- Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
Good Morning! Here’s what you need to know on Thursday.
1. The European Central Bank is set to cut back on its bond-buying stimulus and take the biggest step yet in unwinding years of loose monetary policy. The central bank, however, is still concerned about low inflation and is expected to accompany the tapering with an extension of the stimulus in a “less-but-for-longer” move. The ECB’s decisions will be announced at 12.45 p.m. BST (7.45 a.m. ET) followed by a press conference with President Mario Draghi 45 minutes later.
2. British retail employment suffered a record decline in the third quarter of 2017. Hours worked in UK retail fell by 4.2% compared with the same quarter a year ago, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The decline is an acceleration from a 3.3% fall in the second quarter and the steepest fall since the BRC began measuring employment in 2008.
3. The banking sector contributed £35.4 billion to the public purse in 2016/17, up from £34.2 billion last year, according to a report commissioned by UK Finance and based on auditor PwC’s analysis of 36 banks. Overall, 47.6% of the surveyed banks’ profits were paid in taxes. Taxes collected were boosted by the introduction in 2016 of the banking surcharge, as well as an increase in corporation tax.
4. Uncertainty is growing within central London’s commercial property market, with nearly three-quarters of respondents in a new survey suggesting the market is heading towards a downturn. 73% of surveyors responding to RICS’ quarterly UK Commercial Market Survey said the central London market was at some stage of a downturn, while 67% of respondents said the market is overpriced.
5. The Bank of Canada held its key interest rate at 1.00% on Wednesday, as expected. “This less aggressive stance on interest rates partly reflects concerns over NAFTA renegotiations and, to a lesser extent, the stronger Canadian dollar,” David Madani, senior Canadian economist at Capital Economics, said.
6. A market-wide selloff whacked tech stocks on Wednesday amid a mixed bag of earnings and mounting political uncertainty. The damage spread to the so-called FANG group – consisting of Facebook, Amazon, Netflixand Google – sending it down as much as 1.3% intraday and providing a troubling omen just one day before a crucial period of tech earnings was set to kick off.
7. Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange aspires to be the exclusive venue for the listing of Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering, the exchange’s Chief Executive Officer Khalid al-Hussan said on Thursday. The exchange, known as Tadawul, is working hard to convince Aramco of the merits of such a move, but the company had not yet made a decision, al-Hussan said.
8. President Donald Trump appeared to solicit suggestions for the next Federal Reserve Chair during an interview with Fox Business host Lou Dobbs on Wednesday. “Do you have a preference, out of curiosity,” Trump asked after Dobbs began speaking about the position. “Tell me who your preference is.”
9. New York City has surpassed San Francisco as the region whose startups attract the most venture capital money, thanks in large part to a mega-round of funding scooped up by co-working company WeWork. VCs invested $4.227 billion in NYC companies over the third quarter of 2017, compared to $4.177 billion in funding for companies in San Francisco and the North Bay Area. These numbers come from the recently released Q3 2017 MoneyTree Report from PwC and CB Insights.
10. Britain’s economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter of 2017, according to a preliminary estimate released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday. GDP grew by 0.4%, the ONS said, while annual growth was 1.5%. Prior to the release economists had forecast 0.3% growth, in line with growth in the second quarter of the year, but the data shows a small acceleration from the previous quarter.
And finally … Business Insider is looking for nominations for the hottest young talents in British finance right now. If you, or anyone you know, is making waves in the City of London (or anywhere else in the UK) and is under 31, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch on social media, or email: email@example.com.