Nearly half a million UK firms facing ‘significant’ financial distress

Thousands of businesses across sectors need to find ways to cut costs to survive beyond 12 months, warns insolvency specialist

Almost half a million UK businesses have started 2018 in significant financial distress, according to insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor.

In its latest “red flag alert” Begbies said firms across all UK regions and sectors were affected as the new year got underway, as the whole economy felt the effects of higher inflation, rising interest rates, growing business uncertainty, and weaker consumer spending.

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Does London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Brexit report stack up?

No-deal forecast of losses of 500,000 jobs and nearly £50bn in investment is circumspect, but still makes a lot of assumptions

Related: Brexit: UK could lose half a million jobs with no deal, says Sadiq Khan

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Brexit: UK could lose half a million jobs with no deal, says Sadiq Khan

Analysis commissioned by London mayor predicts ‘lost decade’ of slump and lower employment with hard Brexit

A no-deal Brexit could cause the UK to lose half a million jobs and nearly £50bn in investment by 2030, according to an economic forecast commissioned by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

The report, which models five possible scenarios for leaving the EU ranging from a near-status quo situation to leaving on World Trade Organisation terms without any transition agreement, warns that the worst option could be a “lost decade” of economic slump.

Staying in the single market and customs union

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World Bank issues warnings on interest rates and inflation

After better than expected growth in the global economy, Bank says financial markets are vulnerable to unforeseen negative news

Financial markets are complacent about the risks of sharply higher interest rates that could be triggered by better than expected growth in the global economy this year, the World Bank has warned.

The Washington-based organisation said that much of the rich west was running at full capacity as a result of a broad-based upswing in activity, but were now vulnerable to a period of rising inflation that would prompt action from central banks.

Inflation is when prices rise. Deflation is the opposite – price decreases over time – but inflation is far more common.

Lenders have already bumped up the cost of fixed rate mortgages ahead of the Bank of England’s decision to raise base rate from 0.25% to 0.5%, and mortgage borrowers on tracker and variable rates will see their monthly payments become more expensive in the coming days. ​

Related: A record-breaking year – the global economy in 10 charts

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Dow and FTSE hit record highs as global stock market surges continue

US jobs report boosts Wall Street, services lift UK shares and Japan’s Nikkei rises to 26-year high as as equity markets rally around the world

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has gone above the 25,000 mark for the first time, on another day of surging share prices on stock markets across the US, Europe and Asia.

In the UK the FTSE 100 closed at a record high on Thursday, tracking gains for equity markets around the world on a day when Japanese shares hit the highest level in 26 years.

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Bankers work around the clock to iron out EU finance reforms

New MiFID II rules seek to apply lessons from financial crisis and aim to force banks to report details of trillions of euros in transactions

Bankers will work through the night to iron out last-minute hitches before Wednesday’s launch of a major change to European Union financial markets that aims to apply lessons from the financial crisis nearly a decade ago.

The new rules are already a year late due to their complexity, with regulators having to issue 11th-hour guidance to banks and financial firms to avoid freezing up trades as well as calming nerves of those not yet fully compliant.

Related: Complacent regulators have two years to prevent a financial crash

Related: Financial markets could be over-heating, warns central bank body

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A record-breaking year – the global economy in 10 charts

A stock market boom, a bitcoin bubble, trade indices at recent highs, a low fear factor, even eurozone GDP is rising. But 2017 hasn’t been all good
• The most-read business stories of 2017

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Complacent regulators have two years to prevent a financial crash

Outside Brexit Britain, the view looks rosy and borrowing is being pushed to new highs. What could go wrong? Almost everything

There is a complacency in the air as we stumble into 2018. Global economic forecasts are coated with sugar. Stock markets keep heading skywards and borrowing is at an all-time high. Brexit may be a brick through the window of the UK’s economic outlook, but for the rest of the developed world, the view is decidedly rosy.

Such is the exuberance among those with plenty of spare cash that there is a return of borrowing with the sole purpose of betting on stock market gains. To this end, investors are using any asset to hand – their house, their pension or their deposit savings – to get a boost from the alpha funds that promise stellar returns. Bitcoin is another feature of this relaxed attitude to risk. Who needs safety nets when there is no prospect of a fall? It’s not hard to see why the picture looks so rosy and why it is likely to conclude with an ugly denouement.

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