Infrastructure dream grounded by Heathrow reality

October 25, 2016

Britain has finally agreed to add a runway to London’s main airport. Even now, the plan may yet founder. Western democracies face challenges when launching big projects. The benefits of a renewed splurge of infrastructure spending will take decades to materialise.

BAT heaps $47 bln of peer pressure on Reynolds

October 21, 2016

The UK tobacco giant has offered a near 20-pct premium for the 58 pct of the U.S.-based Camel-maker it doesn't own. It's opportunistic - Reynolds just named a new boss, and has disappointed investors. Still, the logic of uniting the two is as hard to resist as a Newport menthol.

Defiant losers are becoming a costly problem

October 20, 2016

Pro-EU campaigners and Britons who live near airports have challenged the will of the majority. Donald Trump may not accept U.S. election results. In finance, companies regularly face and resolve such insurrections. Solutions are similar in politics, but harder to implement.

Inflation shows up at wrong time for Mark Carney

October 18, 2016

UK consumer prices are rising at their fastest pace in nearly two years. It should be a proud moment for the Bank of England chief, who has been struggling to achieve exactly this. Unfortunately, the pound’s fall is going to give him a bit too much of what he wanted.

RBS’s Russian goof sets tone for UK state meddling

October 18, 2016

The UK lender is reviewing a decision to stop banking a supplier of Russian broadcaster RT. It could just be a business matter, but RBS’s 73 pct state holding makes it seem political. If a post-EU Britain is heading for more use of subsidies, such confusion will recur.

UK property didn’t get the “hard Brexit” memo

October 17, 2016

Real estate funds that froze after the UK vote are opening, and prices have stabilised. Yet rents could collapse if Britain makes a clean break with the EU, and foreign investors may not ride to the rescue. Property stocks pricing in 20-percent price falls aren't cheap.

Breakdown: The dismal art of forecasting sterling

October 14, 2016

Most economists agree the pound has further to fall, but there is a wide range of views on how far. Long-term forecasts are an unfortunate necessity, but they are stab in the dark when it comes to a currency that is more in the thrall of politics than economics.

from Viewsroom:

Viewsroom: Samsung’s fiery future

October 13, 2016

Cancelling production of its self-combusting Note 7 smartphone puts the company's reputation as well as $17 bln or more at risk. Cities, businesses and investors are putting Trump and Clinton to shame on climate change. Plus: Brexit politics get shaken up by the pound's decline.

British retailers have leverage over Unilever

October 13, 2016

The maker of Dove soap wants supermarkets like Tesco to pay more for its goods as the pound weakens. They can’t easily pass that cost on to shoppers. Grocers have two reasons to play tough: Unilever's 15 pct operating margin, and their access to the consumer.

Hadas: May offers British-style Great Leap Forward

October 7, 2016

The UK prime minister's "quiet revolution" won't rival Mao Zedong's original in tragedy, but her mix of autocratic politics, nationalistic hope and economic nonsense is eerily reminiscent. A Brexit that offers less free trade and more xenophobia is a recipe for economic decline.