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4 January 2016 |
Happy New Year to all City Career Readers! It is a bit of an understatement to say that after a quiet end to December, things have started off with a bang this month!
It's been commented on several times here at City Career Series, but Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron's failure to mention the issue of immigration in his New Year speech has sparked controversy across various social mediums. Across 2015, immigration was undoubtedly an issue, with net migration above 300,000 according to The Daily Mail. It appears that Mr Cameron is failing to address a key issue with 'six in 10 voters placing immigration in their three issues of concern'. With the issue heightening hopefully this will persuade Cameron to produce a deal with Europe that does not compromise Britain's key issues. However, have the floodgates opened and will barriers ever be able to be reinforced?
Across the Atlantic in the U.S., flames have been ignited as the Obama administration plan to complete raids on Central American homes in attempt to remove illegal immigrants from America. However, many have spoken out against the action including Hillary Clinton. The Huffington Post explains how protestors are campaigning for a 'temporary protected status to remain in the United States given the high level of violence in their home countries'. The Guardian also adds how deporting families and individuals back to Central America where they will be faced with violence. Groups also warned that Obama's action would create resentment which would further separate the country and discontent in his leadership. Is America adopting a closed door policy? Are they turning away innocent people?
The word Europe- do people become disengaged or panic with fear? The continent constantly appears to be facing the same issues after the financial crash and this week’s topic is unfortunately not so dissimilar. Nonetheless, actions approved on Friday suggest that there may be margin for improvement and potentially success as the Europe online magazine reports how 'the European Union launched a new tool... To help shore up the economy of the euro currency area, by introducing common rules to deal with failing lenders and protect taxpayers against the cost of future bank rescues.' The magazine explains how, 'under the new system, named the Single a Resolution Mechanism, the banking industry is to stock up a common rescue fund with an overall 55 billion euros over the next eight years. The fund will also be able to raise money on the markets. Troubled lenders will be able to access the fund if they are unable to fix their financial problems on their own. The mechanism should enable swift decisions on how to tackle a failing bank, within a weekend if necessary.' This measure appears to be fitting and natural, and in turn proposes the question - why was this not conducted 7 years ago? Despite this, The Telegraph reports on sceptical analysts in Brussels who argue that these 'tentative steps towards banking union remain incomplete and could cause more uncertainty for ordinary depositors after January 1.'
In other European news, the word GREECE appears to has temporarily been muted from the headlines. However, Bloomberg states how 'Greek savers still wary of Tspiras After 2015 financial tumult'. Following the many measures and financial inputs, Greece is still facing financial difficulty with figures of household and business deposits at its lowest level for twelve years. Greeks still lack faith in the economy and their politicians and consumer confidence is unlikely to increase. Will Greeks experience a similar to 2016 to 2015; one hopes not as I am not convinced Europe will survive another Greek rollercoaster!
It's bad news again for Volkswagen! The U.S. justice department are now suing Volkswagen over scams regarding emissions according to the BBC. The filing argues that "600,000 Diesel engine vehicles had illegal defeat devices installed that impair their emission control systems and cause emissions to exceed EPA's standards, resulting in harmful air pollution", it also suggests that 'VW "violated" clean air laws by selling cars that were different in design from those originally cleared for sale by the EPA' according to the BBC. Similarly to the negative consequences following the emissions revelations in September, Volkswagen is likely to experience a similar loss if these allegations are true. Hence VW saw its 'first quarterly loss for 15 years, of €2.5bn in late October' reports the BBC. Hopefully, VW will be able to redeem itself in 2016 and its trustworthy name will remain.
Confidence is falling so what does that mean for the economy? Hopefully not a lot as the UK in 2015 experienced a steady recovery. However, Katie Allen from The Guardian reports that 'uncertainty over EU vote and fragile global recovery means that confidence has fallen back to where it was in 2012'. She explains in her article that the 'downturn in China' has been a primary cause of this as Deloitte's survey suggests that Chief Financial officers of big businesses are going to act with caution and wariness in 2016 as a result of the major economy’s slowdown. Nonetheless, despite the expected scale back, financial chiefs were still encouraging about UK economic growth according to this Guardian. Conversely, figures released showing UK manufacturing growth slows again in December falling to 51.9 in comparison to 52.5 in November. Although, it would appear that manufacturing is contracting, 'the reading was still above average for 2015 and means the sector has expanded for almost three years'. The general director shares a similar pessimistic view for 2016 outlook as he 'urged politicians to take action to support the UK over the coming year' according to the Guardian. John Longworth believes that political circumstances have overtaken economic needs when politicians made decisions in 2015 and he has argued that this needs to change! He argued that ‘the UK has been too reliant on consumer spending and asset transactions, driven by increased borrowing, for too long, and this leaves the economy at risk'. Let's hope that the lack of confidence does not result in a lack of demand for goods which will result in further contraction of the manufacturing industry. Equally, is it not time for interest rates to increase to curb spending and to prevent unbalanced growth? However, this will only happen if the Bank of England decides to increase interest rates before their suspected rise at the end of the year. Time will tell, but let's hope that the UK does not set itself up for another crash!
It's is the first business week of the year and things don't appear to be starting on a positive note! The markets opened this morning in the western world to a shock as the BBC reports on how the stock markets in China fell by 7%. The BBC explains that this was caused by another contraction in the manufacturing sector. Nonetheless, according to the Guardian, stimulus measures from Beijing have helped house prices which previously were a "major drag on growth". Hence "prices rose 4.15% on an annual basis in China's 100 biggest cities last month". Will China recover in 2016?
Will they stay low for long? That's definitely the poignant question. The situation in the Middle East raised question this morning to investors as the Brent crude oil price initially rose after Saudi Arabi 'broke diplomatic ties with Iran'. Nonetheless, analysts and investors remain convinced that oil prices will remain low with Bernard Aw at IG Markets in Singapore stating that, 'Unless we see a convincing drop in oil output from these two nations, and the broader oil-producing community, the supply glut issue will persist, which means oil prices would remain under pressure for a longer period' reports the BBC. It would appear that his analysis is correct considering that today's Brent crude oil price fell again by the time of market closure. The question regarding prices however still remains.