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Business news live - US-China trade war escalates as Beijing hits $75bn of goods with tariffs

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Ben Chapman
Friday 23 August 2019 08:49 BST
Trump says 'Tianenmen Square' violence in Hong Kong could harm China trade deal

China has shocked global markets by hitting $75bn of US imports with tariffs, in a further escalation of trade tensions that risks tipping the world economy into recession.

Stock markets dropped after Beijing announced that tariffs of 10 per cent and 5 per cent on two tranches of goods will come into effect on 1 September..

China appeared to have softened its stance towards Donald Trump’s administration, calling on the US president this week for a compromise.

Having been rebuffed by Washington, China hit back today with its own measure in retaliation for Mr Trump’s announcement earlier this month that the US would put 10 per cent tariffs on $300bn of Chinese imports.

Please allow a moment for the live blog to load


Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of global business and economics events.

The pound has erased some of its gains from yesterday as optimism about progress on Brexit faded. 

Later today US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, who has come under intense fire from Donald Trump this week, will speak at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is also due to give a seech.

ben.chapman23 August 2019 09:13

US toy maker Hasbro has bought the UK-listed owner of Peppa Pig for about £3.3bn.

The deal is the latest in a string of foreign purchases of UK-listed firms and comes days after pub chain Greene King was bought by Hong Kong real estate group CKA for £4.6bn.

Hasbro, maker of Monopoly and My Little Pony, said that the move to buy Entertainment One would “dramatically enhance” its storytelling capabilities.


ben.chapman23 August 2019 09:13

Eddie Stobart shares suspended after chief executive departs amid accounting probe

Eddie Stobart has suspended its shares after chief executive Alex Laffey stood down with immediate effect after the haulage company failed to file its accounts.

Errors were discovered in previous financial statements last month which are expected to affect Eddie Stobarts earnings for the first half of the year.

The company said it is applying a "more prudent approach to revenue recognition" and looking into provisioning issues.

Eddie Stobart said:

“While revenue expectations for the first half are broadly in line with previous guidance, the full impact of these items on adjusted EBIT is unclear, but it is likely to be significantly lower than anticipated at the time of the half year trading update on 9 July 2019.”

ben.chapman23 August 2019 09:24

Ryanair labelled 'greedy and arrogant' in customer survey

Ryanair has been named the worst brand for customer service in a survey.

Europe’s biggest airline was rated the lowest out of 100 leading companies in poll by consumer champion Which?.

Nearly 4,000 people were asked to rate how the brands made them feel, how helpful and knowledgeable their staff were, and how well they handled complaints. 

ben.chapman23 August 2019 10:01

Google has removed hundreds of YouTube channels for uploading videos in a "coordinated manner" about the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

The technology giant said 210 channels were disabled in order to protect the integrity of its platform, pointing to Chinese attempts to spread disinformation and manipulate the pro-democracy protests.

The move comes just days after Facebook and Twitter removed accounts linked to China that were being used to undermine the protests.

ben.chapman23 August 2019 10:23

'Healthy interest' in buying Harland and Wolff shipyard

Administrators of Harland and Wolff say there has been a "healthy level of interest" in buying the Belfast shipyard, famed for building the Titanic.

BDO Northern Ireland have said today they have received several  non-binding offers for the company which is threatened with closure.

A temporary unpaid layoff for workers has been extended to 30 September as administrators assess the different rescue proposals.

Harland & Wolff employed 30,000 people at its height but the workforce has since shrunk to just 125.

Remaining workers at the historic business have occupied the site for nearly four weeks.

On Friday morning, accountancy firm BDO NI said: 

"There has been a healthy level of interest with regard to purchasing the business, assets and safeguarding the existing jobs since the commencement of the administration process.

"This has resulted in a number of non-binding offers for the business, assets and employees on a going concern basis.

"There are also other interested parties who are in constructive discussions with the administrators which may result in further offers.

"The administrators, along with the unions and employees, have extended the unpaid temporary lay-off position beyond the 16th August 2019 to 30th September 2019 to allow additional time to seek to complete a sale of the business.

"The administrators and the limited retained team of workers at Harland and Wolff will continue to work with all interested parties and bidders as they undertake further financial and legal due diligence work in the coming weeks as every effort is made to secure a going concern sale."

ben.chapman23 August 2019 11:23

Global recession?

A Harvard economist has warned that unrest in Hong Kong could hurt the Chinese economy, with consequences globally.

Carmen Reinhart​ told Bloomberg :

“One shock that is concerning me a great deal at the moment is the turmoil in Hong Kong,” which could impact growth in China and Asia generally."

“These are not segmented regional effects, these have really global consequences. So what could be a tipping point that could trigger a very significant global slowdown, or even recession — that would be a candidate, that could be a candidate.”

China's spectacular economic growth over the past three decades has slowed down markedly since 2010, but its current rate of 6.2 per cent a year remains significantly faster than major Western economies.

ben.chapman23 August 2019 11:38

Reiss delivers soaring sales

Upmarket fashion retailer Reiss has shrugged off the high street downturn to deliver soaring sales over the first half of the year.

The British brand, which is a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, saw total group sales jump 23.7 per cent to £102.9m in the 26-week period to 3 August.

Reiss was launched in 1971 and has grown to operate 208 stores across 17 countries.

Press Association

ben.chapman23 August 2019 11:59

All Ryanair flights depart as scheduled despite strike

On day two of a walkout by some Ryanair pilots all of the airline's flights this morning departed as scheduled with 97 per cent punctuality.

Ryanair says it does not expect any disruptions today.

Yesterday more than 95 per cent of pilots reported as rostered, the airline said.

In other news Ryanair was today named as the worst brand for customer service, by Which?.

Ryanair scored just 45 per cent for customer service overall and received the lowest rating of one star in all three categories. When asked about how well the airline handles complaints, 50 per cent of respondents gave it the lowest rating possible.

ben.chapman23 August 2019 12:29

The pound is down 0.28 per cent against the dollar to $1.2216 and 0.14 per cent against the euro to €1.104

ben.chapman23 August 2019 12:59

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