The British pound collapses as odds diminish in Brexit talks: direct business updates

credit…Frank Augustin / Associated Press

As Britain approaches another new deadline for a trade deal with the European Union on Sunday, the pound is wrapping up its worst week in three months. It took a sharp turn against the EUR on Thursday, and fell further on Friday, as traders grappled with the possible failure of UK trade talks with the European Union.

Markets tend to think as long as they talk and there is hope. “I’ve been really careful about that,” said Gene Foley, the strategist at Rabobank. “There may be no agreement but there will be turmoil, even if there is an agreement. There will be political repercussions.”

This is all bad for a coin.

In just under three weeks, the transition period to Brexit will end, and if no agreement is reached, Britain will have to deal with its biggest trading partner according to the terms of the World Trade Organization, which means that tariffs will be imposed on goods and there will be less. An opportunity for future cooperation between service industries. So far three cases – Hunting rights, The rules of commercial competition and how a deal will be executed – has hindered the talks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson went to Brussels on Wednesday evening for dinner With the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to try to break the impasse. by the time Fish dinner , There were reports that expectations for a deal had expired More bleaker. A new deadline has been set for Sunday.

Then, on Thursday, the European Commission laid out its plans for what to do If there is no agreement. And the Mr. Johnson said There was no “never reached” agreement and there was a “strong possibility” that there was no agreement.

The enduring optimism has been tested in the financial markets many times before. Countless deadlines for Brexit have come and gone. This time, however, there are serious concerns about how an agreement, if reached, could be ratified into law before January 1. The British Parliament is preparing plans Work until ChristmasBut the European Union will find it difficult to bring together 27 countries during the holiday period.

This was the worst week for the pound since early September, when traders were spooked Boris Johnson will foil a trade deal By submitting a new bill that conflicts with the European Union withdrawal agreement and violates international law.

Even before the end of the transition period, Britain got a glimpse of a species Disturbance that occurs When trade isn’t going smoothly, it’s when Honda closed its assembly plant in England this week because parts were stuck in transit.

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The economic impact of more trade disruption in the new year once the customs checks begin will affect the British economy It is trying to scratch the recovery during the second wave of the pandemic. Thursday’s data showed that GDP rose 0.4 percent in October, A slowdown before England went into lockdown for a month in November.

Aides to Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, said the bipartisan aid package to combat the pandemic lacks support among many Republican lawmakers.
credit…Anna Money Maker for the New York Times
  • Stocks fell worldwide on Friday and futures indicated that the S&P 500 would open 1 percent lower, as investors turned away from risky assets despite news that the United States It is likely to authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Within days. Instead, traders face the prospect of a no-deal Brexit and months of economic hardship as countries still struggle to contain the virus.

  • The Stoxx Europe 600 is down 1.3%. Britain’s FTSE 100 is down 1.1%, the CAC in France is down 1.3%, and the DAX in Germany is down 2%. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite closed 0.8 percent lower, and the Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 0.4 percent.

  • The S&P 500 is on track to break two consecutive weeks of gains. When markets closed on Thursday, the US benchmark is down 0.8 percent so far this week.

  • Oil prices also fell on Friday, retreating from the previous day’s high when prices jumped to their highest levels since March. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 0.5 percent to $ 46.57 a barrel.

  • Instead, traders bought traditionally safe assets like government bonds. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell 8 basis points, or 0.08 percentage point, this week, the largest number since June. Yields move inversely to prices.

  • Both British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, have said it is likely Britain and the European Union. You will not come to an agreement On free trade by the end of the year. The talks are expected to continue over the weekend.

  • In the United States, it hopes to reach agreement on new fiscal stimulus before Congress is broken Shrunk. On Thursday, aides to Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, indicated that many Republicans would not agree to the two-party package that has emerged. On the same day, the data showed more than 947,000 people I applied for unemployment benefits Last week, a jump from the previous week.

As the economic recovery falters and federal aid falters in Washington, State governments intervene To try to help small businesses survive the winter pandemic.

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The Colorado legislature held a special session last week to pass the economic aid package. Ohio is offering a new round of grants to restaurants, bars and other businesses affected by the pandemic. And in California, a new fund will use the state’s money to support what could ultimately amount to hundreds of millions of dollars in private loans. Other states, led by Republicans and Democrats, have announced or are considering similar measures.

The efforts come at a time when many companies are facing an increasingly dire situation, the New York Times Ben Castellman Reports.

A survey from the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday showed lower optimism and increased uncertainty as the increase in coronavirus cases nationwide reimposed restrictions and consumers to cut back on their spending. Separate data from the Census Bureau shows that an increasing share of small businesses are cutting jobs, and other surveys show that a large number of companies are at risk of failure.

If that happens, it could be a disaster for both the nation’s economies and state budgets. Local companies are major sources of tax revenue – either directly or through their employees – and major drivers of economic activity. If they fail in large numbers, it will slow the economic recovery once the pandemic is over.

  • Lululemon reported sales of $ 1.1 billion for the third quarter on Thursday, up 22 percent from a year ago, as shoppers bought leggings and other exercise equipment to stay comfortable and fit while working from home. In North America, net revenue grew 19 percent. Direct consumer revenue – which includes online sales – rose 94 percent.

  • Walmart Preparing more than 5,000 of its stores to receive the vaccine doses So they’re ready to distribute the Snapshots as soon as they meet regulatory approval and have it available. The company said in a statement on Thursday that it was ensuring it had enough freezers and dry ice to store the vaccine, and was preparing to distribute the vaccine through Walmart and Sam’s Club stores and in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. The company will rely on state governments to guide distribution efforts.

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the lawsuits against Facebook on Wednesday.  Some legal experts said the cases were far from a hit.
credit…Via the New York State Attorney’s Office

The United States government and more than 40 states Facebook sued on Wednesday for unlawfully crushing competitors The company demanded that it withdraw its acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.

Here are five key questions about the issue that have been answered:

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There is a legal reason why Instagram and WhatsApp are at the heart of state and federal lawsuits. Trying to reduce competition by buying off competitors is a clear violation of America Antitrust laws. This is exactly what government attorneys say Facebook has done and will continue to do.

But the difficult thing is that the government granted Facebook permission to buy Instagram and WhatsApp In 2012 And the 2014. FB Controversy It is not fair that government officials are trying to do more now, and that Facebook has made Instagram and WhatsApp better than they could be on their own.

It could take years to resolve claims like this. Your experience with Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger won’t be different suddenly tomorrow.

The immediate impact of this legal battle could be minor changes to these social apps as Facebook monitors court cases.

Indeed, Facebook is making the messaging features of multiple apps blend together more seamlessly behind the scenes, which can happen. It made the separation more difficult. It is also possible that Facebook will delay new acquisitions or change features in development to avoid hurting the company’s legal arguments.

in a Last year’s interviewBill Gates said that if Microsoft was not “distracted” by government antitrust lawsuits that began in 1998, it would be his company’s Windows operating system – not Google’s Android – It may be the most popular smartphone system in the world. Gates was reflecting a common view among company executives at the time that lawsuits Microsoft made more cautious As a result, the company missed opportunities to go in new directions.

It is possible that Facebook will change its behavior because it is overwhelmed with court cases or worried that it looks like a bully.

The government is suing Facebook after years of failing to rein in its power and because there is now the political will to do so.

The Federal Trade Commission is the same government agency that was mocked last year To extract a fine that can be managed from Facebook And the demand for changes in the privacy policy of the company with uncertain benefits for those who use the company’s applications from us. The same agency approved the acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.

What is changing now is that the elected officials and other people in government have changed United in their frustration with America’s technological superpowers And more Willing to call for sweeping changes.

People who want to change these companies, the Internet, and the US economy sometimes see antitrust lawsuits as sweeping reforms. But antitrust cases, even if successful, will not necessarily address all the different and sometimes conflicting grievances of many people.

Whatever happens with the Facebook issue, there is no return to more carefree times for the tech giants. In world capitals, courtrooms and among the public, we are grappling with what it means for a handful of rich tech companies to influence our lives, our elections, our economies and our minds.

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