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.


EU lifts five-year-old restrictions on solar panels from China

The EU had imposed the duties in 2013 after European panel manufacturers had complained that they were being forced out of business by underpriced imports from China

The European Union is all set to end its five-year-old restrictions on solar panel imports from China, stated officials on Monday. This takes place at the time when Brussels and Beijing increase their own trade cooperation in the face of protectionist measures from the US.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, suggested the decision would boost the bloc’s renewable energy goals as it rejected an appeal from the European solar industry to reconsider the move. The commission stated: “The EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on solar panels from China will expire today at midnight (2200 GMT).”

The duties had been imposed in 2013 by European panel manufactureres amidst complaints that they were being driven out of business by underpriced Chinese imports. Other European companies that install solar panel systems claimed the duties harmed them by increasing their overall costs.

Brussels stated that it was lifting the restrictions in the best interests of the EU as a whole, after weighing the needs of producers against those of users and importers of solar panels. The restrictions were imposed for two years in 2013, but then were extended for another 18 months in March last year, as opposed to the usual five years.

The commission stated that it has gradually adjusted the measures to allow prices of imports to align progressively with world market prices—adding that market conditions had not changed enough since then to justify extending the restrictions.

The commission billed the 2013 duties as an “amicable solution” to a dispute that had threatened to become a full-blown trade war. In 2017, EU figures showed bilateral trade to come about $597 bn, with the EU running a deficit of $203 bn.

As US President Donald Trump’s administration hits both the EU and China with tariffs as part of his “America First” policy, Brussels and Beijing have both increased trade cooperation and touted their free trade credentials.

-GBO Correspondent

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