We’ve summarised the top stories of the last week into an easily digestible briefing, so that you can stay up to date on what’s happening around the world. You can subscribe to receive the briefing in your inbox each week.
Business & Economics
- Petrol supplies are still not reaching the South East of England as supplies start to return to normal levels in Scotland, Wales, and the North of England. On Sunday morning around 22% of the South-East’s filling stations were completely empty, compared to only 6% in the other regions of the UK. It is hoped that as military personnel start assisting in the delivery of petrol on Monday, supplies across the country will recover.
- Clayton, Dublier & Rice, a US private equity group, has won an auction for supermarket chain Morrisons, beating out rival firm Fortress. It is believed Morrisons shareholders will accept the £7 billion bid made by Clayton, Dublier & Rice in a meeting set for the 19th October.
- Oil prices rose to $80 a barrel on Tuesday for the first time in over three years. The price of the international benchmark, Brent Crude, peaked on Tuesday after rising for seven consecutive days amidst an energy crisis in Europe. Analysts believe that oil prices will continue to rise as demand rises, with investment bank Goldman Sachs claiming that prices could hit $90 by the end of the year.
- Afghanistan’s economy is feared to be on the brink of collapse after a report by an Afghan bank boss claimed that banks were unable to function or provide full services. Even before the Taliban takeover, the Afghan economy was already in poor shape, with 40% of its GDP coming from foreign aid. After the Taliban took over, the West froze assets the country could access from the IMF and World Bank, leaving questions over whether the country’s economy will stay afloat without these funds.
- The national shortage of lorry drivers has continued to cause supply shortages of many foodstuffs, including meat and milk. Fresh produce has been particularly badly affected from the UK’s departure from the European Union which has had the unintended knock on effect of leading to a shortage of lorry drivers. Without these lorry drivers, supermarkets are not receiving enough deliveries to sustain demand, leading to supply shortages.
- Virgin Money is set to close 12 branches in Scotland early next year as it reports a decrease in the number of customers who use the branches daily. These closures in Scotland will be accompanied by a further 18 branch closures nationwide, putting 112 jobs at risk.
- The rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) is set to rise Friday from 5% to 12.5%, a move which many argue will put pressure on restaurants. Trade bodies have pushed for a halt to the change, citing that the hospitality sector is only just recovering from the pandemic, which may force many restaurants to increase prices significantly.
- The secret wealth of foreign leaders and other billionaires has been exposed following a leak of financial documents dubbed the ‘Pandora Papers’. Over 11 million files uncover the tax dealings of famous political figures such as Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Along with 300 other individuals, these leaders are facing allegations of tax avoidance and corruption as they are revealed to be the owners of offshore firms and accounts.
- Protests broke out across Brazil last Saturday as the population protested against the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro. The protests, organised by opposition parties and trade unions, took place in over 160 towns and cities. These demonstrations come after over 100 requests were filed to impeach the president after his relaxed Covid-19 measures were argued to have caused the deaths of 600,000 Brazilians.
- Taiwan reports cases of Chinese military planes, including nuclear-capable bombers, flying into its defence zone over the weekend. The Taiwanese government reported that 38 Chinese planes flew into its defence zone on Friday and 39 on Saturday, marking the largest Chinese incursion on the defence zone to date.
- North Korea has reported that it has fired its first anti-aircraft missile on Thursday, claiming that the testing of such weapons is needed for self-defence. This is the fourth weapons test in a month and comes days after the country fired its first Hypersonic missiles, which are believed by many to have the potential to be fitted with nuclear warheads.
- Trade talks between Australia and the EU have been postponed amid Australian tensions with France following the signing of the new AUKUS security partnership. Whilst Australia’s decision to form part of the AUKUS security partnership has angered French officials, both countries have expressed their willingness to mend their relations.
- Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid, has taken part in a historic official visit to Bahrain this week. This visit marks the first official visit to Bahrain by an Israeli cabinet member since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries last year. Mr Lapid supposedly used the visit to discuss economic and security issues in the region with King Hamad of Bahrain.
- Thousands of Tunisians have taken to the streets this weekend to mark their support for President Kais Saied as he took the decision to suspend parliament. The streets of the capital Tunis were overthrown with demonstrators who were out supporting the president’s decision, claiming that it will help him tackle the widespread corruption that has gripped Tunisian politics for decades.
- Members of President Biden’s own party have refused to back Biden’s trillion-dollar infrastructure plan until a separate $3.5 trillion welfare and climate change bill is voted in. It is reported Biden has spent the last week meeting privately with Democrats in order to break the deadlock. He continues to emphasise that the bill will eventually be passed.
Written by Felipe Dreesman