Business News

Carrie Symonds says more UK retailers should ban coconut products from monkey labour

2020-07-03 13:47:36 admin

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s fiancée Carrie Symonds has welcomed pledges by four British retailers to stop selling coconut products that use monkey labour in their production and called on others to do the same.

“Glad Waitrose, Co-op, Boots and Ocado have vowed not to sell products that use monkey labour, while Morrisons has already removed these from its stores,” Symonds said on her Twitter account.

Symonds, a conservationist, was responding to reports which highlighted the plight of pigtailed macaques that are taken from the wild in Thailand and used on farms to harvest coconuts.

She called on all other supermarkets to boycott the products.

“I’m told Asda , Tesco and Sainsbury’s still sell such products,” she said. Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s declined to comment.

Symonds is a well known campaigner for animal rights.

The PM’s fiancee recently backed calls for puppy imports to be banned amid concerns over designer dog farming abroad.

Campaigners say Instagram accounts advertise “over-bred” pedigree puppies, intensively reared to be as small as possible, which are an attractive prospect for people looking for a unique pet.

However, these are often shipped from countries with less rigorous animal welfare standards than the UK, and the pets frequently face a long and dangerous journey.

What is monkey labour?

Monkey labour is practised by Thai farmers who use the pigtailed macaques to harvest coconuts.

A male monkey can collect an average of 1,600 coconuts per day and a female can get 600. Monkeys can be trained to collect the coconuts from the trees and are often kept in brutal conditions by the farmers.

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Amigo given more time for complaints backlog as shares jump

2020-07-03 13:47:30 admin

TROUBLED subprime lender Amigo has been given until the end of October to deal with a backlog of customer complaints it earlier promised to have dealt with by last week.

Amigo is at war with founder James Benamor who launched a bid to oust the board. He quit in March and accused the company of “committing slow-motion suicide”.

Since then it has faced thousands of complaints from customers who say they should never have been granted a loan in the first place.

The Financial Conduct Authority has given the firm longer to deal with the backlog.

The cost of dealing with the issue will be “substantially higher” than a previous estimate of £35 million. The shares jumped 5p to 13.5p on the news.

The company, which provides loans to borrowers who struggle to obtain credit from mainstream lenders if a friend or family member can act as a guarantor for them, said its liquidity remains strong

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Simon English: Enough economic caution, time to go for it

2020-07-03 13:47:20 admin

The Great British public is tentative. While pubs will probably do good trade tomorrow and God knows the nation from Boris down needs a haircut, other parts of the economy remain mired in lockdown mode.

I called in to the Westfield near White City the other day to do my patriotic duty – SuperDry shorts and sunglasses – and have seldom felt so alone in a public space. It wasn’t a shopping centre, it was a ghost town. There was plenty of supply and not enough demand.

This fear of public spaces is perfectly understandable. If you hold a nightly TV special for weeks on end, the theme of which is “How many of us died today”, folk are going to feel nervous. For a while, that was the point. They needed to be nervous.

It is time to move on. Today’s latest PMI stats offer at least some hope. The CIPS/Markit survey is one of those unwieldy, if closely watched estimates, that don’t make a lot of sense to non-economists. Broadly, a number above 50 means growth. Anything below it means contraction.

The June figure, as lockdown eased, is 47.7 – which is nearly there and way better than the 30 in May and the 13.8 recorded in April when the economy was intentionally ground to a halt.

Today’s figures show that business is ready to start moving. It needs the public to follow its lead. For most of us, a mask, hand-sanitizer, social distancing and contactless payment leads to a perfectly acceptable level of risk.

Enough of the caution; let’s go for it.

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Global stocks rise as US unemployment falls with 4.8m new jobs created

2020-07-02 13:44:23 admin

US unemployment fell in June as non-farm payrolls added 4.8 million jobs, the Labor Department said.

It was the second month of gains after a loss of more than 20 million in April, when the coronavirus pandemic put a large swath of economic activity on ice.

The unemployment rate was 11.1%. Economists had been expecting a 2.9 million increase and a jobless rate of 12.4%.

The figures were released a day early as it is a public holiday tomorrow for Independence Day.

In London stocks pushed higher with the FTSE 100 up 71 points at 6228.47. US stock futures on Wall Street also moved higher.

Last month in May the economy added 2.5 million jobs. The data surprised everyone as financial analysts had anticipated that 8 million jobs would be lost.

Richard Flynn, managing director at Charles Schwab, said: “Today’s upbeat US jobs report will build upon the market’s positive momentum from last month’s data.

“However, even if the number is trending lower, continued jobless claims over the past few weeks suggest that many job losses may become permanent as businesses struggle to reopen and unused resources and skills become outdated.

“It’s also possible that a labour market recovery may be further endangered by the latest spike in infection rates in various states. In the US, demographic data from the Center for Disease Control shows that new cases in May and June are skewing towards those that are younger, rather than towards the older portion of population as seen back in April and in months prior. While daily stock market volatility in recent weeks may be influenced in part by the rising number of cases, the overall trend in stocks seems more closely aligned with deaths than new cases.

“A second wave of deaths could in turn lead to a second wave of decline for the economy, corporate earnings and the stock market. Watching the number of deaths, rather than new cases, will be critical for investors in the weeks ahead.”

Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at Premier Miton, added: “The US jobs data came in much better than expected. Although, it is not as good as face value given incorrect classifications.

“But, no matter, risk assets will continue to benefit from the significantly improving economic trends as the US population gets back to work and spending.”

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US unemployment falls in May as non-farm payrolls add 2.5 million jobs

2020-07-02 13:44:14 admin

US unemployment unexpectedly fell in May as the world’s largest economy added 2.5 million jobs.

The data surprised everyone as financial analysts had anticipated that 8 million jobs would be lost. The unemployment rate fell from 14.7 per cent in April to 13.3 per cent last month.

The Labor Department said in its release: “These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April.”

The report showed that the jobs market improved considerably in the second half of May as businesses reopened after shutting in mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In London the FTSE 100 shot higher, up 97.40 points at 6438.84. Stocks have been rising around the globe over the past two weeks on signs that the world economy is slowly starting to get back to normal.

Naeem Aslam, analyst at Avatrade said: “The US unemployment rate has shocked everyone. Speculators were whispering for 20% unemployment. This a mind-blowing number and shows that the economy is improving. Things are not as bad as many thought. This data, if it is a true reflection of the economy, is likely to speed up the recovery for the US economy.”

Paul Craig, portfolio manager at Quilter Investors, added: “These numbers show the worst may well be behind us. It is critical that rehiring and return-to-work continues going forward given statisticians are saying that large swathes of the population are “employed but absent”. Positively there seems to be a lot of re-hiring in the hospitality sector and manufacturing, suggesting America is on the move once again.

“We were worried by the pace of decline in employment in previous months, so this is a good indication that it might not be as bad as feared. In fact it is a positive surprise to see the pace of the re-opening and economic activity.”

President Trump took to Twitter to claim credit for the improvement.

He tweeted: “Really Big Jobs Report. Great going President Trump (kidding but true)!”

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