- Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch
Good morning! Here’s what you need to know on Friday.
1. Angela Merkel gave her strongest signal yet that she is prepared to engage with France in major discussions about reforming the EU, saying there was a “high degree” of consensus between Europe’s two biggest countries, the FT reports. The German chancellor said a sweeping speech by French president Emmanuel Macron this week had set “important building blocks” for EU negotiations to come.
2. The EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit has said that Theresa May has injected a “new dynamic” into exit negotiations, but warned that obstacles remain before Brussels agrees to start crucial discussions on transition, the FT reports. Both Michel Barnier, and David Davis, his UK counterpart, hailed progress in the latest round of negotiations in the wake of the British prime minister’s conciliatory speech in Florence last week.
3. The Bank of England has limited power to prevent the painful economic adjustments that will come as a result of Brexit, Governor Mark Carney said on Thursday morning. Speaking at the bank’s “Independence: 20 Years On” conference to mark the beginning of its independence in 1997, Carney said senior policymakers do not have “omnipotence” and cannot completely offset any economic hardship caused by Brexit.
4. BT could be forced to stump up an extra £2 billion over the next two years to reduce its growing pension deficit, posing a cashflow problem for the telecom group, a leading credit rating agency has warned according to the Times.Moody’s said that the extra cash needed to plug the gap in its pension fund – Britain’s largest private sector scheme – would have a negative impact on the group’s overall credit rating, which has already been cut repeatedly.
5. The British manufacturer Brompton has embarked on an unprecedented recall of nearly 150,000 of its folding bikes over concerns about faulty axles, the Guardian reports. The London-based company said 144,000 bikes made between April 2014 and May 2017 were affected by the voluntary recall.
6. Theresa May has criticised Transport for London’s decision not to renew Uber’s operating licence in London as “disproportionate,” in a step that will hamper the transport body’s efforts to wring concessions from the ride-hailing service, the FT reports. The prime minister was speaking in a TV clip recorded ahead of the start of the Conservative party conference in Manchester on Sunday.
7. Insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London warned on Thursday that early estimates suggest the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could cost it $4.5 billion (£3.3 billion). The warning came as Lloyd’s pre-tax profits fell by 16% to £1.22 billion for the first half of the year: That period had a relatively low level of natural disasters, suggesting the second half of 2017 could be even tougher.
8. Pension trustees at Carillion, the crisis-hit construction group, have called in the world’s largest audit firm to advise them amid a massive financial restructuring. Sky News reports that the trustees are working with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on options to safeguard members’ interests, even as Carillion’s pension deficit soars to nearly £600 million.
9. The head of the UK’s aviation regulator has told Sky News that he takes a promise by Ryanair to meet its obligations over mass flight cancellations “with a pinch of salt,” Sky News reports. Andrew Haines, the chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said he was “furious” with the no-frills carrier – accusing it of appearing to show “disregard for consumers and for the law.’
10. Japan’s Nikkei share average edged down on Friday but was on track for a solid monthly gain, buoyed by a weaker yen, Reuters reports. The Nikkei was down 0.19% at 20,325 points at 6.53 a.m. BST (1.54 a.m. ET), marginally up on the week.