Highlights Of The Year 2018
Monday, December 31, 2018
Belsize Accountancy in 2018 Budget, Interest Rates, Technology, UK Contractors, UK Limited Company Contractors

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

Summary

- 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.

Article originally appeared on Belsize Accountancy (http://belsizeaccountancy.co.uk/).
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