August 02, 2018
Markets suggest a 91% chance of rates returning to levels unseen since March 2009
Bank of England poised to raise interest rates
The Bank of England is poised to raise interest rates above the level set since the aftermath of the financial crisis for the first time, despite a weakening outlook for the British economy and growing risks from Brexit.
Economists widely expect the Bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) to lift the cost of borrowing above 0.5% on Thursday to reach 0.75%. Financial markets suggest a 91% chance of rates returning to levels unseen since March 2009, when Britain was in the grip of recession.
However, recent readings for the economy have painted a mixed picture for economic growth. Survey data on Wednesday showed factory output falling to the lowest levels for 16 months in July, amid fears over Brexit and trade wars.
On the eve of the interest-rate decision, the latest snapshot from IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply showed weaker domestic activity for the manufacturing sector, which could suggest weaker growth lies ahead for the British economy.
However, inflation has remained stubbornly above the 2% target set for the Bank by the government, after having risen sharply straight after the EU referendum result.
Some rate setters on the MPC, including the Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, also believe wage growth is just around the corner for workers, amid the lowest levels of unemployment since the mid 1970s, a factor that could help boost workers’ bargaining power for higher pay.
The summer heatwave, royal wedding and England progressing to the semi-final of the World Cup helped boost the economy, triggering stronger retail sales in April and May before they unexpectedly fell back in June. The Office for National Statistics found that the warmer weather helped the economy rebound from a slowdown earlier this year after heavy snowfall from the “beast from the east”.
Having watched the economy grind to a halt in the cold weather as building cranes and diggers fell idle across the country, the Bank delayed raising interest rates in May above 0.5%, preferring to wait for better news.
Keeping them on hold again could test the Bank’s credibility after a series of speeches from MPC members suggesting that higher interest rates would be required if economic growth continued to recover.
Despite some stronger readings for the economy, some economists have warned the Bank against raising rates amid increasing uncertainty over Brexit, as Theresa May is faced with widening parliamentary divisions over her plans.
Writing in the Guardian last month, David Blanchflower, a former MPC member , said there was no basis for the MPC to raise rates amid the uncertainty.
Threadneedle Street has previously warned that lower interest rates could be required if the UK left the EU without a deal.
Mark Carney, the Bank’s governor, has said Brexit developments would have a significant influence on monetary policy. While the MPC has a mandate to steer inflation towards 2%, it also has the ability to deviate from this course to support the economy through difficult periods.
Some economists have argued the unemployment rate of 4.2% masks the precarious nature of work for many people, which could hold back wage growth as workers’ bargaining power remains subdued. The most recent official figures show wage growth dropped to the lowest level in six months in the three months to May.
While higher interest rates would add to financial pressure facing consumers, there are fewer people than in previous years who would immediately feel the difference from higher borrowing costs.
Nationwide said the share of outstanding mortgages on variable interest rates – which would lead to an increase in payments – has fallen to its lowest level on record, at around 35%, down from a peak of 70% in 2001.
Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide, said: “While the impact for most borrowers is likely to be modest, it’s important to note that household budgets have been under pressure for some time because wages have not been rising as fast as the cost of living.”
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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