The army has been deployed to Kent in a bid to help NHS track and trace by providing rapid tests on lorry drivers, however with 3000 lorries currently stacked up waiting for a test ministers are suggesting that the backlog may not be cleared until after Christmas.
Unfortunately, French citizens and British nationals that are hoping to return for the Christmas festivities may not be so lucky, as they will have to go through the normal testing system set out by the Government and results could take 72 hours.
The UK government has issued a warning to Brits telling them not to panic buy, however Andre Opie Director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium has warned that if the empty trucks in Kent cannot return to Europe short term, then there could be a shortage on fresh fruit, vegetables, and salad from the 27th December. However, some businesses have already suffered from the travel ban, especially companies selling fish, as premium seafood that was loaded on Sunday will go off by the time it reaches our European friends.
Therefore according to Donna Fordyce Chief Exec of Seafood Scotland “millions of pounds have been lost, much of it by small companies”. This could be another problem for the UK government as further bailouts may be required.
In other news, the Government is expecting to make a decision on whether to approve the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine potentially before Christmas. If this is approved, then this can only be good news for the UK and Global economy. However short term, cases continue to rise across the UK and reports are suggesting that more counties could be moved into tier4 as early as Boxing day, which isn’t a good sign for the UK economy.
Deadline after deadline has been missed over the last couple of months, and with only 9 days to go until the transition period expires, one would think that the UK does not have much hope. However in recent days compromise appears to have occurred on both sides and reports in the Times are suggesting that the talks hinge on ‘fish stocks worth less than £60 million’.
It appears than in recent days head EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has been accompanied by key European leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders. Some would say the head negotiator has been pushed aside as the European leaders may be the key to unlocking the deadlock regarding fishing.
If you were to ask the UK government that question, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear them say that it’s not an option, however with European officials now stating that if a deal is reached in the upcoming days there will not be time to ratify the deal, I find it difficult to see how they won’t have to extend if they want to approve a trade deal. In recent days Mr Barnier told the media that the Europeans are happy to negotiate after the 31st December as a deal appears to be in sight. UK officials have stated that they will bring MPs back to Parliament on the 30th December to vote on the deal if required.
Over the last 4 years, sterling exchange rates have remained extremely volatile off the back of Brexit related news and I expect this trend to follow up until at least the New Year. At some point we will find out whether a deal has been reached and at that point I expect major volatility one way or the other. Many forecasters have suggested a deal can only be a good thing for sterling and a no-deal would cause the pound to plummet. If you are looking to either buy or sell sterling in the upcoming days, weeks or months, I would strongly recommend getting in touch with your account manager to discuss your options.
Even through Donald Trump days are numbered in the Whitehouse, the outgoing President continues to be centre of attention as he took to his Twitter account last night to state that the new Covid bill which is supposed to provide $900bn of relief is a ‘disgrace’ and ‘wasteful’. Early reports are suggesting that Americans will receive $600 dollars, but the Republican believes that figure should be close to $2,000.
The problem Mr Trump has is that the US are set to send aid to countries such as Cambodia, Burma and Egypt and he believes this money will be used to buy military equipment from Russia. He also criticised some of the spending in the US.
In particular, why a perform Arts centre was set to receive $40m when museums and galleries in the capital alone have already received $1bn in aid.
The President has now told Congress to go and amend the bill. The longer this goes on for, further strain will be put on the poorest areas of society within the US and if he refuses to sign then the Government could shut down putting further pressure on the US dollar and the global economy.
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