Monday, 22 February 2021

‘“I Regret Voting Brexit” – Fish Industry in Ruins

Ian Perks runs a huge fish export company in Devon. Recently, the massive piles of paperwork have left him in a really difficult situation.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Will Bitcoin Be the Currency of the Future? – Inside Story

It's bitcoin season again. The time of year when the world's most famous and least understood currency explodes in value - seemingly for no reason.

In March last year, a single bitcoin was worth $5,000. In December, it hit $20,000 for the first time. As we came into the new year, $30,000. And just days later, it's now $40,000.

It has those already on the Bitcoin train guessing at where it goes next. So exactly what is driving this increase? And could Bitcoin be a new safe haven?

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Should the World Embrace Cryptocurrencies? | Inside Story

For the first time ever, America's oldest bank, BNY Mellon says it's planning to offer some cryptocurrency services.

That's good news for digital currencies like Bitocoin - which has been soaring to all time-highs.

While investing in it can be a rollercoaster ride that comes with many risks, that hasn't stopped the Chief Executive of Tesla, Elon Musk, from purchasing a $1.5 billion stake in it. Tesla is also now expected to accept the virtual money as a form of payment.

That and BNY Mellon's decision to allow cryptocurrencies in its services, has seen a boost for digital assets.

Bitcoin's Market Value Exceeds $1tn after Price Soars

THE GUARDIAN: Cryptocurrency heading for a weekly gain of 14% and up by 60% in February

Bitcoin hit a new high on Friday, giving it a market value of more than $1tn for the first time.

Bitcoin rose 6.4% during trading on Friday to reach an all-time high above $55,000, and was on track for a weekly gain of about 14%.

The surge took its market capitalisation – the value of all bitcoin in circulation – to more than $1tn, according to the data website CoinMarketCap.

On Wednesday, bitcoin burst through the $50,000 mark for the first time, as it continued to attract interest from mainstream investors and acceptance from financial /> » | Joanna Partridge | Friday, February 19, 2021

Cryptocurrencies Rise in Popularity in World's Conflict Zones

THE GUARDIAN: Libya, Palestine and Syria near top in online searches for bitcoin and other digital forms of money, analysis finds

People in the world’s major conflict zones are turning to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as soaring values and the backing of super-rich investors make them more attractive.

Online searches for bitcoin, ethereum and dogecoin have increased in Libya, Syria and Palestine, pushing aside the usual focus of interest in stock markets and safe-haven investments in gold and property.

Publicity surrounding the new breed of digital currencies has spread across the world since the pandemic struck and meant users have also looked to them as a way to borrow when banks have become reluctant to lend money.
» | Phillip Inman | Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Biden's America against Xi's China: Struggle for Supremacy? | To the Point

Who can stop China's surge to global dominance? It's one huge question, and one huge challenge, that the new US president, Joe Biden, is already facing. Biden has inherited a divided and doubt-ridden America from his predecessor Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Xi Jinping 's China is both expansive and authoritarian. It's two rival systems apparently on collision course. So, on "To the Point" we ask: Biden's America against Xi's China: Struggle for supremacy?

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Margaret Thatcher - Speech to the College of Europe ("The Bruges Speech") [1988]

In this impressive speech in Bruges, Margaret Thatcher spoke strongly in favour of the Single Market. Indeed, the Single Market was Thatcher’s baby. Today’s Conservatives under BoJo have betrayed Thatcher’s legacy. Whilst Maggie was anti-federalism, she was certainly pro-European free trade; and she was certainly very much against erecting barriers to European free trade, which Brexit does. All I can say is this: Thatcher must be turning in her grave! All her hard work has gone up in smoke. – ©Mark Alexander

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Fury at Gove as Exports to EU Slashed by 68% since Brexit

THE OBSERVER: Hauliers say Cabinet Office minister ignored warnings, amid fears that worse is to come with introduction of import checks in July

The volume of exports going through British ports to the EU fell by a staggering 68% last month compared with January last year, mostly as a result of problems caused by Brexit, the Observer can reveal.

The dramatic drop in the volume of traffic carried on ferries and through the Channel tunnel has been reported to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove by the Road Haulage Association after a survey of its international members. In a letter to Gove dated 1 February, the RHA’s chief executive, Richard Burnett, also told the minister he and his officials had repeatedly warned over several months of problems and called for measures to lessen difficulties – but had been largely ignored.

In particular he had made clear throughout last year there was an urgent need to increase the number of customs agents to help firms with mountains of extra paperwork. The number now, around 10,000, is still about a fifth of what the RHA says is required to handle the massive increase in paperwork facing exporters. » | Toby Helm | Saturday, February 6, 2021

Thursday, 4 February 2021

UK Banks Given Six Months to Prepare for Negative Interest Rates

THE GUARDIAN: Bank of England’s monetary policy committee votes to keep rate at 0.1% but gives banks six-month deadline

The Bank of England took a step closer to introducing negative interest rates for the first time on Thursday, after it gave lenders six months to prepare for such a move.

Threadneedle Street’s monetary policy committee (MPC) voted unanimously to keep the official interest rate at historically low levels while it agreed to set the deadline for banks to prepare themselves after policymakers said they were ready to make negative lending rates part of their toolkit.

According to the minutes of the MPC meeting, officials were split over asking lenders to put in place the measures needed to facilitate negative rates on loans and mortgages, with some fearing it would signal to investors that the central bank planned to move ahead in the next few months. » | Phillip Inman | Thursday, February 4, 2021

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon Chief Executive

BBC: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is to step down as chief executive of the e-commerce giant that he founded in his garage nearly 30 years ago.

He will become executive chairman, a move he said would give him "time and energy" to focus on his other ventures.

Mr Bezos, the world's richest man, will be replaced by Andy Jassy, who currently leads Amazon's cloud computing business.

The change will take place in the second half of 2021, the company said.

"Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it's consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it's hard to put attention on anything else," Mr Bezos said in an [sic] letter to Amazon staff on Tuesday.

"As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions."

"I've never had more energy, and this isn't about retiring. I'm super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have," he added. » | BBC | Tuesday, February 2, 2021