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Private Fund Management
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Our UK Autumn Budget Newsletter is now online.

Click here to read more:
https://buff.ly/2qkBQ78
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- Anti-establishment parties triumph in Italian battle over budget deficit -

The two populist parties governing in Italy have come out looking victorious after weeks of intense cabinet discussions over next year's deficit.

The leftist Five Star Movement and the right-wing League agreed Thursday night on a 2.4 percent deficit target for 2019 – despite opposition from some technocrat members in the government, including the finance minister, Giovanni Tria.

The new deficit target is three times higher than the number that the previous government had planned. The higher public spending could spark negative market reactions, given that Rome holds the second highest debt pile in the euro zone — totalling 2.3 trillion euros ($2.67 trillion).

"We are not concerned about a near-term financial crisis in Italy, but we are concerned that Italy might face a serious debt crisis when we hit the next recession maybe in 2021, 2022," Carsten Hesse, European economist at Berenberg told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Friday.

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- A stealth tax on landlords? Buy-to-let owners set to hand £79m as new shared housing licensing comes into force -

Local authorities will collect a whopping £79million from 77,000 landlords this month as new licensing rules come into effect, This is Money can reveal.

HMO licensing - which stands for houses in multiple occupation - already applies to landlords who rent their properties to five or more tenants from two or more different households where the property is three or more storeys.

But from 1 October, any property let to five or more tenants from two or more households will be caught by the rules - regardless of the number of floors.

The changes to the law are set to affect over 160,000 properties in England and Wales, with 77,194 landlords being expected to apply for the new licence.
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- The pound is soaring after reports of a major Brexit compromise from Germany -

The British pound has jumped higher against the US dollar on Wednesday after a report suggested Germany has agreed to a significant compromise with the UK during Brexit talks.

Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources, that German officials are prepared to "accept a less detailed agreement on the UK's future economic and trade ties with the EU in a bid to get a Brexit deal done."

While Germany does not represent the entirety of the EU, as the bloc's largest economy, and its de facto leader, its stance is hugely influential.

The news buoyed investors in the pound, as it is likely to be seen as a major concession from Germany, which had previously been highly focused on details.

As such, the pound spiked higher, climbing almost 1% against the dollar on the day, although it remained below the psychologically significant $US1.30 level, and remained highly subdued in historical terms. By 2.40 p.m. BST (9.40 a.m. ET), the pound dollar exchange rate was at $US1.2968, a gain of 0.88% on the day.

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- Wall Street sets record for longest bull run in history -

US stock markets passed another landmark on Wednesday as the S&P 500 recorded its longest rally ever, capping a near decade-long Wall Street boom that has gathered pace over the course of this year.

The S&P 500 share index, tracking the 500 biggest public companies in America, closed trading on Wednesday having gone 3,453 days – nearly nine and a half years – without a fall of 20% or more, which is the measure used by some analysts for handing it the status as the longest bull market in US history.

The record was set with more of a whimper than a roar. The S&P 500 dipped 1 point to 2,861 for the day while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 88 points, or 0.3%, to 25,733, and the Nasdaq composite rose 29 points, or 0.4%, to 7,889. But records were set nonetheless.

Having started in March 2009, following the financial crisis, the longest market rally comes as the global economy continues its recovery from the depths of the last recession.

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- UK shows biggest July budget surplus since 2000, easing spending headache for Hammond -

Britain recorded its biggest budget surplus for the month of July in 18 years, official data showed on Tuesday, helping finance minister Philip Hammond as he prepares his annual budget statement later this year.

The surplus last month, excluding state-controlled banks, stood at 2.0 billion pounds, more than double the figure in July last year and well above a median forecast of 1.1 billion pounds in a Reuters poll of economists.

The improvement, which was driven by strong seasonal inflows of income tax receipts, took the deficit for the first four months of the 2018/19 financial year to 12.8 billion pounds, down 40 percent from the same period of last year.

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- London property slump puts brake on UK house price growth -

UK house price growth slowed in June to the lowest annual rate in five years, driven by falling prices in London, according to official figures.

Average house prices across the country increased 3% in the year to June, down from a 3.5% gain in May, the lowest annual rate since August 2013, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. The average price of a UK home was £228,000 - about £6,000 higher than in June 2017 and £1,000 higher than in May.

However, the slowdown is hitting London hardest. House prices in the capital fell at the fastest annual rate since the depths of the financial crisis, while rents dropped at the fastest rate in eight years, said the ONS.

The ONS said the UK-wide dip in growth was driven mainly by a slowdown in the south and east of England. London recorded the weakest reading across the country, with prices dropping 0.7% over the year to June, the lowest rate since September 2009, and down 0.2% in May. It is the fifth month London house prices have fallen this year.

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- Trade tensions torpedo oil, U.S. sanctions hammer Russian rouble -

Asian shares were subdued on Thursday after a new round of tit-for-tat tariffs in the U.S.-Sino trade conflict torpedoed oil prices, while the Russian rouble tumbled as the U.S. slapped fresh sanctions on the country.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan barely budged as caution dominated. Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.5 percent, not helped by a shock slump in core machinery orders.

Early Thursday, China's state broadcaster said China must counteract U.S. tariffs and Beijing had the confidence to protect its own interests as well as the means to do so.

China had already announced additional tariffs of 25 percent on $16 billion worth of U.S. imports from fuel to autos. The tariffs will apply to billions of dollars in U.S. gasoline, diesel and other oil products, though not crude.

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- Nationwide will not pass on full 0.25% interest rate rise to most savers -

Nationwide is not passing on last week’s Bank of England’s 0.25% rate rise in full to savers in the first sign that big financial institutions will use the base rate to increase profit margins.

The building society, one of the biggest mortgage and savings institutions in the UK, said that while its tracker mortgage customers will see a 0.25% rise in their payments, many of its savers will see only a 0.1% increase in rates.

Nationwide is the first major player to announce its new rates, in a move likely to be emulated by the high street banks.

The society’s base mortgage rate will rise by the full 0.25% from 2.5% to 2.75%, while its standard variable rate will increase from 3.99% to 4.74%.

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- Pound sterling slumps on new Government warnings of 'no deal' Brexit -

Sterling slumped against the dollar again on Monday morning after UK Government ministers talked up the prospects of a “no deal” Brexit next March.

The currency was down 0.36 per cent against the dollar at $1.2959, close to an 11-month low.
Against the euro sterling was trading at €1.1212, down 0.2 per cent on the day.

The International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said over the weekend said that there was now a “60-40” chance of the UK crashing out of the European Union without an withdrawal agreement due to the “intransigence of the EU”.

And “senior Whitehall sources” were quoted by the Daily Telegraph on Monday saying that if the UK crashes out with no deal “we will make it clear whose fault it was”.
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