UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from The Great Debate:

Where does Britain stand in the global economic race?

Following the international financial crisis of the late 2000s, the world’s financial leaders have been working towards a standardized banking system that will strengthen banks at an individual level, and thus improve the banking sector’s ability to survive stress when it occurs.

In 2010 the Basel Committee produced a third accord outlining a set of regulations, with the goal of solving the banking system's ongoing problems. Since then the conversation has yet to cease over whether enough has been done, since the peak of the crisis in 2008, to ensure a stable financial environment that supports growth on an international scale.

The importance of Basel III lies not only on an inter-continental scale, but for individual countries to maintain the required standard regulations to a point of sustainability. In Europe, the debate over the role Britain will play in Basel III has yet to be resolved. During early Basel III discussions in May 2012, Michel Barnier, the French European commissioner for financial regulation, clashed with British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne over the suggestion of higher leverage ratios in the UK, stating that a distortion of competition within the EU had the potential to cause a continental disadvantage.

In recent times the political context surrounding Basel III has not dwindled. In the Autumn Statement released on December 5 2013, Osborne revealed that "Britain is currently growing faster than any other major advanced economy." As it stands Britain’s rate of recovery, in comparison to that of other EU members and the U.S., puts the country at risk of greater pressure to conform to the standardized regulations proposed in the Basel III accord. For Britain there is a better hope of financial prosperity and continued development in strengthening relations with China. Prime Minister David Cameron cemented that this is indeed the case during his December meetings in China, a country whose own role within Basel III is similarly undetermined. The chancellor noted:

from Breakingviews:

Britain can gain from China’s empire builders

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By John Foley

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Britain once had nothing to offer China but silver and opium. Now it has holidays, banks and building sites. George Osborne, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, and London’s mayor Boris Johnson are using visits to Beijing to say just how welcoming the UK is likely to be. It’s a triumph of openness, and provided the UK chooses its partners carefully and the Chinese are tactful, both sides will benefit.

from The Great Debate:

China’s commitment to growth will drive the global economy

From outside China, the Bo Xilai trial looks like the Chinese news event of the year, one of the preoccupations of Western media, along with corporate corruption and the clampdown on American and European companies. Yet these issues are no more than sideshows to the most important economic event of recent times, the unveiling and ratification of a major program for reforms for the next decade, which will occur at the Chinese government’s third plenum in November. The reforms promise to bring another great leap forward in China's dramatic ascent.

Chinese officials will reveal how long China will need to make the transition from an investment-led, middle-income country to an innovative, consumer-driven, high-income one -- and thus when it will become the world's largest economy. Can China circumvent what we know as "the middle-income trap" that has for decades denied high-income status for Latin America and Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand?

from Breakingviews:

China makes an uneasy saviour for Europe

By John Foley
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

HONG KONG -- Expectations that China will help fix the euro zone are writ large as Wen Jiabao, the premier, visits Hungary, Britain and Germany. No wonder: the single currency aids Chinese exports, and buying periphery debt may help win friends on other issues. While China appears to have much to gain, the support isn't wholly likeable from Europe's perspective.

from MacroScope:

Some good econ reads from the Blogosphere

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From the econ blogosphere:

UK BUDGET
-- The libertarian Adam Smith Institute says here that the UK government should look at every government job, programme and department, and ask whether they are really needed. "Do we really need new school buildings....? Should taxpayers really stump up for free bus passes, or winter fuel and Chistmas bonuses for wealthy pensioners?"

CHINESE FX
-- VOX publishes this post from senior research fellow Willem Thorbecke of the Asian Development Bank on China's latest move on the dollar peg. "China's action may facilitate a concerted appreciation in Factory Asia, helping the region redirect production away from western markets and towards domestic consumers."

Britain sows seeds of change at world trade fair

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Expo2

How do you persuade 70 million Chinese that Britain is a modern, dynamic economy rather than a fog-bound heritage park filled with characters from a Dickens novel?

That’s the challenge that faced the design team behind the British pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010, the huge international trade show that opens in May.

from MacroScope:

Instant View Video: Rebalancing global trade

Reuters correspondent Sumeet Desai talks about the G20 draft communique and what it means for rebalancing the world's economy.

from Events:

Paris Air Show: Europe, when will you reach the stars?

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-Maria Sheahan is a Reuters senior correspondent in Frankfurt.-

So far, Europe has left it up to the United States, Russia and China to send people into space. But almost 50 years after Russia's Yuri Gagarin made his first orbit around the earth, it's about time that Europe finally enter the playing field, some say.

"Europe cannot stay out of manned (space) flight forever," EADS unit Astrium Space Transportation's CEO Alain Charmeau said at the Paris Air Show. Europe has its own space agency, ESA; it has its own module on the International Space Station; and it has sent its astronauts into space as passengers on the spacecraft of others.

Should Britain boycott the Olympics over Tibet?

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tibet.jpgThe idea of a boycott of this Summer’s Beijing Olympics in protest at the handling of events in Tibet is not yet an official policy of any government or major human rights organization.

But actor Richard Gere, chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, has told Reuters he believes it would be “unconscionable” to attend the Games if China fails to deal with  peacefully with the latest unrest.

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