British Pound Falls On Shocking Election Results

It was a shocking election result to say the least when Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister Theresa May failed to secure a majority for her party. Prior to the polls closing it had been expected that the Prime Minister would not only win a majority but would add to the one she already had, perhaps by quite a bit. This however did not happen.

 

When it became clear that the Conservatives would in fact fall short of their majority, the British Pound began to take a nose dive. It dropped suddenly and sharply but did manage to rebound slightly against the drop that it had just taken when investors began to ease up a little on their worries.

 

Despite the Pound taking a beating, the markets in general seemed to be in pretty good shape. There was a worry that they too would drop, but instead they seemed to look at the news and shake it off. No worries for a market that has been on a rampage towards higher and higher numbers in recent years.

 

CNBC.com reports that other currencies increased in value when paired up with the British Pound. Even the Euro saw an increase against the Pound as it seems that most of Europe is simply not all that concerned with what happened in the election, at least not as of yet.

 

Negotiations begin on Brexit in just ten days time. While Theresa May remains as Prime Minister for the time being, the fact remains that she could have a very difficult go of things if she is seen as not a very reliable leader. Her leadership of the party is already in question, and this means that those who are on the other end of the negotiating table may see this a s time to push through the things that they care about.

 

Some Business Leaders Want More Time For Brexit Talks

Business leaders are warning their new U.K. leaders that now is an incredibly serious time for the economy in that country. With the shocking election results from the snap election, some in the business community in the United Kingdom are curious about what the next government is going to do.

 

The Telegraph reports that while the Conservative Party remains in power for the time being, the picture of politics in the country has changed dramatically. Theresa May is now under serious threat of losing the reigns as Prime Minister, and no one knows for sure which Conservative Party member would take over if this was the case.

 

Even if a new leader emerges, we do not know for how long that person will be in charge. There could be another election called as soon as October if this coalition government is not able to hold together.

 

All of this is happening while Brexit talks are set to begin in just over a week. Business leaders are concerned that there is not enough stability within the government to hold constructive talks that have real meaning. Some are calling for a delay in the talks while others say that new Tory leadership is needed to try to water down some elements of Brexit.

 

The business community has not been a fan of Brexit for a very long time anyway. Now, they see this as a potential opportunity to perhaps at least get things tamped down to some extent. That could in theory help them to get back to a place where the impacts of Brexit are not so great that business has trouble functioning and that average British citizens are greatly negatively impacted. That is all a serious concern if nothing is done to try to turn this train around in some respect.

 

Can Macron Save The French Economy?

Emmanuel Macron was elected as the next President of France last month. When he won the job, he had a big job to fill in terms of helping the French economy. He wanted to take the country in a different direction, particularly in comparison to what some of their neighbors were doing.

 

The United Kingdom had voted to exit the European Union the year before, but the New York Times says that Macron would actually strength the EU in France and do a number of other things as well. His government is expected to provide more money to help integrate immigrants into French society rather than do some sort of futile effort to keep them out of the country. Not only would this not work in his view, but it would be counterproductive from a moral and economical standpoint.

 

Interestingly, Macron was voted in on a platform of tamping down the welfare state to some extent. While citizens of France still want many of the benefits that they receive as French citizens, they want some common sense measures to be put in place to eliminate wasteful spending in the government and hopefully “right size” the government of the country so that it is working as best as possible for the people.

 

Macron faced an opponent who would have taken France in the direction of leaving the EU and supported many anti-immigrant policies. The French people had the choice to go in that direction if they wanted to, and yet they resoundingly selected him over the alternative. Not all countries in Europe are the same, and a lot of times voting has to do with what the exact present circumstances are. Therefore, different countries will take different approaches to their economic situations and perhaps get very different results for their people.

 

EU: Well in the North, Problems in the South

When it comes to the European Union’s economy, the northern states are doing way better than the southern ones. Germany is benefiting from strong exports and construction investment, Euronews report. The German employment is at record levels, while wages are rising, all amid low borrowing costs.

 

However, state spending has gone up as a result of supporting over a million of recent migrants. Elections will take place in September and Angela Merkel is expected to remain in the office, the polls indicate. Surely, strong economy is helping the German Chancellor.

 

In the neighboring Denmark, strong economic performance is very likely to lead to tax cuts, Danish Finance Minister, Kristian Jensen, just suggested. The new tax plan is likely to be presented after summer and take place as of 2018. Mr. Jensen is worried that overheated economy will make it even harder for Danish businesses to find qualified employees.

 

In the south, however, things aren’t going that well. Greece continues to struggle. Greeks have expressed disappointment as the European finance ministers haven’t reached an agreement about more bailout money for the Greeks. The country needs more than 7 billion euros ($8 billion) to avoid defaulting on its debt in July. Brussels is demanding better execution of agreed upon reforms.

 

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom there’s growing political uncertainty after the Conservatives failed to win enough seats in Parliament to rule without a coalition partner. Combined with Brexit, this is leading to business uncertainty. No one knows yet how the Brexit talks end up, and whether Scotland and Northern Ireland will remain in the UK over the long term.

The Netherlands May Ban the Sale of Gas-Powered Vehicles in the Future

The Dutch government, in an effort to combat pollution, may prohibit new gasoline-powered cars from entering the market in the Netherlands, ban which could take place in ten years.

 

The Dutch are already known for being environmentally friendly, but this time they are taking a more radical initiative. Originally, the Labor Party wanted to ban gas and diesel automobiles completely by 2025, but such plan could not take effect. Instead, the ban will only affect the sales of gas-powered vehicles. On the other hand, current conventional cars are still able to operate in the Netherlands.

 

The proposal already passed through the Netherland’s parliament. The proposal now needs to be able to pass through the Dutch senate. The politician responsible for the bill is Jan Vos. And according to studies done by Yale, the ban will most likely take effect in the future. However, Vos thinks that more will have to be done in order to be able to completely ban gas-powered cars. But overall, such proposal will decrease the costs of electric vehicles, which is good.

 

The Netherlands is not the only country fighting global warming. For example, last June, Sweden considered too a ban on gasoline-powered vehicles. France already enforced a ban on cars that were made before 1997, ban which took place no more than two months ago as well. Prominent business magnates and engineers are also behind such noble causes. Elon Musk, the founder, chief executive officer, and product engineer of Telsa Motors, congratulated Norway for such initiative.

 

Norway already has one of the most generous incentives for electric cars, and this countries is one of the lowest producers of harmful emissions in Europe. Norway was also the first country in Europe to obtain Tesla charging stations. According to recent research, a ban on conventional cars may take place more successfully in Norway. One of every four Norwegians owns an electric car. In the United States, more people die of air pollution than car accidents. But thankfully, these days air pollution is a concern to many countries across the world. The Dutch have without a doubt taken this issue to the right direction.

 

Shocking Revelations from European Consumers

In a recent survey conducted by Ricoh Triple R research company to European customers, it revealed that European customers preferred to do business with companies that maintained a customer relationship. This list was topped by PayPal, followed by Yamaha Motor, Amazon.com and Apple Inc. Other organizations that made into the list chronologically included Samsung Electronics, Adidas, eBay, Microsoft as well as Google, Sony and Walt Disney. The last half of the 20 company list consisted of BMW, H&M, Marks and Spencer, Nokia, Carrefour, Philips as well as Pandora and Siemens. The last company on this list was Facebook.

 

This research revealed that European customers preferred brands that they felt as efficient, personal as well as responsive. In an interview with several customers, Triple R revealed that the customers preferred companies who customer service was taken care of by normal people other than machines and robots. The research was conducted on 3600 people from across Europe and targeted businesses from all industries without considering whether the businesses had incorporated digital solutions to their services. The Triple R is a model used by Ricoh Europe to determine how customers feel about the brand quality relationship. This took care of the commodity before it reached the consumer, during the response time and finally during retaining or purchase time.

 

The same research revealed that many European customers preferred companies that made them feel valued and part of something big. This brought about the necessity of good communication between businesses and their customers. The same brand showed that large percent of businesses care about the customer before they purchase a product, this number being 57 percent. After the purchase, only a small percent of companies care about the customers. The survey also revealed that European consumers wanted companies to adopt a new trend to care about the customers prior and after the purchase.

 

 

British Pound Drops While FTSE Makes New Highs

The pound sterling just dropped under $1.29 as Conservatives are losing their lead over Labour in election polls. The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has called snap elections to get a new mandate before tough Brexit negotiations begin.

 

Since last June’s Brexit vote, the British currency has lost a lot of value due to economic and political uncertainty. Long gone are the days of high-flying pound. Ten years ago the British currency was worth almost $2.

 

According to the latest poll, MarketWatch reports, the Tories are only leading by 5 percentage points. The elections will take place on June 8th.

 

This political uncertainty has led to decline in currency, but the British stock market is doing quite well. The FTSE 100 Index has just made an all-time high, and now stands over 7,500. What is helping is the weaker pound. Since most of the companies on the FTSE 100 Index are multinationals, weaker currency is helping their exports and profits coming from foreign currencies.

 

Pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Hikma Pharmaceuticals picked up gains, and so did a consumer products giant, Univeler PLC.

 

Not all FTSE 100 companies are winning. About 14 percent of the index’s weighting comes from energy stocks. With low petroleum price, oil stocks got hammered.

 

However, down the line a bad Brexit would mean that the United Kingdom would lose access to the single European market and end up under WTO tariffs. Also, the City of London could get hammered. Many financial institutions there are already preparing to set up their operations in continental Europe.

 

 

 

Unity Technologies Finally Accepts Funding

Unity Technologies, the company behind the software which has been used to create a huge number of mobile games, including the great Pokémon Go, has accepted funding. On Wednesday, the company announced it had raised one hundred and eighty-one million US dollars of funds from investors such as Thrive Capital, West Summit Capital, and DFJ Growth as well as from a leading technology entrepreneur Max Levchin.

 

The company, based in Francisco is valued to be approximately or slightly over one point five billion US dollars, particularly after the funding.

 

Unity Technologies expertise in game engine

 

Unity Technologies is famous for its game engine, the code behind the captivating graphics and sounds in a game which handles all the basic operations. All game developers are aware of the huge role game engines play in the development process.

 

According to Unity Technologies, its engine is used by an estimated percentage of more than thirty-one percent of the top one thousand earning mobile games. The company also has it, that its software is applied in slightly about ninety percent of the content created by Samsung’s virtual reality platform, Gear VR as well as Facebook’s Oculus which uses mobile phones as its screen.

 

Unity’s augmented reality

 

Another prospective area of the success of Unity Technologies might be augmented reality, which attracted the interest of the public especially with the release of Pokémon Go.

 

John Riccitiello, the Chief Executive Officer of Unity Technologies, said in a recent phone interview carried out by The New York Times that the company does not have immediate need of money. The statement came despite Unity Technologies refusing to comment on its valuation.

 

Competitors of Unity Technologies

 

Like any other business, Unity Technologies faces stiff competition from other leading game engine maker. These leading companies include Tencent Holdings based in China and Amazon whose engines, such as Epic Games and Lumberyard respectively are typical for many game developers.

 

About Pokémon Go

 

Pokémon Go is a smartphone game available freely to the users. Since its release recently, Pokémon Go has attracted a lot of people from all walks of life. The game involves players doing their best to capture monsters from Pokémon. It makes use of some smartphone technologies such as a camera and location tracking.

 

 

Amazon Channels Expand in Europe

Amazon keeps on expanding. The giant company just announced that it’ll launch Amazon Channels in Germany and the United Kingdom, according to TechCrunch.com report.

 

Amazon will offer 50 on-demand channels in these two countries as part of its Amazon Prime service. This will allow viewers to see many popular channels without having to subscribe to a bundled package of channels. Each channel will cost between £1.49 and £9.49 a month, with the average being around £4.50.

 

Some of the popular channels will include Discovery, MGM, Filmbox, and Eurosport.

 

This will give freedom to subscribers when it comes to selection. They will also save money by not having to subscribe to unwanted channels. Amazon Channels will be available through Amazon’s video app as well smart TVs and Android apps.

 

Amazon is also looking to produce content itself. The company, for example, is interested in bidding for sports broadcast rights as well as music concerts. In the past, online companies such Twitter and Facebook had made deals to broadcast sports via their sites.

 

Amazon is also growing its relationship with Dish TV in the United States and has also launched Echo Show, which is home hub with a screen, and it is voice-powered by Alexa.

 

The competitors are taking notice, too. The ITV Hub gives its viewers a choice as to which channels to subscribe, including channels without ads.

 

Amazon has started in the 1990s as an online book seller. By now, it has grown to an e-commerce giant. A share of Amazon now trades for almost $1,000, more than 10 times up in 10 years. The whole company is valued at $476 billion, placing it among the largest stock market capitalizations in the world.

 

Service Sector Slows in UK Causing Troubling Economy Growth

In the UK, economic growth hit a new low at a rate of only 0.3% for the beginning of the year. According to the Office for National Statistics, this drop in growth was due to a decline in the Service Sector. The last time economic growth hit an all-time low was in 2016 when the rate was at 0.8%. The fact that the January-to-March period yielded more than a 50% decrease from last year is cause for worry amongst UK officials.

As inflation continues to rise, economists had planned for a decrease in Gross Domestic Product growth. However, their estimate remained at a hopeful 0.4%. Unfortunately, the reality is much different. While a 0.1% difference may not seem important, it is statistically significant. IHS Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson reports that the rising costs have finally reached household spending.

As the Service Sector accounts for roughly 78% of the UK Economy, the decrease in spending is being felt by businesses nationwide. Restaurants, hotels and distributors took the largest hit falling by 0.5%. Retail trade was also inhibited as rising prices are continuing from the constant inflation. Overall industrial production was able to grow by 0.3% in the the first three months of 2017 thanks to the rise in motor vehicle output. On the other hand, agriculture has seen a slight decrease during this first period.

All of this decrease in sales is resulting from a lack in household spending. The rising inflation in the UK has reached a high level of 2.3% this March. During the fist period of the year, retail sales saw their largest fall in seven years. Businesses of all sizes are feeling the effects of the rising inflation. While the period from January-to-March typically sees lower sales, many companies fear this trend will continue into the following periods. After all, the inflation issue doesn’t seem to be curbing.