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Monday newspaper round-up: BCC, foreign investment, William Hill, Gemfields

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Monday newspaper round-up: BCC, foreign investment, William Hill, Gemfields

(ShareCast News) – In a role reversal for the British economy, manufacturers have enjoyed a sales boost since the EU referendum, but the dominant services sector is showing signs of faltering, according to one of the first big economic surveys since the Brexit vote. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said that a mixed picture emerged after it took responses from more than 7,000 companies between August and September, in the largest private sector business survey in Britain. – The Times
Theresa May is to push ahead with a new system to vet foreign investment in Britain, but has heeded warnings from chancellor Philip Hammond that the country cannot afford to adopt “French-style” protectionism. The UK prime minister wants the government to be able to intervene in an “orderly and structured” way in sensitive foreign investment and is studying regimes used in other countries such as the US and Australia. – FT

Household spending bounced back last month, with people splashing out on theatre trips, restaurants and holidays, according to new figures. UK consumer spending was up 2.4% year-on-year in September, having been broadly flat in August, said payments company Visa. That was the fastest growth since April. – Guardian

Bets against the pound have hit record highs and are expected to rise further as hedge funds, investors and other speculators see the pound falling to some of its lowest levels against the US dollar. Speculators held 97,572 more contracts betting against, or “shorting”, sterling than those who were betting the currency would rise, in the week of October 4, according to data collected since 1988 by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, nearly 10,000 more than the previous week. – The Times

William Hill’s planned tie-up with the Canadian owner of PokerStars was under discussion even before 888 and Rank approached the British gambling company with their audacious bid earlier this year. The Anglo-Canadian merger, which is expected to be finalised within weeks, will see the new £5bn online gambling giant list in London and retain William Hill’s headquarters in the capital. – Telegraph

The government has watered down plans to make companies reveal how many foreign workers they employ, after an international outcry and claims by a former ally of David Cameron that they were “divisive, repugnant and insanely bureaucratic”. Amber Rudd, home secretary, attracted international criticism after announcing that companies would have to “be clear” about the proportion of their workforce that was international, as part of a drive to encourage them to hire locally. – FT

Britain will support China’s application for full rights as a member of the World Trade Organisation in a move that could have damaging consequences for the UK’s struggling steel industry. China is pushing for market economy status at the WTO that would limit other members’ ability to impose anti-dumping duties on its exports. Under WTO rules, countries become eligible 15 years after joining – in China’s case this December. – The Times

The luxury property market in the UK is gradually recovering following the shock of Britain voting to leave the EU, according to one of the country’s leading property agents. Knight Frank said the number of exchanges agreed on homes worth more than £750,000 was down 20% on last year since the referendum, while the value of commercial property sales in July and August was 47% down on 2015. – Guardian

Gemfields, the emerald and ruby miner, is weighing a potential sale of its luxury jewellery business Fabergé after receiving interest from a number of suitors over the past few months. Gemfields bought Fabergé – famed for its intricate, jewelled Russian Imperial eggs – for around £90m in 2012 from private equity firm Pallinghurst Resources. – Telegraph

High street banks are about to be forced to redirect all the small business loan applications that they reject to a rival. A Treasury initiative designed to help to break the stranglehold that the big banks have on small business lending is scheduled to be implemented within the next three months. – The Times

Goldman Sachs has yet to decide whether to move jobs from London after the Sunday Times reported it was preparing to shift 2,000 staff in the advent of a hard Brexit. Responding to the report that the firm would move one in three of its London-based employees elsewhere in Europe if single market access was lost, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman said the bank was undecided on its response to Brexit. – Telegraph

The Metropolitan police is planning to make the fight against crime pay. The force wants to go into business with the private sector to make money from providing training to other constabularies and foreign police forces in a market that is reckoned to be worth more than £1 billion. In setting up a commercial arm called Met Enterprise, the largest police force in the country hopes to monetise its brand and its training expertise as well as to help with the funding of policing the capital. – The Times

Samsung’s smartphone recall crisis has deepened after South Korean media said the tech giant had suspended production of its troubled Galaxy Note 7 model amid reports that replacement devices had caught fire. Citing an unnamed source at a Samsung supplier, the news agency Yonhap said the company on Monday decided to halt production of the smartphone, one of the most advanced and expensive products of its kind on the market. – Guardian

Facebook’s UK arm ended 2015 with an £11.3m credit to offset against future tax payments just months after vowing to contribute more to the Exchequer. Despite reporting a worldwide profit of $6.19bn (£4.97bn), accounts for the social network’s British holding company show that it ended the year with a £11.3m tax credit, compared to a charge of £4,327 in the prior year. – Telegraph

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