Britain on high alert following Manchester terror attack

Police are trying to establish whether a male suicide bomber acted alone when he detonated a device outside a concert venue in the UK’s third biggest city just after 10.30pm on Monday night as crowds were leaving the venue

Key points

  • Death toll rises to 22; children among the dead; 59 people injured
  • Suicide bomber named as 22-year-old, Manchester-born Salman Abedi
  • 23-year old man arrested in south Manchester in connection with the attack
  • Isis claims responsibility for bombing of Manchester Arena
  • Authorities trying to establish whether attacker acted alone or as part of a network
  • Arena is biggest indoor venue in UK with capacity for 21,000
  • Bomb detonated as people were leaving concert by US artist Ariana Grande
  • UK political parties suspend all campaigning for general election on June 8

 

Germany European Central Bank

The European Central Bank has once again left interest rates and its quantitative easing programme unchanged following its governing council meeting.

Key points

  • ECB main rate held at 0.00%, deposit facility at -0.40%
  • QE bond buying programme runs till end of 2017 at reduced rate of €60 billion per month
  • Risks are still ’tilted to the downside’ says Draghi
  • Admits differences of opinion within council over strength of economic recovery
  • Draghi has a dig at Germany’s finance minister Schäuble over latter’s criticism of ECB

 

FR_lepen_macron
  • Macron and Le Pen progress through to the second and final round
  • Macron tops the polls with 23.9 % of the vote; Le Pen secures 21.4%
  • Markets react positively as Macron is heavily tipped to become next French president
  • Take a look at the FT’s poll tracker
  • For further coverage of the French presidential elections click here

 

Holding image for blog

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has triggered Article 50, the process informing the EU of the UK’s intention to leave. Unless both sides agree to an extension, the notification will start a two-year period to agree a divorce deal before the bloc’s treaties cease to apply to Britain.

Key points

  • Theresa May tells MPs she has acted “on the democratic will of the British peoples”
  • European Council president Donald Tusk says “this is about damage control”
  • An annotated version of the Article 50 letter is here
  • Click here
    for an explainer on what happens next
  • For the FT’s indepth coverage visit our Brexit page

 

Palace of Westminster incident

At least four people have died and 20 have been injured in an attack in Westminster in central London. The attacker drove a car into people on Westminster Bridge before entering the grounds of the Houses of Parliament. The man, armed with knives, then stabbed and killed a police officer before being shot dead.

Key points

  • Attacker drove a car across Westminster Bridge running down numerous people
  • The man then entered grounds of parliament and stabbed and killed a police officer
  • Attacker was shot dead by police
  • Two other people on the bridge also confirmed dead, at least 20 injured
  • Security lockdown as police cordon off area around parliament

 

APTOPIX Germany European Central Bank

The European Central Bank has left interest rates and its quantitative easing programme unchanged at its governing council meeting on Thursday. The decision came against a backdrop of inflation reaching the bank’s goal of just under 2 per cent for the first time since early 2013.

Mario Draghi, ECB president, who was under pressure from the council’s hawks, stepped back from the prospect of more rate cuts.

Key points

  • ECB main rate remains at 0.00%, deposit facility at -0.40%
  • QE bond buying programme continues till at least end of 2017
  • Monthly QE due to drop from €80bn to €60bn from April as previously announced
  • ECB keeps long-term inflation forecasts unchanged
  • Draghi says “no signs yet of a convincing upward trend in underlying inflation”
  • Draghi takes more hawkish tone on monetary policy

 

US-POLITICS-TRUMP-INAUGURATION-SWEARING IN

Donald Trump has been sworn in as the 45th US president on Friday in a ceremony in Washington DC where he told the crowds in capital “the time of empty talking is over”. In a typically strident address, he declared: “America will start winning again like never before.”

Key points

  • Trump delivers a short inaugural address promising to bring back jobs and “our borders”
  • The Obamas left Washington for a break in Palm Springs, California
  • An annotated version of Trump’s speech can be found here

By Mark Odell and Emiliya Mychasuk

 

EPA

The European Central Bank has left interest rates and its quantitative easing programme unchanged.

Key points

  • ECB holds main rate at 0.00%, deposit facility at -0.40%
  • QE bond buying programme to continue until at least end of 2017
  • Level of QE to drop from €80bn to €60bn per month from April as previously announced
  • Press conference starts at 13:30 GMT

By Gemma Tetlow and Elaine Moore

 

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Scrutiny of the incoming US administration intensified on Wednesday. President-elect Donald Trump held his first formal press conference in New York and confirmation hearings for his cabinet choices continued in the Senate. There, the focus was on Rex Tillerson, the long-serving Exxon Mobil chief executive, who has been nominated for secretary of state.

Key developments

  • At his press conference, Mr Trump hit out at fresh claims about his ties to the Kremlin and detailed how he plans to separate his business interests to avoid a conflict of interests.
  • Mr Trump gave his strongest indication yet that he believes Russia was behind the hacking during the election.
  • Pharma stocks fell after Mr Trump targeted the industry over drug pricing. The peso also whipsawed after his comments on a ‘major border tax’.
  • In DC, Mr Tillerson was pushed hard by senators on the foreign relations committee regarding his ties to Russia.
  • The confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions for attorney-general also continued, with prominent civil rights leaders testifying against him.

Additional reporting by Ed Crooks.

 

Reuters

The European Central Bank has scaled back its quantitative easing programme from €80bn to €60bn a month from April 2017 and will extend it to the end of next year, in a move that responds to hawks’ concerns about ultra-loose monetary policy but which could unsettle markets. It has held rates as expected.

The ECB insists the step is not equivalent to the US move to gradually “taper” QE that unsettled markets in 2013, instead it argues the move could see it buy more bonds under the extended programme.

Key points

  • ECB holds rates at 0% but extends QE to December 2017
  • Level of bond buying programme cut to €60bn per month from April 2017
  • Asset purchase parameters broadened, including halving of minimum maturity to 1 year
  • Sovereign bond prices recover as Draghi insists tapering has not been discussed
  • Euro slides against the dollar

By Gemma Tetlow and Gavin Jackson

 

MAS_US-elections-2

Voting is underway in one of the most divisive US presidential elections in history that will see either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump win the White House.

Key points

  • Polls close from 6pm EST (11pm GMT) through to 1am ET across the country

  • The FT’s poll of polls gives Clinton a 3.3 point lead nationally

  • Focus is on a handful of battleground states where candidates are 5 points or less apart.

  • Our results coverage starts at 6pm EST; bookmark our live results page for later

  • Read our live coverage as the results come in

 

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi Announces Interest Rate Decision

The European Central Bank’s governing council has kept interest rates on hold and once again reaffirmed plans to maintain its quantitative easing programme at €80 billion to March 2017 or beyond if needed.

President Mario Draghi SAYS that the next meeting on 8 December “will define the coming months” as he warns the eurozone is subject to “downside risks”. He says there has been no discussion about extending QE beyond next March but that “an abrupt end” to quantitative easing is “unlikely”. He says the governing council had discussed “various options in case we are confronted with a shortage of purchasable bonds in some jurisdictions”

Key points

  • Interest rates are kept on hold in October

  • The ECB’s asset purchase target is unchanged at €80bn per month

  • Draghi signals next meeting in December will be key

  • Draghi says no discussion about extending QE beyond next March

By Mehreen Khan and Gavin Jackson

 

Draghi behind EU symbol

The European Central Bank’s governing council has kept interest rates on hold and reaffirmed its plans to run quantitative easing to March 2017 or beyond if needed

President Mario Draghi told the press conference that the committee did not discussion of its quantitative easing programme. But, that a committee has been tasked with evaluating optinos to “ensure a smooth implementation” of the asset purchase programme.

Economic forecasts were slightly downgraded. GDP growth in 2016 is expected to be 1.7 per cent, falling to 1.6 per cent in 2017 and 2018. This compares to a June forecast of 1.6 per cent in 2016, followed by 1.7 per cent in each of 2017 and 2018. The ECB’s forecast for inflation in 2016 remains unchanged at 0.2 per cent. Inflation in 2017 has been revised down to 1.2 per cent, from 1.3 per cent.

Key points

  • Interest rates are kept on hold in September
  • The ECB’s asset purchase target is unchanged at €80bn per month
  • Economic forecasts are slightly downgraded.
  • Draghi says that the downgrades are “not so substantial to warrant a decision to act”
  • Draghi says the ECB did not discuss an expansion of the asset buying programme

 

APTOPIX France Truck Attack

Key developments

  • At least 84 people are dead after a truck ploughed into crowds, who had gathered for Bastille day celebrations, along the seafront in Nice on Thursday night.

  • French President François Hollande described the attack, which killed at least 10 children and left another 50 people in critical condition, as a “despicable act”.

  • The attacker, who was shot and killed by police, was named as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a Tunisian national with a French visa.

  • There were no claim of responsibility by any terrorist organisation but prime minister Manuel Valls described the attacker as “a terrorist who was certainly linked to radical Islam in one way or another.”

 

The ECB has cut rates further into negative territory as it seeks to stimulate the eurozone amid the global economic downturn.

Mario Draghi has unveiled a whole host of new measures in response to the slowdown in growth in emerging markets and the sharp fall in the oil price.

Key developments

  • Headline deposit rate cut by 10 basis points to -0.40%

  • The asset purchase programme increased from €60bn to €80bn

  • Scope of QE expanded to include non-bank corporate bonds issued in eurozone

  • A new series of targeted longer-term refinancing operations aimed at providing cheap liquidity

  • GDP and inflation forecasts revised down:

  • GDP: 1.4% in 2016, 1.7% in 2017 and 1.8% in 2018

  • Inflation: 0.1% in 2016, 1.3% in 2017 and 1.6% in 2018

  • By Emily Cadman and Mark Odell

 

The latest round of global talks on climate change, dubbed COP21, begins today in Paris. Environmental campaigners want leaders to agree on emissions cuts, with the goal of limiting temperature increases to 2C.

However, prospects of a deal remain uncertain, in part because rich and poorer nations are struggling to agree on how those cuts should be paid for. Developing countries believe that those who have already become wealthy on the back of burning fossil fuels should shoulder most of the financial burden.

Key developments

Read our bluffer’s guide to the talks here.  

Key points

  • Eight arrests and at least two killed, says Paris prosecutor, after French police raid earlier in Saint-Denis, a suburb north of Paris

  • Belgian mastermind of attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud was the target of the raid but not among those arrested. Bodies yet to be identified

  • Operation “neutralised” a new, heavily-armed terrorist cell, which was ready to strike

  • In the intense firefight during the raid, terrorists fired 5,000 rounds

  • One of the dead is a female suicide bomber, explosion so powerful it collapsed a floor of the apartment

  • Belgian prosecutors have charged two men in connection with the
    Paris attacks

By Mark Odell, Josh Chaffin and John Murray Brown

 

Parisians return to work today following Friday’s attacks, which have left at least 129 people dead and many more wounded. A state of emergency remains in place.

France has responded with a series of police raids at home, and stepped up air strikes against Isis in Syria.

Key points

  • François Hollande declares: “France is at war” and tells French parliament he will seek permission to extend state of emergency declared over the weekend for three months

  • Barack Obama, speaking at the G20, again rules out large US troop presence in Syria

  • French jets have launched strikes on the Isis stronghold of Raqqa, Syria

  • Police raids, more than 150, have been carried out across France, Belgium. Many arrests made

  • Three attackers have been positively identified, all French nationals

  • UK prime minister David Cameron vows to build a case for expanding British air strikes into Syria

  • French police hunt for suspect named as Salah Abdeslam, 26, a French national, and brother of one of the dead bombers

  • A minute’s held silence across Europe

By Mark Odell, Henry Sanderson, Josh Noble and John Murray Brown

 

A series of co-ordinated attacks across Paris has left more than 120 people dead with Isis claiming responsibility.

French President François Hollande has declared a state of emergency and deployed the army around Paris in response to one of the deadliest terrorist atrocities in a western city since September 11 2001.

By Mark Odell and Josh Noble

 

UK economy watchers will be greeted with a deluge of data today, as the Bank of England releases its quarterly inflation report and the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting. It’ll also give us a rate decision (no change expected) and treat us to a Mark Carney press conference.

Economists and investors will be on the hunt for clues about the timing of any rate rise at the BoE. Expectations were given a jolt earlier this week when Fed chair Janet Yellen made bullish noises on US growth. Many now believe a December hike in Foggy Bottom is a real possibility. We’ve outlined here what to look out for.

Sarah O’Connor, Josh Noble and Mark Odell