The pound has powered past $1.40 for the first time in almost three years and has clawed most of the losses suffered since the Brexit vote in June 2016. It hit $1.4036, the highest level since 20 April, 2018, and is getting closer to $1.4860, the level it was at a day before the the referendum result was announced.
So far this year, sterling has gained 2.7% against the dollar, and it is the best-performing G10 currency. It has been lifted by the UK’s rapid vaccination drive, which has raised hopes of economic recovery in the months ahead.
The jump in the pound came despite a sharp decline in UK retail sales in January during the lockdown. The UK government borrowed £8.8bn in January, the first January deficit in 10 years, and the biggest borrowing since records began in 1993.
Stock markets are grinding higher in Europe and the US, buoyed by vaccine optimism.
Bitcoin has hit a fresh record high, rising 2.6% to $52,932, putting it on course for a weekly gain of over 8%. It has gained 60% in value so far this month and its market value is approaching $1 trillion.
Today is an exciting day for anyone working in the gig economy. Uber has lost its appeal in the UK’s Supreme Court against a landmark employment tribunal ruling that its drivers should be classed as workers with access to the minimum wage and paid holidays.
The decision has legal consequences for the pensions and benefits entitlements for these workers. Richard Lee, a partner at the law firm Gowling WLG, says:
This decision is the final confirmation that individuals working for Uber (and other businesses using this working model) are to be treated as workers and depending on the level of earnings they will now be entitled to be enrolled into an appropriate pension arrangement with minimum contributions of 3% from their employer.
It is one of a string of cases challenging the self-employed status of gig-economy workers, including action against the minicab firm Addison Lee and the delivery groups CitySprint, Excel and eCourier.
Thank you for reading. Have a great weekend, and stay safe! -JK
US business activity at 6-year high – PMI
Business activity across the US strengthened to the highest level in almost six years in February, according to a closely watched survey from IHS Markit. Its flash purchasing managers index rose to 58.9 from 58.3 in January, and is better than the 58 expected by analysts. The rise in business activity was the strongest for almost six years, as service sector firms noted greater client demand.
- Flash U.S. Composite Output Index at 58.8 (58.7 in January). 71-month high.
- Flash U.S. Services Business Activity Index at 58.9 (58.3 in January). 71-month high. Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI at 58.5 (59.2 in January). 2-month low.
- Flash U.S. Manufacturing Output Index at 57.7 (60.5 in January). 4-month low.
Go to the news source: Pound hits $1.40 on vaccine optimism; UK retail sales tumble 8.2% – as it happen…