firm with a stock market valuation of $1tn (£738bn) or more, if technology share prices continue to rise as strongly as in 2017. Apple is leading the way, with a market valuation of $869bn on Tuesday, a figure arrived at by multiplying the company’s share price by the number of shares in circ... Read More »

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