🇬🇧 A bitter pill to swallow

British nurses strike in pay dispute, ECB and BoE both raise interest rates by 50 bps, EP president promises "wide-ranging reforms" following bribery scandal


Good morning! It’s Friday, December 16th.

President Joe Biden said the US is "all in on Africa’s future" and promised billions of dollars in government funding and private investments at the US-Africa Leaders Summit at the White House. But the promises are also part of the US efforts to catch up with Russia and China, who have recently increased their influence in the continent. 

  • Speaking of catching up, let these songs accompany you in your last-minute work before the weekend kicks in.

—Özlem, with Tanem and Can


The ECB raised interest rates by 50 basis points on Thursday, marking a slowdown following two consecutive 75-basis-point hikes but keeping further rate hikes firmly on the table. The central bank for the 19-country eurozone raised its deposit rate to 2%, as expected, while officials pledged to shrink their €5 trillion bond portfolio through quantitative tightening, beginning in March.

ECB forecast GDP and Inflation

via Bloomberg

  • Britain: The Bank of England raised its key rate in a similar half-percentage point move on Thursday, pushing the interest rate to its highest level for 14 years and bringing it to 3.5% in its ninth hike in a row after inflation hit levels not seen in more than four decades. The BoE also indicated it was likely to continue to increase interest rates next year.
  • Switzerland: The Swiss National Bank raised its policy interest rate by 50 basis points to 1%, its highest level since the global financial crisis 14 years ago. SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan said while inflation had declined since August, it was “still too early to sound the all-clear” and hinted further increases were still possible.
  • Norway: The Norges Bank raised rates by a quarter of a percentage point to a 13-year high of 2.75%, as expected, and said it plans to lift rates to around 3% next year, suggesting it will boost rates just once more this cycle.

Annual inflation in France was confirmed at 6.2% in November, according to data released by the national statistics office INSEE on Thursday. The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) —ECB’s preferred gauge of inflation— was confirmed at 7.1% year-on-year and slightly revised down to 0.4% month-on-month.

  • On a related note: Poland’s annual inflation was slightly revised up to 17.5% in November, official figures showed on Thursday. The monthly increase in consumer prices was confirmed at 0.7%.

US retail sales declined 0.6% in November, the Commerce Department reported Thursday, exceeding estimates for a 0.3% drop as consumers pulled back on spending amid higher borrowing costs. The number is not adjusted for inflation, which increased by 0.1% month-on-month in November. Annually, retail sales increased by 6.5%, compared with a CPI inflation rate of 7.1%.

  • In other news: The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, which measures activity in the New York region, posted a reading of -11.2 —against an estimate of -0.5 and with a drop of 16 points from the previous month— which represents the percentage difference between companies reporting expansion against contraction.

China reported economic data Thursday that missed expectations across the board. Retail sales fell by 5.9% in November from a year ago, following a 0.5% year-on-year drop in October and expectations for a decline of 3.7%. Industrial production grew by 2.2% in November from a year ago, missing a forecast for a 3.6% increase and slowing down from the 5% increase in October.


Jim Hagemann Snabe, chair of Siemens and former CEO of software company SAP, will lead the board of Northvolt, the Swedish electric-vehicle battery start-up with more than $55 billion of orders from customers such as BMW, Volkswagen and Volvo Cars. Snabe told the Financial Times that Europe would have to replicate US subsidies and incentives for green technology to ensure the success of its homegrown companies.


via FT

Norsk Hydro is launching “thousands of initiatives” to cut costs at the Norwegian aluminum producer as European heavy industry fights to stay competitive amid surging power prices. The company outlined plans on Thursday to slash costs and spend more on new projects as well as reduce dividend payouts relative to profits from 70-80% to 50-70% due to soaring inflation.

Elon Musk sold another $3.58 billion worth of Tesla shares, bringing the total amount he’s offloaded since last year to almost $40 billion. The latest disposal coincided with Musk falling from the No. 1 spot on Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which he had occupied since September 2021. Tesla’s market value also dropped below the half-trillion-dollar mark for the first time since November 2020.

The US government is putting more Chinese tech companies on the entity list, meaning that anyone seeking to supply them with US technology will require a license from Washington. Blacklisted companies include Yangtze Memory Technologies and Shanghai Micro Electronics Equipment Group. The restrictions are part of efforts to limit China’s access to advanced chipmaking and artificial intelligence technology.

Rio Tinto is looking for opportunities to acquire critical mineral assets such as lithium and nickel despite being “reluctant” to pursue non-organic expansion. Mining companies are increasing their exposure to minerals such as copper, lithium and nickel, which countries need to decarbonize and open up alternative supply chains to China.

Rio Tinto

via FT


About 100,000 National Health Service nurses in Britain staged their first-ever strike over pay in the union's 106-year history on Thursday, as the UK faces a wave of industrial action amid record-high inflation.

Nurses in UK

via Reuters

  • The demand: Nurses want a pay rise of 5% plus inflation, arguing they have suffered a decade of real-term cuts and that low pay means staff shortages and unsafe care for patients. 
  • The response: The government says their demand would equate to a 19% hike, with Health Secretary Steve Barclay saying that figure is "not affordable given the many other economic pressures we face."
  • Looking ahead: The second walkout is set to take place on Dec. 20 while the Royal College of Nursing union said more strikes were possible if the government refuses to discuss pay.

A Ukrainian general said Russia is preparing for a long war and still aimed to conquer all of Ukraine, as fighting continued with Russia pounding Kherson and Kharkiv while Ukraine shelled Russian-controlled Donetsk.


via Reuters

  • Meanwhile: In Brussels, the EU agreed to aid Ukraine with €18 billion in 2023 after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged them to back "our struggle for peace for Ukraine and for the whole of Europe."
  • In other news: Russia's President Vladimir Putin said the country would expand trade cooperation with new partners in Asia, Africa, and Latin America —including sharply increasing gas exports to China— to fight the West's effort to isolate Moscow.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola promised wide-ranging reforms in 2023 to tackle corruption among MEPs, following the scandal over an alleged attempt by Qatar to buy influence. Metsola said the reforms would strengthen protections for whistleblowers, ban unofficial "friendship groups", review MEPs' code of conduct, and review third-country interactions.


via Euronews

  • In other news: The Socialists & Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament has asked several of its members who are involved in any sort of investigation to step down from their positions and legislative files as the group came under intense scrutiny after one of its most well-known member, Eva Kaili, was arrested on suspicion of illicit lobbying.

Italy’s population shrank to 59 million in 2021, the lowest since 2007, according to data from Istat, dropping by more than 200,000 from last year. Istat said Italy was firmly in the top world rank of the oldest countries due to the impact of Covid-19, low fertility rates, and reduced migration.

Italy vs France pop

via FT

US President Joe Biden said the US will be investing billions of dollars in Africa, hosting a summit in Washington with the continent's 49 heads of state. In the first such gathering hosted in D.C. for eight years, Biden said the US is "all-in on Africa's future," with the summit being perceived as an attempt to re-assert influence in Africa to counter China's involvement.

The UK's Transport Secretary announced that passengers on flights will be able to carry liquid up to 2 liters as of June 2024, scrapping the current 100 ml limit as the UK airports will be installing 3D scanners that will provide a more detailed inspection.


The Linux Foundation partnered with Amazon Web Services, Facebook’s parent company Meta, Microsoft, and Dutch mapping company TomTom to develop interoperable and open map data. Overture Maps Foundation’s mission is to power new map products through openly available datasets that can be used and reused across applications and businesses, in a bid to counter Google’s dominance in mapping.

Coinbase, the second-largest crypto exchange globally, has launched a new tool to help its customers recover more than 4,000 unsupported ERC-20 tokens sent to its ledger. "ERC-20 token" is a term for any cryptocurrency created using the Ethereum blockchain. In the past, if you sent assets not supported by Coinbase to a user’s address on the exchange, they didn’t go to the receiver’s wallets and were unrecoverable.


via TechCrunch

Twitter has banned sharing the live location of another person unless it is related to a "public engagement or event," like a concert or a political event. Historical location information is allowed, however, so long as "a reasonable time has elapsed, so that the individual is no longer at risk for physical harm." The new policy comes amid controversy about an account that tracked Elon Musk’s private jet in November and got suspended on Wednesday.

TikTok’s algorithms are promoting videos about self-harm and eating disorders to vulnerable teens, according to a report published by the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate. The researchers at the center created TikTok accounts for fictional teen personas and "liked" videos about self-harm and eating disorders to see how the algorithm worked, and found that the app recommended more videos with similar content within minutes.


via Engadget

  • On a related note: The US Senate unanimously approved a bill to ban TikTok on all government-owned phones and other devices. Its approval emphasizes authorities' concerns that the app's China-based parent company ByteDance could share information gathered from US users with the Chinese government.

🛩️ Exclusive: The global supply trail that leads to Russia’s killer drones

🚀 Explainer: What can the Patriot missile do for Ukraine?

🤖🎨 Where art & tech meets: Are Lensa's avatars based on stolen art?


Okuma listesine ekle



Aposto Europe

The news, every weekday at 07:30 (CET), with a distinctly European perspective. Your briefing on markets, politics, business, tech and more — under 5 minutes




Bank of England


Swiss National Bank

Thomas Jordan

Norges Bank


+66 more