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Highlights Of The Year 2018

Here are our picks of the business news and highlights of the year 2018:


- 2018 was a year of continued growth in the economy with the UK stockmarket reaching all time highs during the course of the year.

- London continues to promote itself as a hub for tech startups, particularly in the Fintech sector which has seen rapid growth in 2018.

- Strong demand for IT contractors in London as demand exceeds supply for skilled technical positions.

- Uncertainty over Brexit negotiations has impacted confidence in the UK economy with the Pound showing a gradual decline against the Euro and the US Dollar.

- The England football team reached the semi finals of the 2018 World Cup and contributed to a feel good factor in the UK over the summer.

- London house prices have shown signs of cooling as a result of the Chancellor’s attack on landlords over recent years. Houses over £2m have been most affected due to the sharp rise in stamp duty.

- GDPR became effective in May 2018 regarding the use of customers personal data.

- The Bank of England raised UK interest rates from 0.5% to 0.75%.

- The Pound finished the year down from 1.13 to 1.11 against the Euro.

- The Pound finished the year down from 1.35 to 1.27 against the US Dollar.

- The FTSE100 finished the year down from 7,698 to 6,728 having reached an all time high during 2018.

- Bitcoin finished the year at $3,700 having reached a peak of $20,000 in December 2017.


December 2018

- UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a vote of no confidence after her controversial Brexit proposal split the Conservative Party. The Northern Ireland backstop arrangement being one of the most contentious items.

- Trade tensions between the US and China have continued to impact the markets, with a number of US and Chinese stocks dropping by more than 5% in December.

- Bitcoin price continues to plummet to $3,500.


November 2018

- The 2018 Autumn Budget announced that the IR35 rules will be extended to the private sector from 2020.

- Amazon increases the minimum wage for its staff in the UK to £9.50.

- JP Morgan announces a budget of $10 billion to be invested in technology over the next 12 months.

- Bitcoin price falls below $6,000. Market cap reduced to less than $100 billion.

- Microsoft overtook Apple to become the world’s largest company by market cap for a short time before dropping back to second.


October 2018

- Recreational Marijuana will become fully legal in Canada on 17 October 2018.

- Unilever scraps plans to move its headquarters to the Netherlands due to opposition from UK investors.

- Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has been fined $20 million by the SEC after falsely announcing plans to take Tesla private on Twitter.

- The FCA fined Tesco Bank a record £16m for failing to protect customer data from a Cyberattack.

- Peer to Peer lender Funding Circle saw its shares drop 21% shortly after its IPO on the London Stock Exchange.



September 2018

- London Crossrail project delayed till Autumn 2019 due to system integration issues.

- The Federal Reserve announced that it will raise interest rates by 0.25% to a range of 2.00%-2.25% and is expecting to make a further rate rise later in the year.

- Apple market cap reaches $1 Trillion.

- The New Zealand government has banned the sale of existing houses to overseas buyers to preserve home ownership in the country.

- Facebook fined £500,000 by the Information Commissioners Office for failing to secure its users’ data following the data breach at Cambridge Analytica.


August 2018

- The Bank of England announced that UK interest rates will rise from 0.5% to 0.75%. This is the second rate increase in 12 months. The last rate increase took place in November 2017 where interest rates were increased from 0.25% to 0.5%.

- House of Fraser to close 31 retail outlets in 2019 including its flagship store in Oxford Street in order to reduce costs.

- Sterling fell to its lowest levels against the Euro and US dollar for approximately a year, most likely due to Brexit uncertainty.

- Apple, the world’s biggest company, becomes the first company to reach a valuation of $1 trillion.

- Coca Cola offer $3.9bn to buy Costa Coffee from Whitbread.


July 2018

- John Lewis and Debenhams announce weak trading results, impacted by a slow Christmas.

- Boris Johnson resigns from the Conservative Party following disagreement over Brexit policy not being “hard enough”.

- Donald Trump has sparked a potential trade war between the US and China with both sides threatening to impose trade tariffs on certain imports from the other country.

- Comcast and 21st Century Fox enter into a bidding war to acquire Sky.

- The Gaucho restaurant group falls into administration.

- Shareholders are protesting at plans by Unilever to relocate its headquarters from the UK to the Netherlands.

- Japanese pharma company Takeda announced a takeover bid of $62 billion for Shire Pharmaceuticals.


June 2018

- The value of Global Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the first half of 2018 reached $2.5 trillion, up 65% against prior year.

- Sainsbury’s announces intention to acquire Asda.

- Retailers Waitrose and House of Fraser are in financial difficulty. Waitrose will close a number of stores in the UK whilst House of Fraser will appoint administrators.

- Google was fined $5 billion by the EU for anti competitive practises over the use of its search engine to provide preferential placement of own products on Android devices.


May 2018

- The European GDPR rules became effective in May 2018 and require companies to obtain consent from users in order to use and store their data.

- The Bank of England indicates that interest rates will remain unchanged in 2018. Berenberg bank indicates that interest rates in Europe will remain low for another 10 years.

- A major IT failure at TSB left customers without access to their bank accounts.

- London house prices have shown signs of cooling as a result of the Chancellors attack on landlords over recent years. Houses over £2m have been most affected due to the sharp rise in stamp duty announced in the Autumn Statement.

- Australian company Wesfarmers sold Homebase to Hilco for £1 and crystallised a loss of £1 billion. Homebase was acquired from Argos for £340m and suffered £660m in write downs and losses.

- The US Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting. The judgement opens the way for sports betting to be legalised across the US.


April 2018

- The US announced a new round of sanctions against Russian individuals and firms.

- Martin Sorrell resigns as CEO of WPP after 33 years.


March 2018

- Consulting firm Cambridge Analytica received significant press coverage over allegations that it used Facebook data to profile voters and influence the Trump 2016 campaign.


February 2018

- The Bank of England signals that interest rates will rise earlier than anticipated.

- The prospect of rising interest rates in the US leads to a global fall in stocks across the globe.

- The value of Crypto currencies drops sharply after lengthy bull run.


January 2018

- UK consumer spending falls in January 2018 for the first time in 5 years according to report by Visa.

- From 1 January 2018 banks will be required to open access to customer data to third parties through their application program interfaces (API’s) under new EU regulations.  This will generate a market for account aggregators in 2018.

- Taxes will be introduced in the Middle East from 1 January 2018 with the introduction of VAT in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

- Recreational marijuana is to be legalised in America. The state of California will legalise from 1 January 2018.

- Debenhams released a profit warning due to lower than expected results over Christmas.

- Construction group Carillion falls into liquidation. The public sector contractor was impacted by cost overruns on a number of contracts in the UK and the Middle East and built up debts of over £900m. Carillion employs 20,000 staff in the UK, with a total workforce of 43,000 globally.

- Corporation tax in the US reduced from 35% to 21% in December 2017. This is expected to increase spending power in the US.

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