FILE PHOTO: UK pound coins plunge into water in this illustration picture, October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
UK markets - and the British pound - have been less affected by the latest political developments than predicated. Photo: Reuters

Mixed fortunes for sterling as Brexit negotiations rumble on



Market developments were dominated by events in the UK last week, where the government published its White Paper for exiting the EU, and suffered two prominent cabinet resignations as a result. The May government was also stung by the visit of US President Donald Trump , where he delivered withering criticism of the government’s Brexit strategy, while England ‘s exit from the World Cup only added to a week of trauma.

Two years on since the Brexit referendum, the compromise deal reached by Theresa’s May government about its planned Brexit negotiations has failed to inspire much confidence. It resulted in the resignation of two prominent cabinet members, the Brexit secretary David Davis and the foreign secretary Boris Johnson, plus a number of junior officials. As a consequence, the final nine months of UK-EU negotiations are likely to be very uncertain, with the government’s survival always in question. Accordingly, the possibility that the talks could ultimately fail is increasing, with the UK potentially leaving the EU next spring without any agreement in place to soften the impact.

Given these developments it was striking how well sterling behaved, even rallying in the aftermath of the government resignations seemingly on the belief that the departure of arch-Brexiteers will make a ‘soft’ Brexit more likely. This appears to be May’s intention, giving the UK what amounts to ‘associate membership’ of the EU’s single market in key areas such as trade in goods and agriculture.

If this is the hope, it is still too early to hold it with a tremendous amount of conviction however. For one thing the EU is quite likely to reject key elements of the government’s White Paper, threatening the apparent unity of the new May cabinet. Indeed any further concessions made to Europe could well spell May’s demise, with a snap general election becoming a distinct possibility. An election might also be seen as hastening a ’soft’ Brexit if the opposition Labour party were to win, but as last year’s surprise election result showed, certainty about the outcome would be by no means guaranteed.

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Read more from Tim Fox:

Saudi Arabia ramps up its widening global relevance

Markets take 'catalogue of risks' in their stride

A stronger dollar and firmer oil prices threaten capital flows to emerging markets

Dollar weakness replaced by dollar strength but how long will it last?

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There is another plausible reason for UK markets being less affected than might have been expected by these latest political developments, which is that for all the pessimism generated about Brexit since the referendum in 2016, the actual economic outturn has not been anything like as bad as feared. The UK Treasury warned before the referendum that a vote to leave the EU would result in ‘an immediate and profound economic shock’ with the UK going into an ‘instant recession’ and with 800,000 jobs likely to be lost within two years. The International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde also famously commented that the outcome of a decision to leave the EU would range from ‘pretty bad to very, very bad’.

The last two years, however, have told an opposite story with steady growth of 1.7 per cent in 2017, and with the unemployment rate plunging to a 43-year low of 4.2 per cent. As a consequence the markets have probably learnt not to pay as much heed to the doomsayers as they did before the referendum.  They may even turn out to be right in judging that Brexit will not be as disastrous as many policymakers have predicted. The Bank of England after all quickly reversed the emergency rate cut made in the immediate aftermath of the referendum, and is now poised to raise interest rates again, probably in August in the wake of improving second quarter economic data.

Of course the political dimension is one that could still undercut this benign outlook. While the pound did not collapse last week, its rally was limited and will likely remain so while there is an overhang of political uncertainty. The sterling exchange rate index is now about at the mid-point of its trading range since the 2016 referendum. With Brexit negotiations likely to play out all the way to the April 2019 deadline, this factor should inhibit the pound’s upside, with only a resumption of dollar weakness likely to see it able to gain much ground. But with the rising possibility that the government could fall, the pound’s downside probably remains as the greater risk-reward.

Tim Fox is group chief economist and head of research at Emirates NBD

David Haye record

Total fights: 32
Wins: 28
Wins by KO: 26
Losses: 4

RESULT

Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 0 Al Ain 6
Al Ain: Caio (5', 73'), El Shahat (10'), Berg (65'), Khalil (83'), Al Ahbabi (90'+2)

If you go

Flight connections to Ulaanbaatar are available through a variety of hubs, including Seoul and Beijing, with airlines including Mongolian Airlines and Korean Air. While some nationalities, such as Americans, don’t need a tourist visa for Mongolia, others, including UAE citizens, can obtain a visa on arrival, while others including UK citizens, need to obtain a visa in advance. Contact the Mongolian Embassy in the UAE for more information.

Nomadic Road offers expedition-style trips to Mongolia in January and August, and other destinations during most other months. Its nine-day August 2020 Mongolia trip will cost from $5,250 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, two nights’ hotel accommodation in Ulaanbaatar, vehicle rental, fuel, third party vehicle liability insurance, the services of a guide and support team, accommodation, food and entrance fees; nomadicroad.com

A fully guided three-day, two-night itinerary at Three Camel Lodge costs from $2,420 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, accommodation, meals and excursions including the Yol Valley and Flaming Cliffs. A return internal flight from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad costs $300 per person and the flight takes 90 minutes each way; threecamellodge.com

BOSH!'s pantry essentials

Nutritional yeast

This is Firth's pick and an ingredient he says, "gives you an instant cheesy flavour". He advises making your own cream cheese with it or simply using it to whip up a mac and cheese or wholesome lasagne. It's available in organic and specialist grocery stores across the UAE.

Seeds

"We've got a big jar of mixed seeds in our kitchen," Theasby explains. "That's what you use to make a bolognese or pie or salad: just grab a handful of seeds and sprinkle them over the top. It's a really good way to make sure you're getting your omegas."

Umami flavours

"I could say soya sauce, but I'll say all umami-makers and have them in the same batch," says Firth. He suggests having items such as Marmite, balsamic vinegar and other general, dark, umami-tasting products in your cupboard "to make your bolognese a little bit more 'umptious'".

Onions and garlic

"If you've got them, you can cook basically anything from that base," says Theasby. "These ingredients are so prevalent in every world cuisine and if you've got them in your cupboard, then you know you've got the foundation of a really nice meal."

Your grain of choice

Whether rice, quinoa, pasta or buckwheat, Firth advises always having a stock of your favourite grains in the cupboard. "That you, you have an instant meal and all you have to do is just chuck a bit of veg in."

Day 1, Abu Dhabi Test: At a glance

Moment of the day Dimuth Karunaratne had batted with plenty of pluck, and no little skill, in getting to within seven runs of a first-day century. Then, while he ran what he thought was a comfortable single to mid-on, his batting partner Dinesh Chandimal opted to stay at home. The opener was run out by the length of the pitch.

Stat of the day – 1 One six was hit on Day 1. The boundary was only breached 18 times in total over the course of the 90 overs. When it did arrive, the lone six was a thing of beauty, as Niroshan Dickwella effortlessly clipped Mohammed Amir over the square-leg boundary.

The verdict Three wickets down at lunch, on a featherbed wicket having won the toss, and Sri Lanka’s fragile confidence must have been waning. Then Karunaratne and Chandimal's alliance of precisely 100 gave them a foothold in the match. Dickwella’s free-spirited strokeplay meant the Sri Lankans were handily placed at 227-4 at the close.

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Teams

Punjabi Legends Owners: Inzamam-ul-Haq and Intizar-ul-Haq; Key player: Misbah-ul-Haq

Pakhtoons Owners: Habib Khan and Tajuddin Khan; Key player: Shahid Afridi

Maratha Arabians Owners: Sohail Khan, Ali Tumbi, Parvez Khan; Key player: Virender Sehwag

Bangla Tigers Owners: Shirajuddin Alam, Yasin Choudhary, Neelesh Bhatnager, Anis and Rizwan Sajan; Key player: TBC

Colombo Lions Owners: Sri Lanka Cricket; Key player: TBC

Kerala Kings Owners: Hussain Adam Ali and Shafi Ul Mulk; Key player: Eoin Morgan

Venue Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Format 10 overs per side, matches last for 90 minutes

Timeline October 25: Around 120 players to be entered into a draft, to be held in Dubai; December 21: Matches start; December 24: Finals

In The Heights

Directed by: Jon M. Chu

Stars: Anthony Ramos, Lin-Manual Miranda

Rating: ****

Visit Abu Dhabi culinary team's top Emirati restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Yadoo’s House Restaurant+& Cafe

For the karak and Yoodo's house platter with includes eggs, balaleet, khamir and chebab bread.

Golden Dallah

For the cappuccino, luqaimat and aseeda.

Al Mrzab Restaurant

For the shrimp murabian and Kuwaiti options including Kuwaiti machboos with kebab and spicy sauce.

Al Derwaza

For the fish hubul, regag bread, biryani and special seafood soup. 

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

'O'

Author: Zeina Hashem Beck
Pages: 112
Publisher: Penguin Books
Available: Now

Dubai World Cup Carnival Thursday race card

6.30pm: Dubai Millennium Stakes Group Three US$200,000 (Turf) 2,000m
7.05pm: Handicap $135,000 (T) 1,600m​​​​​​​
7.40pm: UAE Oaks Group Three $250,000 (Dirt) 1,900m​​​​​​​
8.15pm: Zabeel Mile Group Two $250,000 (T) 1,600m​​​​​​​
8.50pm: Meydan Sprint Group Two $250,000 (T) 1,000m​​​​​​​
9.25pm: Handicap $135,000 (D) 1,400m
10pm: Handicap $135,000 (T) 1,600m

Washmen Profile

Date Started: May 2015

Founders: Rami Shaar and Jad Halaoui

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Laundry

Employees: 170

Funding: about $8m

Funders: Addventure, B&Y Partners, Clara Ventures, Cedar Mundi Partners, Henkel Ventures

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Brighton 1
Gross (50' pen)

Tottenham 1
Kane (48)

MATCH INFO

World Cup qualifier

Thailand 2 (Dangda 26', Panya 51')

UAE 1 (Mabkhout 45+2')

MATCH INFO

World Cup qualifier

Thailand 2 (Dangda 26', Panya 51')

UAE 1 (Mabkhout 45+2')

MATCH INFO

Everton 0

Manchester City 2 (Laporte 45+2', Jesus 90+7')

Yahya Al Ghassani's bio

Date of birth: April 18, 1998

Playing position: Winger

Clubs: 2015-2017 – Al Ahli Dubai; March-June 2018 – Paris FC; August – Al Wahda

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 

Five films to watch

Castle in the Sky (1986)

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Only Yesterday (1991)

Pom Poki (1994)

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

THE DEALS

Hamilton $60m x 2 = $120m

Vettel $45m x 2 = $90m

Ricciardo $35m x 2 = $70m

Verstappen $55m x 3 = $165m

Leclerc $20m x 2 = $40m

TOTAL $485m

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

 


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