Stock markets have retreated again over worries of further US interest rate rises after the Federal Reserve defied Donald Trump to increase rates for the fourth time this year.

The EU has confirmed it is “actively investigating” a potential breach of its diplomatic communications network, following reports that secret cables had been stolen by hackers.

The Bank of England has welcomed a “crucial and positive” move by the EU to help keep a key part of the financial system functioning in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

A handful of banks will be forced to write multimillion pound cheques to buy shares in the construction giant Kier Group after some of its biggest investors snubbed the chance to take part in a £250m fundraising.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to merge its consumer healthcare unit with that of rival Pfizer, to create a new market leader with almost £10bn in annual sales.

 

Santander has been fined more than £30m for “serious failings” in processing the accounts of dead customers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says.

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Britain signs trade deal with Switzerland

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The UK has signed an agreement with Switzerland which ensures that the trading relationship between the two nations will continue after Brexit

A deal between the countries was announced in December and ratified in Bern, Switzerland. It will replicate current trading arrangements “as far as possible,” stated the government when it was revealed. But ministers remain under pressure to strike further deals before Britain leaves the European Union.

“Switzerland is one of the most valuable trading partners that we are seeking continuity for, accounting for more than 32 billion pounds worth of trade a year,” Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox said in a statement.

“This is of huge economic importance to UK businesses, so I’m delighted to be here in Bern today, ensuring continuity for 15,000 British exporters,” he added.

As a member of the EU, the UK  benefits from the EU’s trade deals with other nations. It will however, lose those deals in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Switzerland is not a member of the EU but it part of its single market.

On Sunday, the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) stated that the government’s failure to secure other continuity of trade deals was an “emergency.”

“The prospect is the day after Brexit those deals will disappear,” Carolyn Fairbairn told Sky News.

The development marks a temporary victory for British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is battling to pass her withdrawal agreement with the EU through Parliament.

May wrote Sunday to opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, with whom she has talked since her agreement was emphatically defeated in the House of Commons last month. She revealed Parliament will play a bigger role in directing negotiations with the EU.

“We intend to give Parliament a bigger say in the mandate for the next phase of the negotiations to address concerns that… MPs cannot be sure precisely what future relationship it would lead to,” May wrote.

She also stated that she hoped to have further discussions with Labour over the “alternative arrangements” to the backstop to the Northern Irish border that she is seeking to secure with EU leaders.

But she again rejected Corbyn’s calls for Britain to remain in the customs union after Brexit, arguing it would diminish the country’s ability to strike trade deals.

“I am not clear why you believe it would be preferable to seek a say in future EU trade deals rather than the ability to strike our own deals?” she wrote.

If no new deal has been reached with the EU by Wednesday, May will make a statement to Parliament that day, and table a motion for debate Thursday.

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