Mr Farage wrote in the Telegraph this morning. Proclaiming ‘no great love’ for the Tories, but making his move to ‘kill off the idea of a second referendum’. The Tories would rather him go a step further and not contest marginal Labour seats either, as they’re confident they’ll be able to take them on directly and therefore have a better chance of scoring an overall conservative majority. Farage would be mad to do that though, as he’d be keen for a coalition – particularly if he can then tweak the deal that Boris got as part of the confidence and supply arrangement.
The deal to save British Steel by Chinese company Jingye looks like it’s going to save a large chunk of the 4,000 jobs across the sites. They won’t put an exact number on the jobs saved, but have said its in the thousands and in turn this secures the majority of the 20,000 jobs in the supply chain that British Steel is a key part of. The deal is apparently going to see a further £1.2bn in investment over ten years – but as the Guardian points out, there isn’t a clear logic as to why the world’s 37th largest steel producer wants a UK asset that someone like Tata steel (the 10th largest) couldn’t turn to profitability, so this could just be a cheap bet with limited downside for them.
A buyout at the opposite end of ‘cheap with limited downside’ is the proposal by private equity firm KKR to buy Walgreen Boots Alliance. The $70bn transaction would be the largest private equity deal in history – way beyond the $45bn paid for TXU back in 2007. The FT has the story, which is worth a read just for the amount of time numbers in the billions are mentioned so casually!
In Europe, Angela Merkel has made a soft endorsement of plans to implement a Europe-wide bank deposit insurance plan. The plan was meant to be integral to heading off future sovereign debt crises, but as with everything Europe has taken years of disagreement and is still nowhere close to being signed off. Such integration had been seen as a way to head off populism and the timing of Angela Merkel’s endorsement just two days after Spain’s right wing doubled their presence in the national parliament is pretty convenient. Bloomberg has the story.
Moody’s has said that the global shift towards populism is putting credit markets at risk. They say that populist policies that weaken institutions, slow growth and boost the risk of financial shocks are a growing risk to the stability of credit markets and as such have a negative outlook for credit in 2020. Bloomberg has the story.
Back to Germany , who are also making noises about ‘tougher oversight’ on big tech companies in a bid to prevent uncompetitive and abusive practices. There’s growing opinion that it will have to be Europe that takes it to big tech, as we get all of the downside (weaponised politics, privacy threats, monopoly culture, reduced competition) with next to none of the upside (tax revenue). It will be interesting to see if there is more done to hold these giants to account or whether the threat of retaliation from Trump proves too much – The Channel 4 programme ‘the secrets of Amazon’ was worth a watch last night and this FT article is what Germany are saying.
Staying with Tech briefly; Google seems to be flexing their “do no evil” mission statement by collecting and crunching the data of millions of Americans without their knowledge, according to the Wall Street Journal.The healthcare industry is the star prize to fight over for Amazon, Google and Apple – looks like Google is making the first inroads.
Today’s another big data day for the UK. Yesterday’s GDP was embarrassing – dodging a recession, but showing the weakest growth since 2010 – today’s all about unemployment, which should make for better reading, but with an economy growing more slowly than the available workforce