Bar chart of net public sector debt excluding public sector banks. The financial year shows that the UK's indebtedness to GDP rose to its highest level in decades

Will the Covid crisis push the UK nations further apart?

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Latest news

UK government scraps spending plans as Covid woes deepen

Boris Johnson's hopes of regaining political initiative in Britain and setting his priorities for a post-Covid-19 world have been dashed by the deepening economic crisis.

The Treasury Department confirmed on Wednesday that a proposed three-year comprehensive spending review had been scrapped in favor of a one-year one.

The decision to postpone the spending review has sparked tension between Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Prime Minister last week as the country is on the verge of further lockdowns.

Last month, Mr Sunak, increasingly seen as a possible successor to the prime minister, was also forced to cancel plans for an autumn budget due to the coronavirus resurgence that has thrown economic planning into chaos.

Wednesday's confirmation that the three-year spending review will not be carried out is the latest sign of chaos over the government's response to the pandemic. As the Financial Times reveals today, the disease has also exposed tensions between Downing Street and the decentralized governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The pandemic has presented the London government with a unique challenge: a British crisis with no respect for borders but in an area where politics was not controlled from the center. The point is that the four UK governments are controlled by five different political parties.

As UK government borrowing hits record levels, the latest installment in our Coronavirus series is: Could the World Have Been Spared? examines the tensions and disputes at the center of Johnson's jumbled response to the pandemic and examines the political responses needed to keep the union together.


US tech stocks rebounded and the dollar weakened on Wednesday as US Democrats and Republicans got closer to agreement a second important fiscal stimulus for the largest economy in the world. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7 percent while the broader S&P 500 gained 0.5 percent in early New York trading. The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against six competitors, fell 0.4 percent to its lowest level since early September.

The renminbi per US dollar line chart showing the Chinese currency has appreciated significantly this year

China Renminbi has reached its strongest level in more than two years and has fueled expectations. Beijing will seek to stem the currency appreciation sparked by the country's robust recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
The renminbi gained up to 0.5 percent against the dollar in mainland China on Wednesday, to Rmb 6.64, marking its highest level against the US currency since July 2018. Strategists said the renminbi was Rmb6.65 and Exceeded Heavy Pressure The pace of its appreciation could add to the discomfort of Beijing policymakers as it makes exports more expensive.

The EU reported tremendous demand for a topic from new coronavirus-related ties on Tuesday. The € 17 billion sale marks the start of a loan that will make Brussels one of the largest debt issuers in the region. Buyers with bids in excess of EUR 233 billion were attracted by the relatively high yields on the 10- and 20-year bonds, offering investors more income than the safest sovereign debt in the eurozone.


City centers have become ghost towns during this pandemic London – with its high-rise buildings and reliance on financial services – was hardest hit. The response of the City of London Corporation, which governs British finance capital, is to reinvent the city. There are plans to move small businesses and arts back to the region, one-fifth of office tenants to be new by 2025, and reduce dependence on commuters.

The thrust Netflix got from lockdown, life has come to an end. Subscriber growth in the streaming service slowed dramatically in the third quarter. In the three months to the end of September, only 2.2 million subscribers were added – compared with 26 million in the two previous quarters. In addition, most of the growth came from outside the home market. But as the Lex column points out, the competition is thriving. HBO is plagued by a huge debt load and Disney's theme parks and movie businesses have been hit by the pandemic.

The bar chart of the number of robots in use by type (& # 39; 000) shows that the use of robots is expected to increase rapidly

In particular, the pandemic is driving the use of technology in companies Robotics and automation. In the US, Japan, China and Europe, sales of industrial robots are increasing rapidly, which contradicts the general downward trend in world trade. The pandemic is "a real boost for digital factory technologies," said Patrick Schwarzkopf from the International Federation of Robotics. The IFR assumes that the number of robots used worldwide for professional services will increase by 38 percent this year, which is supported in particular by the demand from logistics companies, but also from medical and cleaning companies.

Global economy

Beijing used Vaccine development as a new diplomatic tool to strengthen relations with nations neglected by the US. China, which has four vaccines in phase 3 trials, is promising countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It has already been promised that Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos will be among the "priority" recipients of Chinese vaccines. Beijing is determined that "vaccine diplomacy" will succeed where "mask diplomacy" has failed, an expert said.

The graphic shows that the national debt has reached a historic level: National debt as% of GDP

The debilitating symptoms of "Long Covid" suffered by patients can be replicated in business, he writes Martin Wolf. To address this threat, governments need to spend the mistakes of the 2008 financial crisis when fiscal support was withdrawn too early and avoid repeating them. "History will judge policymakers harshly if those who have the space do not take advantage of the opportunity," he concluded.

The cost of Shipping of goods Asia to the US has risen sharply over the past month as American companies attempt to replenish depleted inventories before the holiday season and prepare for the winter pandemic to worsen. Long-term shipping rates between China and the American west coast rose 12.7 percent over the weekend and are more than 60 percent higher than on the same day in 2019, according to Bimco, the international shipping association. Prices from Asia to the U.S. east coast are 25 percent higher than at this time last year.


The graph shows that Covid-19 death rates are rising again across Europe, but much more slowly than in spring

While Coronavirus infections With the rise again across Europe in late summer, the chances of survival for the respiratory disease appear to have improved since the first phase of the outbreak. The number of Covid-19 patients sick enough to go to hospital has risen less sharply – and mortality is even slower, according to an FT analysis. The falling "death rate in cases" can be explained in part by increased testing and a higher percentage of young people infected with Covid-19. But even patients admitted to the intensive care unit are now more likely than their counterparts earlier to survive the pandemic, our research shows.

Give us your opinion

How is your workplace dealing with the pandemic? How do you deal with it as a professional or a manager? And what do you think companies and markets – and our daily lives – will look like when we show up? Also tell us what you think about this newsletter and how we can make it more useful for you. Email us at [email protected] We can publish your contribution in an upcoming newsletter. Many Thanks.

In response to Chinese officials, downplaying coronavirus risks, readers Italian expat writes:

China made many mistakes at the beginning of the pandemic because of its political system. However, I doubt that this has caused the chaos we have seen in too many countries over the past few months.

The essentials

I expect to become redundant. How do I prepare myself? This is the latest question to our career advisor Jonathan Black from an official whose department is about to reorganize. “I've been there for decades and worry that I've become institutionalized at work. How can I change my mindset to de-institutionalize myself? “Writes the correspondent. Mr Black, Director of Careers Services at Oxford University, will answer on Monday.

Last thought

As we walked the paths, our eyes widened and our heads bent back to follow the tree trunks up into the canopy high above © Getty

"It's hard to convey the greatness and majesty of these titans," writes Hugh Carnegy, recalling the wonder of the redwoods in California for the series: I Wish I Were There. The state's coastal redwoods are the tallest living trees on earth and some of the oldest at 2,000 years old. Industrial logging in the 19th and 20th centuries almost destroyed these magnificent trees. But as Hugh reveals, their unique flame retardant properties helped keep them safe from this year's fires.