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.

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China’s Evergrande becomes world’s most valuable property brand

The brand’s value doubled over the last year to $16.2bn, according to a new report by Brand Finance.

Brand Finance is a London-based brand valuation consultancy that evaluated the world’s 25 most valuable brands of 2018. Chinese property heavyweight, Evergrande came out at the top.

Chinese real estate brands accounted for nine of the world’s top 10 most valuable brands in the research.

Evergrande is China’s second-largest property developer as well as the owner of the Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Club, which won both the Chinese FA Super Cup and the Chinese Super League championship last season.

Along with becoming the most valuable real estate brand in the world, Evergrande also emerged as the fastest-growing brand in the list last year– with 118% increase in its brand value.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, stated: “Evergrande’s superb results can be attributed to fruitful net profits over the past year, a credit to the company’s tactical cost cutting, delivering properties of a larger square footage area and in turn generating higher sales.”

Other fast-growing brands included Longfor Properties (up 78% to $4.8bn), China Merchants Shekou (up 67% to $1.3bn), and Sun Hung Kai Properties (up 60% to $3.9bn), even though each grew from a lower base.

Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties fell significantly by 8% to $7.8bn, losing the number one ranking and dropping to third. This change of fortune coincided with the brand’s movement away from property development toward a focus on alternative business opportunities.

“The global property market has endured cycles of boom and bust, and the Chinese property market is unlikely to be substantially different in the future,” Haigh stated, “Evergrande is posed to ride the surge, but Dalian Wanda’s move away from traditional property development represents an effort to build the value of their brand outside the cyclical nature of this industry.

The Brand Finance Real Estate 25 ranking as a whole features 17 Chinese brands, including ten brands from Chinese mainland, and seven from Hong Kong.

Beyond the Chinese brands, the most valuable real estate brands in the world are the United Arab Emirates’ Emaar Properties, with a value of $2.7bn, followed by US brands Simon Property Group ($2.1bn) and CBRE ($1.9bn).

-GBO Correpondent

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