Five fascinating business facts – Part 45
A new technology company is formed in the United Kingdom every hour and in the new budget the government of Theresa May seeks to raise that level to one every half hour by spending five hundred million pounds to promote private sector investment technology infrastructure and related areas.
German auto maker BMW is joining the race to secure supplies of cobalt used for making electric car batteries as accelerating demand for battery cars is leading to fears that stocks will run short and push already inflated prices higher. Sourcing of cobalt and other materials is “the most important” question BMW has to address before it decides whether to produce its own battery cells, board member Oliver Zipse said at a media briefing. More than one-half of the world’s cobalt is sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and long-term demand is expected to outpace supply due to the rise of electric vehicles, according to a Bloomberg. Securing long-term access to the material will be crucial for car-makers like BMW, who on Friday also announced a 200 million-euro ($237 million) investment into a new battery prototype center in Munich.
It may have been bad news for the British pound but the FTSE 100 index hit the highest level since June in intraday trading Friday, reaching 7565.1 at one point. The FTSE 100 has tended to move in the opposite direction to the pound since the Brexit vote in June last year. Sterling weakness has boosted the multinational groups in the index that book revenue in foreign currency and report earnings in sterling. Consumer staples stocks such as Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser and Diageo — which all source more than 90 per cent of their revenues from outside the UK, were the biggest drivers of the rally.
Kenya’s economy is displaying “extraordinary resilience” in the face of political uncertainty with the Central Bank projecting a 5.1 per cent GDP growth this year. The strength of economy can be found in the economy’s diversity and a healthy small and medium enterprises sector. Kenya was buffeted by a severe drought in the first half of the year, and a prolonged and disruptive election period in the second after the Supreme Court nullified an Aug. 8 presidential vote.
China’s Finance Ministry has said it will reduce import tariffs on a selection of consumer goods from the beginning of December. Import tariffs will be cut from an average of 17.3 per cent to 7.7 per cent on products including food, health products, medicines, clothes, shoes and hats as well as other daily goods. China is seeking to boost domestic demand as it aims to wean the economy away from over dependence on exports.
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