The chance of Brexit happening as planned on 31 October is now just 10 per cent according to analysts at Swiss bank Julius Baer.

Meanwhile, the UK chancellor, Sajid Javid, attempted to sweeten the Brexit pill by promising to re-introduce duty-free cigarettes and alcohol if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October.

The Treasury said excise duty would no longer be charged on alcohol and cigarettes bought when leaving Britain.

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Markets have opened lower in Europe while the pound has fallen around a fifth of a cent against both the dollar and the euro.
Official UK jobs figures are due shortly. Low unemployment has been one of the few bright spots for the economy in recent months while wages have begun to rise after years of falls and stagnation.
Will the US avoid recesssion?
Yes, according to analysts at UBS - but it's certainly not all good news for Donald Trump.
"Although growth will be sluggish, our base case is still that the US economy avoids recession," says Mark Haefele, chief investment officer, UBS Global Wealth Management.
"US data last week supported our view that while the manufacturing sector is contracting, the services sector is holding up, along with job creation and consumer spending.
"Barring a further escalation in the trade conflict, we don’t see a further sharp move lower in 10-year US Treasuries, which we expect to end the year around 1.5%, versus 1.6% at present."
The wheels are falling off at WeWork
The biggest investor in co-working company WeWork has reportedly told the company to shelve its much-anticipated IPO in the latest sign that investors have lost appetite for firms promising fast growth but with little sign of any profits.
SoftBank is urging the loss-making startup's board to put off a share sale after investors gave it a cool reception, the Financial Times reports.
WeWork claims to have revolutionised the market for office space but an army of critics warn that it is simply an overhyped, overpriced property company.
Just months ago, Goldman Sachs was attempting to market WeWork as a $65bn company. Now it is reportedly attempting to drum up interest at around a quarter of that price tag - between $15bn and $20bn.
WeWork lost $690m in the first six months of the year, taking its losses in the past
JD Sports defies high street gloom with 10% sales jump
Like-for-like UK sales at JD Sports jumped 10 per cent in the first half of the year - an outstanding result compared to many retailers who have been struggling.
The sportswear retailer launched an attack on landlords over the rent reductions given to other high street firms which have experienced financial difficulty.
The company said:
"We are very aware of the financial benefit that other retailers appear to get when they downsize their estates and, whilst we have no plans to fundamentally alter the size of the JD store network in the UK at this time, we continue to seek fairness and flexibility in the terms of our leases."
JD told the BBC its success was down to a "top tier" experience for customers in its stors as well as the "best and edgiest" offers.
UK wage growth hits highest since 2008
...But real wages are still lower than they were before the recession caused by the financial crisis.
Earnings for UK empoyees rose 4 per cent over the year and were up 2.1 per cent after taking account of inflation.
Farming industry lays out plans to reach net-zero
From the Press Association:
Bigger hedgerows, precision delivery of fertilisers and improving the health of cattle and sheep are among plans farmers have for slashing greenhouse gases.

The National Farmers' Union has ambitions for the sector to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, a decade ahead of the UK economy as a whole, and has published a report on how it thinks it can be done.
It aims to meet the target by reducing emissions from farming practices, increasing the ability of land to store more carbon, and by focusing on renewable energy and products that remove carbon from the atmosphere.
British farms are responsible for around a 10th of UK greenhouse gas emissions, but only 10% of its output is carbon dioxide, while 40% is nitrous oxide from things such as fertilisers, and 50% is methane from cows and sheep.
Agricultural emissions have fallen by 16% overall since 1990, but there has been only "modest progress" since 2011, the NFU report says.
Job vacancies fall
The official job numbers show that vacancies continued falling, with 812,000 open positions recorded between June and August – the lowest number since late 2017. 
Labour market "surpassing expectations"
Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, welcomes the UK's better-than-expected jobs numbers but warns problems may be ahead.
“At a testing time, the labour market is surpassing expectations, though there are early signs the jobs boom could be cooling down.
“As so many people have entered work, there has been an uplift to household incomes which has helped to keep consumers ticking. For a long time, businesses have been eager to expand their workforce despite difficult economic conditions. With the supply of available workers shrinking and uncertainty lingering, firms are now beginning to dial down their recruitment ambitions.
“Vacancies are likely to continue falling. It’s becoming harder for business leaders to do any meaningful workforce planning, let alone find the talent that they need. High costs and an unclear view of future revenue have also led some to hold off on new hires. Meanwhile, though the ongoing strength in pay packets is a plus for workers, wages may be pushing at their limit. Cash-strapped SMEs in particular are already finding it difficult to compete for talent by upping their salary offers.
“While the jobs market continues to be a strong suit for the economy, emerging signs of a slowdown should focus the minds of policymakers. Businesses up and down the country are seeking improvements to the skills system and clarity on the future immigration system to inform their hiring plans going forward.”
Shop workers suffering PTSD as a result of rising store crime
An increase in violence towards shop staff has led to a cases of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, an investigation has found.
Violence has hit a five-year high, according to a report by academics at City, University of London.
The report calls on the government to do more to protect workers in the sector
The report said: "The strain of constant abuse and fear of physical violence is causing some shop workers to change their shift pattern, their place of work or, in the worst cases, terminate their employment entirely."
One male store manager told the researchers: "I have been punched in the face by a shoplifter, threatened with a needle by a guy on drugs, been spat at, and suffered verbal abuse more times than I can remember."
Clearer signs of “stagflation”
Brexit is pushing the UK into an unwelcome economic phenomenon most associated with the 1970s according to economists at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Stagflation occurs when the economy is not growing (stagnant) but inflation is still rising.
While wage growth is welcome for workers, the problem, says Pantheon's chief UK economist Samuel Tombs, is that 4% pay rises have not been associated with any improvement in productivity; ie the amount of goods or services created for each hour of work.
Poor productivity growth is a long-term problem for the UK and has been blamed on a number of factors, most notably very low levels of investment by companies over a number of years, something which has been exacerbated by Brexit uncertainty.
According to Samuel Tombs:
Brexit uncertainty undoubtedly has sapped firms’ enthusiasm for hiring new workers, but sharply rising unit labour costs also are playing a role.
The pick-up in the headline rate of wage growth to the symbolic 4% level—the highest rate since 2008—has not been accompanied by any improvement in productivity, which still is flatlining.
With surplus labour scarce, workers are flexing their muscles; XpertHR’s measure of the median pay settlement rose to 2.6% in July—the highest rate since March 2009—from 2.5% in June. 
Selfridges to open permanent cinema at flagship London store
Selfridges claims it will become the first department store with a permanent film screening facility when a new cinema opens at its flagship London branch later this year.
Selfridges Cinema is a partnership with independent company Olympic Studios which already has two branches in West London.

Warehouse and Oasis move into menswear

The bosses of women's fashion chains Oasis and Warehouse have ventured into menswear for the first time, snapping up Shoreditch-based start-up The Idle Man.

Launched by a former Asos menswear buyer, The Idle Man was opened in 2014, selling big name fashion brands and having a team of in-house designers to cash in on rising demands by male shoppers.

Hash Ladha, Oasis and Warehouse group chief executive, said: "We can bring scale to The Idle Man's proposition as well as infrastructure support, and the brand allows us to tap into the growing demand for fashionable menswear through a credible and well-established brand."

Analysts and retail observers had been fearful that Oasis and Warehouse could be struggling, after its former stablemate Coast went bust last year and several high street fashion brands pushed through insolvencies known as CVAs to reduce rents.

Press Association

UK should avoid recession in this quarter
PwC economist Jing Teow comments on the latest labour market data:

The proportion of people out of work remains very low, with the unemployment rate at 3.8% in the three months to July. Overall wage growth has continued to improve since the original Brexit deadline in March, with nominal wage growth rising to 4.0%. Real wages also rose at their quickest rate in nearly four years, delivering a boost to workers’ pay packets.  

This evidence of continued jobs growth, together with yesterday's stronger than expected GDP data for July, reinforces our view that the UK should avoid a technical recession in the third quarter. Indeed, our latest GDP nowcasting model estimate, based on a machine learning analysis of a broad range of timely economic indicators, points to potential GDP growth of 0.4% in the third quarter of 2019. This would more than reverse the 0.2% GDP decline seen in the second quarter.

Duty-free booze will be cheaper after no-deal disaster, says Javid
The return of tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit will make many food and other imports more expensive. 
But... alcohol and cigarettes will become cheaper – provided you buy them on your way to the EU or in a duty-free shop on the continent.
The Treasury announced on Tuesday that duty-free shopping for those products will be reintroduced for EU countries if Britain leaves the bloc without an agreement, falling out of the single market and becoming a third country. 
Unfortunately, cutting on booze will not make up for the damage caused by destroying the UK's trading relationship with its largest trading partner .
Full story from Olesya Dmitracova here:
Economic 'surprise index' enters positive territory
UK economic data is now coming out better than experts had predicted, according to Citi Group.
The bank's 'surprise index' has turned positive after a few months of being in negative territory.
It's possible (though by no means certain) that this is linked to the stockpiling effect. In the run-up to the original Brexit date in March, analysts underestimated the boost to economic activity from firms building up supplies meaning the data was surprisingly good.
This effect then reversed sharply as data began to trickle in showing that the rebound from stockpiling had been unexpectedly large as companies produced less because they were selling off the supplies they had built up.
The trend appears to have flipped again:
Corbyn pledges to help workers
Speaking at the TUC Conference in Brighton, Jeremy Corbyn vowed that a Labour government would create a ministry for employment rights in the “biggest extension of workers’ rights” in history.
Unite boss Len McCluskey, a close Corbyn ally, warned Boris Johnson the workers are “coming for you”, in a fiery speech at the same event.
He said: “We know who you are Boris Johnson. We know your game. Your wish to be Churchillian, rather than the Wreck-it Ralph that you are.
“But know this. We will fight you in our hospitals, we will fight you in our factories, we will fight you in our communities. Pick your beach prime minister – we’ll never surrender. We are the workers of Britain and we’re coming for you.”
Analysts cut chances of Halloween no-deal Brexit to 10%
Swiss bank Julius Baer says there is now just a 10 per cent chance of a Brexit going ahead on 31 October.
Patrick Lang, head of equities research at Julius Baer, reckons there's a 75 per cent likelihood of the process being delayed.
Longer-term, a general election will determine the outcome of Brexit, Julius Baer says, with the probability of a hard Brexit put at 35 per cent.


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