Your Weekly Commercial Awareness Update – w/c 11th June 2018

Your Weekly Commercial Awareness Update – w/c 11th June 2018

Here are this week’s headlines, brought to you by our Student Commercial Awareness Team:

Antarctic Ice Melting at an Accelerated Rate

Reported by Sarah Mullane

Reporting in the ‘Nature Journal’, scientists have claimed that the Antarctic is shedding ice at an accelerated rate, threefold in the last five years. Satellites monitoring the situation have indicated that the continent has lost almost three trillion tonnes of ice over the last twenty-five years and is currently losing almost two-hundred billion tonnes into the ocean every year. At its current rate of melting, global sea levels are being pushed up by around 0.6mm annually.

If future projections are correct, then sea levels may rise by 15cm by the end of the century. Considering this new information, scientists have urged the need for nations to defend their shores against flooding risks. If the rate at which ice melts continues on its current trend, then scientists have warned that current flood defences, such as the Thames barrier, will need to be reconsidered. Professor Shepherd noted that cities which tend to flood once a year, such as San Francisco and New York, could potentially flood up to twenty times a year if nothing is done.

It has become clear that the ice losses predominantly stem from the west of the continent where warm ocean waters meet floating ice shelves. University of Leeds professor Andrew Shepherd, the lead author of the study on ice loss, has said that the rate of melting is “surprising.” He went on to say that the temperatures are too high for Antarctica today, where it is “about half a degree Celsius warmer than the continent can withstand.”

Read more at The independent, The Guardian, The BBC 

Effect of America’s Tariffs

Reported by Spencer Yap

In a move to reduce America’s trade deficit, the Trump administration imposed tariffs for steel and aluminium being imported into the US from EU, Mexico and Canada. The tariffs are targeted at countries from which the majority of steel and aluminium are imported with limited quotas being applied to the remaining countries. Yet, this seems to be damaging American production more than it is helping. According to S&P Global Platts, steel and aluminium in America costs $329 per tonne and $290, respectively, more than in Western Europe (part of where steel is imported from)
Subsequently, the new tariffs are driving up the cost of raw materials, which are eating into the profit margins of producers which require steel and aluminium as part of their production. Many producers who rely on such metals are frustrated with the newly imposed tariffs. Amongst which is AccuSwiss, a company that uses steel and aluminium as inputs in their products The Californian based company is not only struggling to maintain its profits but also failing to meet their orders. Thus, opening the door for overseas producers to undercut and poach customers. 
The tariffs are also hurting American producers in another way, counter tariffs. In retaliation, the EU slapped tariffs on notable American made products, such as whiskey and Harley-Davison motorbikes. Other countries are also threatening the US with their own list of tariffs, such as Mexico which aims to impose additional tax on fruits and pork.
Furthermore, the tariffs are not helping America’s diplomatic relations, with the international community condemning the actions of the current administration. Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Trade Commissioner, calls it a ‘bad day for world trade’, and the European Commission’s president calls it ‘totally unacceptable’. In addition, It also undermines the rules-based systems which members of the World Trade Organisation (such as America and the EU) have to abide by. In an attempt to render the Trump administration’s tariff as illegal, the EU is taking formal proceedings against the US in WTO’s trade court.

For more information, see The Independent and The Economist.

Rolls Royce – over 4000 jobs set to go

Reported by Dan Petch 

In what is said to be an attempt to increase profits by losing over 4000 jobs in middle management, Rolls Royce are set to release plans for future job cut backs. Warren East, Chief Executive of Rolls Royce stated that the company has become “bloated” with unnecessary layers of middle management positions over the past few years.

City analysts have predicted that over 10% of the 50,000 strong workforce is going to be cut away.

Last year Rolls Royce agreed, with a number of unions, to protect over 7000 jobs in front line engineering. These jobs are expected to be protected. Areas such as financing, human resources and purchasing are said to be where the cut backs will occur.

East has had to overcome a number of issues since his appointment as Chief Executive. On his second day in charge he was forced to issue a profit warning while dealing with historic claims of corruption within the company. JP Morgan have predicted a saving of £200m by 2021 should the cuts go ahead.

These cuts will bring East’s overall total of job cut back decisions to around the 10,000 mark since his appointment just over three years ago. He has however pledged to increase the company’s profitability and free cashflow by £1bn by the time we reach 2020.

In a week full of major announcements surrounding companies entering liquidation or closing many of their stores, the news from Rolls Royce comes as no surprise and is a sign of the health of the UK’s economy currently.

Visit The Guardian here, for more.

Medical Student Who Stabbed Boyfriend Loses Appeal

Reported by Paige Waters

Lavinia Woodward, an Oxford University medical student who was given a 10-month prison term suspended for 18 months following her stabbing her boyfriend, has appealed against her sentence.

The judge rewarded Woodward with a delayed sentence as he gave her four months to prove she could stay out of trouble.

Woodward lost the appeal. Her barrister, Jim Sturman QC told the court “the suspended sentence has affected her ability to find work. I appreciate it would be an exceptional course, but she is an exceptional candidate”.

However, the Court of Appeal Judge stated that the Crown Court Judge had shown compassion by suspending the jail term.

The Judge also stated that: “we accept that she had powerful mitigation. This nonetheless remained a serious offence which in our view merited a custodial element to the sentence. It was by reason of the powerful mitigation that the judge was able to take an exceptional course and suspend the custodial term. It was a constructive and compassionate sentence.”

Read more here.

Guidance provided by the Home Office for the implementation of Suspicious Activity Reports in the Criminal Finances Act 2017

Reported by Jutha Cheewat

Back in 2017, the Criminal Finances Act (CFA) came into force. It changed the way regulated financial sectors (any credit and financial institutions as defined by the Capital Requirements Regulation) report or share their financial information.

It was set out as part of the “Action Plan for Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing” which focused on improving information sharing among law enforcement agencies and the private sector, using specifically provided gateways. This is an attempt to coordinate at a “cross-sector” level involving the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce.

The change allows for a so-called ‘Super SARs’ (Suspicious Activity Reports) to be condensed in the hope that it will shorten the process, making it more effective. This has to be in accordance with the published guidance from the Home office. Since then, there has been at least four commencement regulations released (April 2018).

The proposed information sharing under the scheme is voluntary and can be done either via initiation from the regulated sectors, or through the NCA.

Ashurst had produced brief and informative guidance outlining the procedures that regulated institutions from different sectors will have to follow. This suggests that relevant organisations will have to revisit their policies and staff training when it comes to their ability to share and receive information.

Visit Ashurst and Better Regulation for more.

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