Press Round-Up Short (Premium)
Theresa May was humiliated by European leaders late last night after they rejected pleas for any further concessions to get her Brexit deal through parliament. France and Ireland led a move to strike out a compromise agreement that would have given the prime minister “political and legal assurances” that Britain would not be trapped in an indefinite Irish backstop. - The Times.
Brexit is battering the UK property market, pushing it to its weakest level in more than six years, with almost half of surveyors reporting that sellers and buyers are sitting tight because of political uncertainty. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said its monthly indicators for demand, supply and prices fell to multiyear lows in November. – Guardian.
Theresa May will be put under pressure at her cabinet meeting today to start planning for a no-deal Brexit, with ministers around the table expecting a vote on her future to be called within hours. Cabinet members are set to push the prime minister to step up preparations for a hard Brexit as some claim that she has repeatedly stalled spending decisions to prepare for such an outcome. - The Times.
Slowing growth in London since the Brexit vote has put the British economy on track to narrow the north-south economic divide over the coming three years, according to a report. The accountancy firm EY, despite warning of a weaker outlook for almost every region through to 2021 amid continuing Brexit uncertainty, said London would no longer continue to grow at a much faster pace than the rest of the country. – Guardian.
A pair of hedge funds owned by prominent Brexit supporters have made significant bets against companies exposed to the British consumer including big high street names. Odey Asset Management, part-owned by Crispin Odey, and Marshall Wace, part-owned by Sir Paul Marshall, have declared short positions against consumer-exposed companies, including retailers, estate agents and banks, equivalent to £149m and £572m respectively – as rising political uncertainty threatens the economy.
Theresa May’s plans for a crackdown on immigration after Brexit could cause UK companies to go bust and spark job losses across the country, the head of Britain’s biggest business lobby group has warned. Carolyn Fairbairn, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said the measures aimed at restricting low-skilled immigration could have unintended consequences, and warned the prime minister against using “derogatory terms” about EU migrants working in Britain.
Canada has arrested Huawei’s global chief financial officer in Vancouver, where she is facing extradition to the US in a move likely to exacerbate tensions between the US and China. Meng Wanzhou, one of the vice-chairs on the Chinese technology company’s board and the daughter of the company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on 1 December and a court hearing has been set for Friday, according to Canada’s department of justice. The arrest is reportedly related to violations of US sanctions.
China has said that Beijing and Washington will push forward with trade negotiations in the next 90 days and it is confident that an agreement can be reached but doubts remain over whether the two sides can resolve their deep differences. The commerce ministry, in a brief statement on its website, also said China would work to implement specific issues already agreed upon as quickly as possible. - Guardian.
Financial institutions are coming under pressure from countries in the European Union to relocate more of their business from London ahead of Brexit, the City regulator has warned. Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, said that companies were being lobbied to move operations to rival trading centres as countries look to maximise the amount of business they win from Brexit at the expense of the City. - The Times.
China has agreed to “reduce and remove” tariffs below the 40% level that Beijing is currently charging on US cars, Donald Trump has claimed, amid a trade war truce agreed by the two countries. The US president and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to halt new tariffs during talks in Argentina on Saturday, following months of escalating tensions on trade and other issues. - Guardian.
China and the United States have agreed to halt additional tariffs as both nations engage in new trade negotiations with the goal of reaching an agreement within 90 days, the White House said on Saturday after talks between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping in Argentina. - Sunday Telegraph.
The Trump administration is exploring a deal to delay further tariffs on Chinese imports in exchange for decisive talks about overhauling Beijing’s economic policy, it was reported last night. Officials in Washington and Beijing have spoken for several weeks about setting up talks that could delay the tariffs until at least the end of the spring, as they seek to avert escalation of their trade war. - The Times/Wall Street Journal.
UK banks are strong enough to survive a disorderly Brexit that could leave the country worse off than the 2008 financial crisis, according to the Bank of England. For a second straight year, none of the high street lenders have been told to raise billions of pounds in capital to strengthen their finances, under the Bank’s latest financial sector health check. – Guardian.
Britain is running out of food warehousing facilities needed by retailers and manufacturers to stockpile goods before a possible no-deal Brexit – and the shortage may be the result of Amazon booking the space, MPs have been told. Ian Wright, the director general of the Food and Drink Federation, told the business, Energy and industrial strategy committee (BEIS) on Tuesday that a shortage of space had driven up the cost of chilled warehouse space, even though the shelves may be empty.
President Donald Trump has warned Britain “may not be able to trade with the US” because of Theresa May’s Brexit deal in comments that could torpedo her hopes of winning Parliament’s backing. Mr Trump said the agreement Mrs May reached with Brussels on Sunday “sounds like a great deal for the EU” as he urged the Prime Minister to think again. - Telegraph.
Theresa May launches a frantic two-week campaign today to save her Brexit deal and premiership by telling MPs to do their duty and support her or face going “back to square one”. In a high-risk strategy to turn the tide of opposition in Westminster, the prime minister will then embark on a nationwide tour designed to sell her plan directly to the electorate. - The Times.
Theresa May warned MPs that the public wanted Brexit “settled” as she faced bitter opposition from her own party to her EU exit deal yesterday. The prime minister presented the draft agreement on a future relationship with Europe to a largely hostile Commons after closing a 17-month negotiation earlier than expected. - The Times.
Bosses at the housebuilding firm Berkeley Group were accused of engaging in years of bribery with a partner at a major estate agent, according to papers filed in a pair of lawsuits brought against Berkeley by a former finance director in 2014 and 2015. The claim was among numerous “whistleblowing” allegations by Nicolas Simpkin, 49, who served on the board of the £2. 7bn turnover company from 2009 until he was fired in 2014. – Guardian.
The US-China trade standoff will continue to weaken confidence in the global economy into next year, economists have warned, as the increasingly gloomy outlook for growth dragged on share markets across the world. Plunging oil prices and intensifying concerns about technology stocks in the US spread contagion to Asia Pacific markets on Wednesday after renewed losses on Wall Street. – Guardian.
Online shopping and food retailers are forecast to be the winners this Christmas as consumers keep a tight rein on spending on clothing, homewares and other non-food items. Total retail spending is expected to rise 4% in December, compared with the same month in 2017, to reach nearly £48bn excluding VAT, according to data from the market research firm Mintel. – Guardian.