Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Sterling reaches highest level since July 19th - just after Boris Johnson became Prime Minister
European Commission president says deal is policy, softens line on backstop
Bank of England keeps policy interest rateat 0.75pc
Trump attacks gutless Powell as Fedcuts interest rate to combat Presidents trade war damage
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:Iran and Saudi Arabia must take great care to preserve their golden goose

Pound wrap: for now!
Sterling seems fairly steady at the moment so I'll close the live updates here (unless anything dramatic happens of course!)
Louis Ashworth will be back with you tomorrow morning.
Until then, here's a few of our latest articles on the pound to sink your teeth into...
Sterling crisis | Everything you need to know
The pound's steady comeback
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

The pound hasn't reached this level since July 19th - just after Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.
The currency has mounted a steady comeback over the past two weeks as Mr Johnson suffered a series of defeats over no-deal in Parliament.
It had reached a 34-year low at the start of September following six months of declines.
What did Juncker say...
What made the pound react like that? Well, here's a bit of what Mr Juncker said to Sky News this evening...
A no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic
I dont like the idea of no-deal"
"This was a rather positive meeting [with Boris Johnson]"
"We can have a deal"
He refused to comment on whether he thought the chance of reaching a deal was above or below 50pc.
Sterling starts soaring
The pound is currently 0.61pc up against the dollar at $1.2551 and 0.39pc higher against the euro at 1.1351.
Markets Hub - US Dollar
New: Juncker tells he believes we can have a deal on Brexit by 31 October
Were back live again, as the pound has leapt against the euro and dollar in after hours trading, following comments by Jean-Claude Juncker to Sky News in which the European Commission President said he believed a Brexit deal is still possible by 31 October.
Heres the full clip:
EC President @JunckerEU said he thinks a #Brexit deal can be reached by 31 October.

Speaking exclusively to @RidgeOnSunday, he also warned that a no-deal #Brexit would be "catastrophic" for Britain and for the EU.

Check out the full interview on #Ridge from 8.30am this Sunday. Sky News (@SkyNews) September 19, 2019
The pound has touched $1.255 on the back of Mr Juckers comments, its highest level since late July. My colleague LaToya Harding will take over and provide updates from here.
Wrap-up: Fading fears and predictable moves make for contented markets
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Pedestrians pass a sign at the London Stock Exchange Group headquarters

Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
There were no big surprises from the Bank of England today, and that seems to have sat just fine with investors: the FTSE and sterling advanced hand-in-hand, with about two-thirds of blue-chip stocks climbing.
Threadneedle Streets decision was hardly a surprise, and traders will go forward with the knowledge that the central bank has kept its ammunition ready if things are looking ugly after October.
There were few shocks across individuals stock either, though the shock of Nexts near-6pc fall is a reminder of just how untouchable the retailer has seemed lately.
Ill leave you with this:
Do you have a question for Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England?

Tweet us questions using #AskTheGovernor or email us by 5pm on 8 Oct.

Include your name and where you're from.

We'll put some of them to the Governor at our session on 15 Oct.

? Treasury Committee (@CommonsTreasury) September 19, 2019
Thats all for me today. Join us again tomorrow for the latest new on business, markets and economics! Have a good evening.
FTSE closes up 0.58pc
European stocks have ended the day up, with the FTSE 100 climbing 42.37 points to 7,356.42.
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

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Round-up: Ashley defeated over Debenhams legal challenge, Saga bosses meet with activist, ECB firepower dented
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley had bankrolled a legal challenge against Debenhams

John Nguyen/JNVisuals
Here are three top stories from this afternoon:
Fresh blow for Mike Ashley as Debenhams legal challenge is dismissed:Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley was criticised by a judge on Thursday after his attempt to derail a rescue plan for Debenhamswas thrown out of court.
Saga meets with activist Elliott as boss warns of bloodytravel market: Saga said it hadheld constructiveconversations withactivist investor Elliott as it battles a tough travel market and pressesahead with a turnaround to steady its ship.
ECB firepower dentedas banks shun cheap new loans:Eurozone banks have shunned the cheap new loans offered by the European Central Bank to boost growth, promptinganalysts to warnthe paltry take-up would mean they are a much less potent weapon.
Spread-better IG leads FTSE 250 risers after strong first-quarter performance
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

IG Group boss June Felix
Spread-betting platform IG Group is leading risers on the FTSE 250 currently, up nearly 10pc after upbeat first quarter results, which showed revenues were flat year-on-year, but up the past three quarters.
The company said it had benefitted fromactive clients growth, and increased client trading activity during favourable market conditions in August.
Peel Hunt analysts called the results a positive surprise, adding:

For the rest of the year we should see contributions from the various initiatives that have gone live and remain confident thatIGhas reached an inflection point.
Finnish central bank governor: Britain would be hit far worse than Europe by no-deal Brexit
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Bank of Finland Governor Olli Rehn

At a Parliamentary hearing in Helsinki, Bank of Finland President Olli Rehn has said the UK will be much worse hit than the eurozone in the event Britain crashes out of Europe without a deal.
Citing Bank of England figures that suggested no-deal would prompt an 8pc contraction (which have since been updated to 5.5pc), Mr Rehn said:

The contraction that would be felt in the euro area is small in comparison our an the ECBs estimate puts it between 10pc and 30pc.

He said Ireland would suffer the most, followed by France and Germany.
Full report: Royal Mail admits breaking competition law
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Royal Mail's Parcel Force division was the guilty party

IndustryEditor Alan Toveyhas more on Ofcoms crackdown on a parcel-delivery cartel (see 8:07am update):

Regulator Ofcom saidRoyal Mailworked with SaleGroup, a reseller of delivery services, on an illegal anti-competitive agreement, which meant they did not compete for each others customers.
SaleGroup is an online business that arranges deliveries for small and medium-sized business customers by sourcing multiple parcel operators, rather than carrying out deliveries itself.
Royal Mails Parcelforce division and SaleGroup, trading as Despatch Bay, agreed a deal whereby they shared information on customers between August 2013 and May 2018.
All the juicy details (insofar as a parcel cartel can be deemed juicy) can be found here:Royal Mail admits to breaking competition law with cartel on parcel deliveries
Supreme Court to rule on prorogation early next week
Over in the Supreme Court, Lady Has said the judges will give their verdict early next week. Follow the latest here:
Brexit latest news: Sir John Major says Boris Johnsons reasons for proroguing Parliament cannot be true in Supreme Court intervention
The pound has climbed against the euro as proceedings wrapped up, and is now standing about 0.1pc up. It is flat against the dollar.
?Supreme Court say they hope to make ruling EARLY NEXT WEEK.
(So probably when Boris Johnson is in NYC and Jeremy Corbyn is at Labour conference). Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) September 19, 2019
Stock markets advance after central bankers deliver on expectations
Equity indices across Europe and North America are all in the green currently, with at healthy gains of at leasthalf a point on most bourses on the continent.
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

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Wall Street is lagging slightly, with the benchmark S&P 500 currently up 0.3pc.
Full report: Kier boss insists it is no Carillion
Kier Group shares, continuing their wild ride today, are now up just 1.7pc. Industry Editor Alan Tovey has a full report on the companys full-year results:

Kier Group is absolutely not the next Carillion, the boss of the struggling construction and services business insisted, despite crashing to a ?245m annual loss and announcing the chairmans departure after just two years.
Andrew Davies, chief executive of the company that works on infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and HS2 and provides environmental services such rubbish collection, issued the denial amid ongoing concernabout Kiers stability.
Read more:Kier is no Carillion despite plunging to ?245m loss, boss insists
Kier's new boss | Who is Andrew Davies?
EY: Only 1,000 banking jobs have left London for Europe ahead of Brexit
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Canary Wharf, where many of Britains biggest banks are based

Daniel Borg/Moment RF
Only 1,000financial servicesjobshave left London and moved to rival European hubs ahead of the UKs withdrawal from the EU, a study by audit giant EY has claimed. Banking Editor Lucy Burton reports:

Accountants EY calculated that only 15pc of the roles earmarked for relocation ahead of Brexit had transferred, but the firm warned banks not to take their foot off the gas.
Financial services firms have the building blocks in place, but have so far transferred fewer staff and assets to the continent than expected,said EYs UK finance expert Omar Ali. So there is still lots for the industry to contend with as we approach Oct31.
Dublin remains the most popular location for banks to relocate staff, with 29 companies telling EY they were considering moving roles or operations there. Luxembourg and Frankfurt also featured high up on the list.

You can read her full report here:Just 1,000 banking jobs have left UK ahead of Brexit so far
No deal Brexit | How will investment banks react?
Fed inject cash into money markets for third day
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has dipped into the US money markets for the third day in a row, as it tries to deflate a surge in rates on currency loans brought on by poor liquidity.
The central branch wing, which carries out financial actions for the main Federal Reserve, took a further $75bn to the markets today, all of which was snapped up. For the second time in a row, it could not satisfy demand.
Continuing with the US Federal Reserve results someone who put up US Treasuries as collateral ( $482 million) did not get their cash or bids were pro-rata'd down. Someone will not be happy..... Shaun Richards (@notayesmansecon) September 19, 2019
Repo rates have normalised since spiking on Monday and Tuesday, but that a wobble occurred at all is a sign of problem in a key bit of financial plumbing.
Full report: Gloomy Bank of England holds rates
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

The Bank of England held interest rates at 0.75pc

Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg
Heres the full details on the Banks decision from my colleague Russell Lynch, who writes:

The Bank of England cut growth forecasts on Thursday but refused to join the chorus of cutting by central banks around the world as policymakers held fire ahead of a possible no-deal Brexit.
The nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to hold interest rates at 0.75pc and keep its money-printing programme at ?435bn following the two-day meeting.
Minutes showed Threadneedle Street now believes the economy grew by just 0.2pc between July and September, worse than the 0.3pc expected by the Bank at the time of last months inflation report, thanks to weaker car production.
Read more here:Bank of England gloomier on growth but refuses to join Fed in cutting rates
Twitter say violent dictators can stay on its platform... as long as they follow the rules
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Twitter has faced criticism over its moderation policies

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Twitters director of public policy has told a US Senate hearing that allowing violent dictators to tweet is beneficial because it promotes dialogue. TelegraphUS tech report Laurence Dodds reports:

Nick Pickles, Twitters director of public policy, told a US Senate hearing that the social network would continue to allow autocrats and tyrants to spread their message as long as they did not break Twitters own rules.
Banning them, he argued, would not change their behaviour on the ground, whereas allowing them to tweet would create debate about their policies and their positions.
The remarks were part of an inquiry by the US Senate's commerce committee intoextremism and terrorist violence on social media, with executives from Twitter, Facebook and Google responding to accusations that their services had become terrorist training camps.
Read more here:Twitter says murderous dictators can stay on its service as long as they follow the rules
Technology intelligence - newsletter promo - EOA
IoD: Monetary policy is a hostage to uncertainty
Reacting to the Bank of Englands decision to hold rates, the Institute of Directorss Tej Parikh said:

The Bank of England feels it has little leeway to do anything other than hold interest rates, with monetary policy still a hostage to uncertainty.
Though strong wage growth may point to inflationary pressures down the line, right now its best to keep interest rates low to support businesses and households while the risk of a disorderly no-deal Brexit lingers. The recent drop in the headline inflation figures has also given the MPC additional backing to put any rate hikes on ice.

Fidelitys Sajiv Vaid added:

The job of the MPC has unquestionably been made difficult by navigating monetary policy against the uncertainty caused by theBrexit shenanigans over the last year or so, and one can make the case that until there is clarity on the matter the MPC are best served by holding fire.
I would argue that given the anaemic growth in the UK is already trending below the Banks own projections and with little clarity on the timing of a Brexit resolution (soft or hard) or even a general election, the case for an insurance cut has become even more pertinent.
Full report: August retail figures fall as online sales slip
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Julys figures were lifted by Amazon Prime Day sales
Economics correspondent Tom Rees has a full report on this mornings retail sales figures. He writes:

Rising pay packets failed to spur shopping last month as online retail sales suffered a hangover from a bumper July in their biggest drop of the year.
Sales including fuel fell 0.2pc in August from the previous month, dragged down by lower volumes in online retailing after a boostfromAmazons Prime Dayin July.
Overall volumes recorded their first fall in three months but the slide was mitigated by a meagre 0.1pc rise in the non-food stores and good stores categories, the Office for National Statistics revealed.
Read more:Retail sales sink as online suffers Prime Day hangover
Market reaction to Bank decision muted
Reaction on the markets to the Banks policy announcement has been pretty muted: sterling, which has been dipping slightly since around 11am, is now about 0.3pc off against dollar. Elsewhere, the FTSE 100 and 250 are both holding solid gains of around 0.5pc apiece.
Bank estimates the Spending Round plans could add 0.4% to GDP over 3 yrs - helpful but may not offset damage from prolonged uncertainty/ disruptive exit Dharshini David (@DharshiniDavid) September 19, 2019
BoE: move along, nothing to see here Neil Wilson (@marketsneil) September 19, 2019
#BoE reiterates 'gradual & limited' tightening, repeats that policy response to no-deal #Brexit is not automatic & could go either way

Absolutely no surprises here, $GBP going nowhere

Full statement here - Michael Brown (@MrMBrown) September 19, 2019
Snap take: Some alarms, but no surprises from Threadneedle Street
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

The Bank of England has held its policy interest rate

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
The Bank of England has warned over the varied paths Britains economy could take in the coming months, as the country hurtles towards a major fork in the road over Brexit.
Policymakers noted the darkening picture over global trade and impending exit deadline, but voted unanimously to keep their powder dry, as it continues to advocate a reactive monetary approach to Brexit.
Minutes from the latest meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee say entrenched Brexit uncertainties and slower global growthhave led to the re-emergence of a margin of excess supply.
The Bank cut its growth forecasts, but said if Britaingets a deal, rates will be going up. In the event of greater clarity that the economy was on a path to a smooth Brexit, and assuming some recovery in global growth, a significant margin of excess demand was likely to build,say the minutes.
Bank notes intensities over trade war, warns about impact of no-deal Brexit
Policymakers voted unanimously to hold the bank rate at 0.75pc. The Bank says:

Since the MPCs previous meeting, the trade war between the United States and China has intensified, and the outlook for global growth has weakened. Monetary policy has been loosened in many major economies. Shifting expectations about the potential timing and nature of Brexit have continued to generate heightened volatility in UK asset prices, in particular the sterling exchange rate has risen by over 3 1/2 %.
Read more | The next Bank of England Governor
It adds:

For most of the period following the EU referendum, the degree of slack in the UK economy has been falling and global growth has been relatively strong. Recently, however, entrenched Brexit uncertainties and slower global growth have led to the re-emergence of a margin of excess supply. Increased uncertainty about the nature of EU withdrawal means that the economy could follow a wide range of paths over coming years. The appropriate response of monetary policy will depend on the balance of the effects of Brexit on demand, supply and the sterling exchange rate.
It is possible that political events could lead to a further period of entrenched uncertainty about the nature of, and the transition to, the United Kingdoms eventual future trading relationship with the European Union. The longer those uncertainties persist, particularly in an environment of weaker global growth, the more likely it is that demand growth will remain below potential, increasing excess supply. In such an eventuality, domestically generated inflationary pressures would be reduced.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the exchange rate would probably fall, CPI inflation rise and GDP growth slow. The Committees interest rate decisions would need to balance the upward pressure on inflation, from the likely fall in sterling and any reduction in supply capacity, with the downward pressure from any reduction in demand. In this eventuality, the monetary policy response would not be automatic and could be in either direction.
BREAK: Bank of England holds policy interest rate at 0.75pc
As expected, the Bank has held rates. Heres how that looks in the longer term:
Kier shares swing back on positive commentary
After starting the morning in the dumps (see 8:54am update), Kier Group shares are now up nearly 6pc up on the day. It looks like some positive commentary by analysts might be behind the turnaround.
Peel Hunt have stuck a buy rating on the struggling outsourcer, saying its full-year results showed clear strategic progress. Analyst Andrew Nussey wrote:

The disposal of Kier Living is progressing well and we are encouraged by the progress in reshaping Kier and the strengthening of the balance sheet. The new management is positioned to restore value.

Heres how the movement had looked today:
Debenhams defeats Mike Ashley in High Court battle over store rents
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Debenhams will be able to proceed with store closures

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe
Debenhams has defeated Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley in its bid to press ahead with a proposal to begin aprocess that will lead to location closures.
Mr Ashley had funded a case by landlords against the beleaguered department store, which was taken to the High Court.
Debenhams Timeline
Debenhams will now be continue with its company voluntary arrangement process: letting it renegotiate rents on its stores, and close some locations.
Its boss Stefan Vansteenkiste said:

We are delighted that the court has today confirmed that our CVA is effective and will continue to be implemented as planned.

Heres Chief City Commentator Ben Marlow:
Debenhams lives to fight another day as Mike Ashley-backed High Court challenge to CVA is thrown out. Here is something I penned recently on how the future of both Debs and the wider high street hinged on the case: Ben Marlow (@benjaminmarlow) September 19, 2019
(Another) full report: Ryanair shareholders rebel against OLeary pay package
The news articles keep rolling in! Heres Sophie Smith with more on that Ryanair revolt:

Ryanair shareholders have narrowly approved theairlines plan to give its long-serving chief executive Michael OLeary a bonus package thatcould earn him up to99m(?87.5m).
The remuneration scheme, which requires him to either double the profitability or share price of the low-cost carrier within five years, was approved by 50.5pcof votes.
It means Mr OLeary could still bein line forone of thebiggest payouts in British corporate history, despitea tumultuous year for the company.
Read more here:Ryanair investors revolt against Michael OLearys giant pay package
Full report: OECD blames trade war for growth forecast cut
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

The OECD warned that the tit-for-tat warfare between the two economic giants will continue to exert a significant drag on global activity and trade over the next two years

Economics editor Russell Lynch has a full report on the latest OECD report. He writes:

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developments updated economic outlook slashed growth prospects for almost all the worlds major economies in 2019 and 2020, calling for collective effort to halt the trade war.
The OECD cut world growth forecasts by 0.2 percentage points to 2.9pc for this year, while the 2020 outlook is now 0.4 percentage points below its estimates four months ago the weakest annual global growth rates since the financial crisis.
In the UK, where the prospect of a no-deal Brexit remains a serious downside risk, the OECD cut growth estimates to 1pc from 1.2pc in 2019, and expects the economy in 2020 to advance by just 0.9pc.
Read more here:Trade war to blame for weakest global growth since financial crisis, warns OECD
Economic Intelligence newsletter SUBSCRIBER (article)
United Utilities shares slip after Jefferies downgrade
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Lake Windemere, one of the sources from which United Utilities draws water

Owen Humphreys/PA
The UKs biggest water company, United Utilities, is one of the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 today, following a downgrade by Jefferies analyst Ahmed Farman.
Jefferieshad offered a broadly supportive assessment of the UKs water sector in June, but Mr Farman wrote in a note today:

However, our mark-to-market assessment of regulation suggests that baseline returns are likely to see a further cut in December. With this, we see amplified risks around the sustainability of UU's current dividend policy, and see material downside to consensus forecasts.
The note was more positive on British Gas-owner Centrica. Mr Farman wrote:

We see Centrica's new strategy delivering stable earnings and a more resilient dividend and balance sheet. Clearly, there are execution risks relating to cost-cutting measures and disposals, but with the stock trading at a 50pc discount to theutilitysector (at historical lows of 8x forward P/E) and offering 6.7pc cash yield, we see the risk-reward as attractive.

Heres a summary of Jefferies utility picks:
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Meanwhile, in Westminster...
...the Supreme Court is set to hear from former Prime Minister Sir John Major, who is arguing against the prorogation of Parliament by Boris Johnson.
You can follow our live blog here:Brexit latest news: Watch the final day of the Supreme Court challenge to prorogation as Sir John Major intervenes
Ryanair investors rebel against remuneration report
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Ryanair boss Michael OLeary

Ryanair has suffered a major insurrection from its investors, with nearly nearly half voting against its remuneration plans after boss Michael OLeary was granted a bonus that includes options worth nearly 100m.
Only 50.5pc of votes were cast in favour of the report, putting the airline within a hairs breadth of defeat. There were also protests against several board appointments, with around a quarter of votescasts against the re-appointment of chairman David Bonderman.
A Ryanair spokesperson said:

Ryanair is, and will continue to, consult with its shareholders, and we will report back to them over the coming year on how the Board will adapt its decision making to reflect their advice and input on all these topics.

The companys share price has slid in recent years. It argues Mr OLearys basic pay and bonus have been cut, and that he will only be able to cash in on the options he being offered if it can hit the targets set by its ambitious plans.
European stocks up across the board
The FTSE has joined the bullish sentiment:
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

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Sterling is flat against the euro and dollar currently.
Exclusive:Hargreaves Lansdown scraps controversial exit charges
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Hargreaves charged a ?30 account closure fee, plus ?25 per fund and ?25 for any cash held

NICK FIELDING / Alamy Stock Photo
A cracking exclusive from Telegraph Moneys Jonathan Jones today:Hargreaves Lansdown has removed nine investor charges including controversial exit feesas it seeks to repair its reputation following its involvement in the Neil Woodford debacle.
Jonathan reports:

In the wake of the freezing of Mr Woodfords giant Equity Income fund thisnewspaper called onthe stockbroker Britain's largest to let affected customers switch providers free of charge.
It refused, but now in a u-turnit has decided that allinvestors will not becharged fees normally levied ostensibly to cover the cost of administrative tasks, including selling lines of stock or funds when moving money elsewhere.
You can read his full report here:Exclusive: Hargreaves Lansdown scraps controversial exit charges
Investment editor Taha Lokhandwala explains:

The idea that you could be charged for taking your business elsewhere has always been absurd. Imagine this in any other industry. Imagine having to pay to walk out of Tesco to go Sainsburys across the road.
Todays news is a victory for the everyday investor. Hargreaves Lansdown is the biggest fund shop in the country but its fee structure always left a bitter taste. Particularly after its plugging of Neil Woodfords fund when others were astutely advising customers to steer clear.
There is more to be done though. For investors to receive the best service and the best value for money, they need to able to swap between fund shops for free and with ease. Hargreaves has made the right call and rivals AJ Bell and The Share Centre should follow suit.
Investor newsletter REFERRAL (article)
OECD cuts global forecast, says no-deal Brexit could push UK into recession
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

OECD chief economist Laurence Boone

The OECD has released its latest Interim Economic Outlook report, win which it has slashed its outlook for global growth to the lowest level since the financial crisis.
It now expects total global growth of 2.9pc, down from 3.2pc, amid trade war worries and other issues.
The OECD said:

The outlook identifies the trade conflicts as the principal factor undermining confidence, growth and job creation across the world economy, and underlines that continuation of trade restrictions and political uncertainty could bring additional adverse effects.
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

It adds, addressing Brexit directly:

Substantial uncertainty persists about the timing and nature of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, particularly as concerns a possible no-deal exit which could push the UK into recession in 2020 and lead to sectoral disruptions in Europe.
You can read the full report here:OECD sees rising trade tensions and policy uncertainty further weakening global growth
Reaction: Retail sector looks solid despite fading online sales boost
Responding to those retail sector figure, Capital Economics Andrew Wishart says:

The fall in sales on the month was driven by a 3.2pcfall in non-store (i.e. online) sales. But that just marked the partial unwinding of a 7.6pc m/m jump in July due to promotions including Amazons prime day. Whats more, while overall sales fell in August, the monthly rise in July was revised up from 0.2pc to 0.4pc. That left 3m/3m growth in sales at 0.6pc, unchanged from Q2.
Looking ahead, surveys of retail sales are dire, suggesting sales will stagnate at best. But they have been overly-pessimistic for some time. With real pay rising at its fastest pace since 2016, there is a good chance retail sales growth will actually pick up from here.

He (along with nearly everyone else), thinks continued strong consumer demand means the Bank of England will hold rate, and avoid the global trend toward easing unless there is a no-deal Brexit.
Investors adjust options to prepare for a no-deal Brexit
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Some investors are hedging against a rate cut from the Bank of England

Hannah Mckay/REUTERS
It looks like some investors are already getting prepared for a possible no-deal Brexit.
Money-markettraders having been taking contractsfor bets or hedges against the UKs interest rates, amid expectations that the Bank of England may rapidly slash its policy rates in the event of a disorderly exit.
In (hopefully) plainer English, that means they one investor of more are ensuring that they can take a long position in short-sterling futures, i.e. they will be able to place a betthat the pounds value will fall, a likely side-effect of rates cuts.
Heres how those built-up options look over time:
The intense spikemassively outstrips the increase in the build-up to Britains postponed exit at the end of March.
The Financial Timesreports that option positions on an interest rate cut hit a record high via Londons main derivatives exchange. It says:

Open interest a measure of traders live positions in futures and options on UK rates over the next three months surged to 18.4m contracts on Tuesday at ICE Futures Europe, the main derivatives exchange in London. The options, if exercised, would allow investors to profit from unexpected rate cuts or protect themselves from the damage stemming from rapid rate rises.

The FT says many of the contracts will expire by by the end of the year, with others holding deeper in 2020.
As a reminder, no cut is expected from the Bank today, so these positions are aimed at expected moves later in the year with Britain set to exit on 31 October.
Retail sales: key takeaways
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Retail sales slowed down during August

Here are the Office for National Statisticss main takeaways from the retail figures:
In the three months to August 2019, moderate growth in the quantity bought continues at 0.6pc when compared with the previous three months, with growth in non-store retailing being the main contributor to the increase.
The monthly growth rate in the quantity bought in August 2019 fell by 0.2pc; non-store retailing was the largest contributor to this fall, partially offsetting the strong growth reported last month for this sector.
The year-on-year growth rate shows that the quantity bought in August 2019 increased by 2.7pc; this is a slowdown compared to the stronger growth experienced earlier in the year which peaked at 6.7pc in March 2019.
Online sales as a proportion of all retailing fell to 19.7pc in August 2019, from the 19.9pc reported in July 2019.
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

You can read the full ONS report here:Retail sales, Great Britain: August 2019
#Softer news on #UK #consumer spending front as #retail sales volumes edged down 0.2% month-on-month in August (+0.4% in July) causing year-on-year increase to moderate to 2.7% from 3.4%. But 3-month/3-month growth rate in volumes edged up to 0.6% in August from 0.5% in July Howard Archer (@HowardArcherUK) September 19, 2019
Just in: Retail sales slipped in August
Retail sales fell narrowly in August, from 3.3pc yeay-on-year in July to 2.8pc. Julys figures were revised upwards 0.2pc.
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

More follows...
Next leads FTSE 100 fallers
Despite rising profits, retailer Next is leading fallers on the FTSE 100 today. It looks like investors may be seizing on comment from boss Lord Wolfson in a press release accompanying the results. He said:

So far, we have weathered the retail storm, we have adapted what we do and have a business model that, for the moment, works in an online world. Our sales and Earnings per Share are ahead of where they were five years ago, our business delivers healthy net margins and we remain highly cash generative.
But although we can see a way through the woods, we are not out the other side yet. Consumer markets remain extremely volatile, the Online world changes rapidly, and the uncomfortable transition away from high retail rents is by no means complete. It would be a huge mistake to underestimate the scale of the challenge facing our business or assume that, from here-on-in, all will progress smoothly.

Its shares are currently off 4pc, having climbed almost 50pc this year.
JD Sports mulls options ahead of Footasylum takeover probe
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

JD Sports is looking to acquire rival Footasylum

Sportswear retailer JD Sports has announced it is considering accepting a full (Phase 2) probe of its acquisition of rival Footasylum by the Competition and Markets Authority.
The CMA has already said it plans to undertake the investigation, but it could be avoided if JD and the watchdog can settle on other changes.
JD chairman Peter Cowgill said:

We continue to believe that Footasylum would be a positive addition to the Group, bringing a differentiated customer demographic and fashion-led product range that is complementary to our existing business. We also believe that there will be significant operational and strategic benefits from a combination of the two businesses.
Our discussions with the CMA are ongoing as we consider whether to proceed to Phase 2 or if acceptable remedies can be agreed at this stage. We look forward to working constructively with the CMA in this regard and will provide further updates in due course.
Heres more:JD Sportsdeal to buy Footasylum could lead to higher pricessays watchdog
The announcement seems to have landed poorly with investors, pushing the retailers shares down just under 2pc.
Kier Group shares plummet further after it swings to loss
Pound leaps to highest level since July as Juncker says Brexit deal can be reached

Kier has been struggling after a series of setbacks

Leon Neal/Getty
Struggling outsourcer Kier Group has swung to a full-year loss of ?345m, and announced it has begun looking for a new chairman.
The full-year loss is the latest blow to the company, which has been struggling to shake off doubts about its performance as it undertakes a restructuring plan following a series of setbacks including an accounting error and a profit warning.
Philip Cox, the groups chairman since 2017, is now heading for the door, having overseen the selection of a new management team.
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Commenting on the results, chief executive Andrew Davies said:

Kier experienced a difficult year, resulting in a disappointing financial performance. However, we are building firm foundations for the future: we have a new management team in place, we have defined our strategic priorities and we are taking decisive actions to deliver them

Liberum analysts branded the results grubby and said Kier is not out of the woods yet entirely, but added: revised earnings estimates are now very achievable.
Shares in the firm are down a further 7pc this morning:
Look ahead: Bank of England expected to hold policy interest rate
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