Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our twitter page for regular posts of important headlines. Click on the links for full stories.
Opinion articles of the week:
The International Monetary Fund has warned against a Brexit, claiming it would dent the UK’s economic growth prospects. Click here for more.
Some analysts are arguing that emerging market banks are expanding too rapidly and this bubble of growth is bound to burst. Click here for the debate about lending trends in emerging markets.
Oil prices have been crashing in recent months but some analysts believe that the electric car will be the death of the oil markets. Click here for the debate.
1. PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of intense negotiations. The pact is the first to commit all countries to cut carbon emissions. The agreement is partly legally binding and partly voluntary. (BBC News)
Scientist James Hansen is a strong critic of the agreement and claims It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises,” and “As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.” Click here for some criticisms of the agreement.
2. DOW AND DUPOINT MERGER
US chemical giants Dow Chemical and DuPont have announced a plan to merge, in a deal valuing them at $130bn (£86bn). The all-share deal will eventually lead to the merged company, initially to be called DowDuPont, being split in three. The three companies would focus on agriculture, materials and speciality products. (BBC News)
For more information on the deal and the anti-trust issues involved, have a look at Bloomberg’s article on the deal.
3. OIL PRICES
The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the US benchmark price, fell to as low as $35.19 a barrel. On Friday alone the commodity lost more than 4% and is now at the lowest price in over seven years as the commodity continues to get hammered. Since last year the price of crude is down about 40% and since hitting a peak of around $110 in June 2014, WTI is off nearly 70%. (Business Insider)
This is good news for consumers as Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have cut the petrol price below £1 a litre, the lowest UK price level since 2009. (BBC News)
Oil investors however have lost $240 billion due to falling prices and following OPEC’s decision last week not to limit oil production. (Bloomberg)
4. SUPERMARKET TRENDS
Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-biggest supermarket, dropped out of the FTSE 100 index of shares this week. This news was not unexpected though as sales fell 2.6% in the three months to November. A key reason for Morrison’s downfall is the rise of Aldi and Lidl. Both supermarkets combined recently reached 10% of the market share, up from 5% in 2012. Aldi however, who opened its 600th store in October and aims to have 1,000 by 2022. Many analysts believe that Tesco and Sainsubry’s in particular could face a similar fate. (The Economist)
Tesco have already been facing financial difficulties following falling sales figures exacerbated by an accounting scandal in 2014. Earlier this year it shelved plans to open 49 UK stores and sold off its South Korean arm. Furthermore, this week, Tesco’s share price fell to an 18 year low. (City A.M)
5. CYBER ATTACKS
The U.K.’s biggest banks fear cyber-attacks more than regulation, faltering economic growth and other potential risks, and are concerned that a hack could be so catastrophic that it could lead to a state rescue, according to a survey. Cyber-crime topped a list of 24 possible risks in a study of 113 U.K. bankers, observers and risk regulators, published on Tuesday. (Bloomberg)
City A.M have compiled a list of the worst 10 cyber hacks of 2015.
6. FORD ELECTRIC INVESTMENT
On Thursday Ford announced plans to invest an additional $4.5 billion by 2020 in programs to broaden its offerings of hybrids and electric vehicles. Ford also plans to add 13 new plug-in hybrid, hybrid or electric vehicles to its lineup by 2020, moving to more than 40 percent the share of the company’s vehicle lines that will be electrified. (Reuters)
7. TOBACCO FIRMS CHALLENGE PACKINGING LAWS
Four of the world’s biggest tobacco firms have begun a legal challenge to the government’s new packaging rules. The regulations will ban companies from using any logos or branding on packets of tobacco products from May 2016.
Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International say it will unlawfully take away their trademark intellectual property. The four major tobacco companies argue the regulations will destroy their highly-valuable property rights and render products indistinguishable from each other. (BBC News)
8. DISNEY INCREASES STAKE IN VICE
Walt Disney is doubling its stake in youth-focused digital media company Vice Media to $400 million, a source familiar with the matter said. The deal will boost Disney’s stake in Vice to about 10 percent and values the company at more than $4 billion, the source said. (Business Insider)
9. RBS CUSTOMER ACCOUNT GLITCH
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is facing fresh controversy after it was revealed to have concealed inactive bank accounts from thousands of customers. RBS said last the weekend that it had errantly told 4,500 customers who had asked for their money in inactive accounts that their savings were not held at the bank. (City A.M)
10. TOSHIBA FINE
Japanese technology giant Toshiba could be slapped with a fine of 7.37bn yen (£40m) for false statements about its profits. The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) today made a recommendation for the fine to the Financial Services Agency (FSA). (City A.M)