The Bank of England has said that the future of the economy of the United Kingdom is ’unusually uncertain’ as record lows for interest rates were seen. Recovery has been slowed down due to the recent jump in COVID-19 cases even though vaccines for COVID-19 have boded well for long term growth. Rates have been held by the central bank at 0.1%.
A 14 billion pound class action has been allowed by the UK Supreme Court to proceed against Mastercard over claims that more than 46 million people were overcharged in Britain over a 15-year long period. If the complex case is successful, adults in Britain could be entitled to 300 pounds each. According to Mastercard, the claim is being driven by ’hit and hope’ US lawyers.
Federal regulators gave the nod to Amazon workers at an Alabama warehouse to vote on forming a union. If they vote to unionize themselves, it would be the first union at a US facility of the e-commerce giant. In November, representatives of Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union filed for a poll to represent 1,500 frontline workers at the Bessemer warehouse. Amazon contested the decision.
A second vaccine, by Moderna, against the novel coronavirus infection is nearing approval in the United States. A vaccine which was developed by Pfizer is already being distributed at nursing homes and hospitals across the nation. The massive vaccination effort currently underway across the US has come in the backdrop of a number of new COVID-19 cases in the country.
Volkswagen lost its case in the European Union’s Court of Justice after almost five years of arguing that doctoring emissions of its diesel cars wasn’t illegal in Europe. Volkswagen has already lost around €30 billion (around $36.76 billion) because of the cheating, which is termed as ’Dieselgate.’ This ruling now opens the gate for further mammoth costs to the company.
In the week ending December 12, the number of first time unemployment benefit filers totaled 885,000. This has been the highest number since early September. Initial claims were expected to fall to 808,000 by Economists polled by Dow Jones. Stifel’s Lindsey Piegza claimed that the fragility of the labor market was clearly indicated via these numbers.
An extension of a month has been provided for the furlough scheme which supports workers who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme now ends in the month of April. Therefore, the government will continue paying 80% of the wages. According to the Treasury, this will provide certainty into the New Year to businesses and workers across UK.
Bitcoin hit a new all-time high at above $20,000 on Wednesday as the cryptocurrency saw its valuation swell to $383B. The last time Bitcoin crossed the $20,000 level, it reversed trend sharply soon after dropping nearly 80%. The current market cap of the crypto market is $606B. Ethereum is trading at $617 currently.
Twitter said it would remove posts claiming Covid-19 vaccines cause harm or are unnecessary, as well as conspiracy theories about them. Just as countries are rolling out the vaccine for the coronavirus, vaccine misinformation is also spreading via social media at an unprecedented rate. This has alarmed researchers who say the misinformation is now affecting large sections of people globally.
The US Treasury Department designated Vietnam and Switzerland as currency manipulators. Now, it will start bilateral talks with the two countries over the issue. Swiss officials accept they intervene in currency markets to keep their currency from strengthening, but they deny manipulation. The Treasury spared China from the designation, but kept it in a watchlist along with 9 other countries.
The privacy update for the iPhone has been slammed by Facebook via full-page newspaper advertisements. Facebook has claimed that small businesses will be threatened by the update. The changes are planned to be rolled out early next year to its iOS 14 software by Apple. With the update, users will be explicitly asked by app developers for permission to track their data.
With the markets being stormed by buyers in the stamp duty holiday, a new average high of £245K has been reached by house prices. This has been caused by a rise of £19,000 in a year according to agents. Amid the pandemic, detached homes containing outdoor spaces have been in high demand. Since 2004, this has been the highest number of prospective buyers, according to NAEA Propertymark.
The growth in America’s industrial output slowed slightly in November, the Federal Reserve reported on Tuesday. The country’s industrial output rose 0.4% in November, lower than the previous month’s growth of 0.8%, which was led by a strong 5.3% gain in motor vehicles and parts production. The slow growth is attributed to low out of utility goods, which declined to 4.3% on reduced demand.
The latest job statistics in the UK show 819,000 fewer people in payrolled employment since the start of the coronavirus crisis. A third of this belongs to the hospitality sector. Figures also showed a rise in the jobless rate to 4.9% in October from 4.8% the previous month.
Pinterest has agreed to pay $22.5M to settle claims of gender discrimination and retaliation by its former COO Francoise Brougher. Brougher alleged the company maintained a culture of secrecy among top male executives that resulted in her being left out of meetings and decision-making. Soon after she went public with the claims, Pinterest employees staged a walkout in response to the accusations.
There was a protest in Paris on Monday. The protests included cocktails waiters, wedding planners,hotel directors & chefs,which totalled to around 1000 people. Everyone was asking for more aid from the government, begging to go back to work & to make money. Restaurant & bar owners stated the government aid is barely enough to keep them going daily. Jan 20 they may reopen if the virus is controlled
French President Emmanuel Macron proposed a change in the country’s constitution to add the fight against climate change and the need to preserve the environment. Speaking to a citizen’s group in charge of making proposals on climate-related issues, Macron made the proposal. A change in France’s constitution requires a parliamentary vote, and then a referendum.
The CME has launched futures contracts tied to the spot price of water for the first time ever. The contracts, tied to the $1.1B California spot water market, allows investors and farmers to bet on the future price of water. Contracts will each represent 10 acre-feet of water, equal to 3.26M gallons. According to the UN, water shortages could affect around 5B people worldwide by 2050.
Reddit has acquired short-form video sharing platform Dubsmash. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. This comes following success of ByteDance’s TikTok that has prompted many social media companies to add short-video services to their platforms. Dubsmash’s entire team, including co-founders Suchit Dash, Jonas Drüppel, and Tim Specht, are joining Reddit.