Amsterdam now Europe's top stocks hub, flying taxi deal and Shell's CO2 goal
Updated 02:22, 12-Feb-2021
Louise Greenwood
Europe;United Kingdom

"The EU has argued it must better understand how the UK intends to amend or alter the rules going forward … this is a standard that the EU holds no other country to and would, I suspect, not agree to be held to itself." 

The governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey's traditional Mansion House was made at a virtual event on Wednesday evening.

Despite the more modest circumstances, there was little to dampen his exasperation at the state of talks between the City of London and Brussels over a post Brexit trading deal. Bailey has argued the EU's requirements for London's ongoing access to the bloc's financial services market are unrealistic.

After his comments were made, it was revealed that Amsterdam has displaced London as Europe's top share trading hub, with volumes up four-fold since the UK's departure from the EU. 

The ongoing concern among central bankers and finance chiefs, such as U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, about the rise of cryptocurrency hasn't dampened growing corporate interest in virtual payment platforms. Both Mastercard and Twitter have indicated growing interest in Bitcoin.

As the world's troubled airlines begin planning their post-pandemic future, the rise of the airborne taxi is gaining ground as a possible model for growth. United Airlines, hot on the heels of Volocopter, has announced a tie-up with Palo Alto–based tech engineering firm Archer, that could make it the first major airline to commit to the purchase of flying taxis

And as Shell accelerates its push to net-zero emissions – what impact could changes to everyday activities such as cooking and heating make to our carbon footprint?   

Read on for more of the day's business news in full. 

Louise Greenwood

Digital news producer 

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Getty Images

Getty Images

Amsterdam overtook London as Europe's largest share trading centre last month, with an average of $11.1 billion of shares bought and sold daily on the Euronext and CBOE Europe exchanges. That is a figure that has risen more than four-fold since December. In London, meanwhile, share volumes have fallen $10.4 billion over the same period, ousting the City from its long-held position as the main hub for European share dealership.

Analysts say the situation has come to a head because of the refusal of Brussels to recognize UK exchanges and trading venues as having the same regulatory and supervisory status as its own post Brexit. $10.4 billion worth of stock was shifted in the immediate aftermath of the UK's departure from the bloc. The UK lost its rights to access the single market at the end of December, and the EU has not permitted investors inside the bloc to trade shares in leading European companies such as Airbus and BNP Paribas from London. 

The governor of the Bank of England has warned there are signs the EU plans to cut off the UK from its financial markets. Both the City of London and Brussels are working towards a March deadline to agree an "equivalence" regime for future trading, each recognizing the other's regulatory regime. Andrew Bailey, speaking at his annual Mansion House speech, said EU demands had so far been unreasonable and the UK would not accept being "dictated" to. 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned of an "explosion" in criminal activity around the financial markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She told a Treasury roundtable that while cryptocurrencies held promise, they were being exploited by criminal gangs now moving online to carry out targeted attacks. However, Yellen also stressed that if used properly financial technologies could help fight crime and reduce inequality.

The world's second largest payment platform Mastercard has said it is planning to offer support for some cryptocurrencies on its network this year. Just days after electric car giant Tesla said it may consider accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment, Mastercard said it was looking into "possibilities for shoppers and merchants ... to transact in an entirely new form of payment". Mastercard already offers customers cards that allow people to transact crypto but without going through its network.

Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has donated $1 million to the blockchain policy think tank Coin Center, while Twitter chief financial officer Ned Segal has openly discussed the possibility of a corporate Bitcoin investment. Jerry Brito the boss of Coin Center tweeted that the donation had left his group speechless."

In addition, Dorsey says the social media platform is exploring options to allow users to receive digital payments from followers. Dorsey said the feature would help boost earnings, reduce reliance on advertising revenue and deepen engagement from its base of 192 million daily Twitter devotees.

U.S. airline United says it plans to buy 200 flying electric taxis within the next five years. It is teaming up with regional carrier Mesa Airlines to buy the so-called electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft as part of a $1bn order, becoming the first major airline to commit to the purchase of flying taxis. While regulatory approval is needed for the deal with the California-based aero engineering firm Archer, other projects such as that from Volocopter are working on trials for electric air travel taxis. Archer, which is backed by Stellantis, the parent group of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group, says it plans a flotation once the terms of the deal are agreed. 

German auto giant Volkswagen and Microsoft are joining forces to develop autonomous vehicle driving systems. Europe's largest auto maker, struck a deal with Microsoft in 2018 to use the software giant's cloud technology for future developments, has budgeted $33 billion in its digital operations over the next four years. Trials of a new model are due later this year, with roll-out planned for 2022.

Meanwhile the autonomous vehicle start-up WeRide has won a license to operate an online ride-hailing service in Guangzhou, becoming the first company in China to do so. The license award takes China a step closer to providing fully driverless vehicles for transport purposes.  

Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell says it plans to eliminate net carbon emissions by 2050, bringing forward previous targets, as it overhauls its business model to refocus on sustainable production. In a strategy update, Shell outlined plans to refocus on growth in its low-carbon businesses as consumer patterns change across Europe, with investment in biofuels and hydrogen.

The EU must set binding targets for one million public charging points for electric vehicles by 2024 according to the region's car lobby. The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association has told Brussels at current speeds of EV charging roll-out, the bloc's climate goals are at risk and "the EU Commission quickly needs to take action and set binding targets for the ramp-up of charging infrastructure in member states," while claiming multiple tariffs and payment methods are slowing the process.

Microsoft has reportedly approached the social media site Pinterest about a potential $51 billion takeover deal. While talks are not thought to be active currently, analysts say Microsoft is exploring acquisitions aimed at online communities that could run on top of its cloud computing platform. Pinterest, an online scrapbook site, has seen its market value increase more than 600 per cent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK's Royal Mail has forecast higher full-year operating profits after a surge in activity during lockdown led revenues to jump by a fifth. The company has readjusted expectations for full-year operating profit to "well in excess" of $691million, adding that the third quarter of 2020 was its busiest ever for parcel deliveries.

German lender Commerzbank is freezing dividend payments for the next two years after reporting a loss last year of $3.5 billion, its worst since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. The group has been hit hard by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused it to triple bad loan provisions to $2.1 billion last year. 

Bumble, the dating app operator is preparing to float on the Nasdaq with an expected valuation of  $8.2 billion. Initial interest has priced shares at $43 each. The site, that requires women to "make the first move," sold a majority stake to venture capital giant Blackstone in 2019 in a $3 billion deal. 



WATCH: A melting iceberg in the South Atlantic Ocean is bringing fresh water to the ocean and affecting the food chain, with penguins, seals and whales all at risk. Scientists led by the British Arctic Survey are investigating the impact of the A-68a iceberg and have headed to the region on a research ship, amid warnings of "devastation to the seafloor."



Since the UK has formally left the European Union, trading ties with partners across the world have been in sharp focus. Now a new trade and investment pact has been signed between Britain and India, aimed at creating 1,500 new high-skilled jobs in the UK. CGTN Europe was joined by Vijay Goel, former chair of  the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India in the UK, to discuss what lies ahead.

The history of India and the UK... we started trading in 1600 when Queen Elízabeth I granted a new royal charter by sending a precious gift to the Mughal Emperor Akbar. At that time, India's GDP was roughly 45 percent of the whole world, when the British left, it came down to 4 percent. So history starts from there. But now, if you talk about the present-day scenario in 2019, the bilateral trade in goods and services between the two countries is roughly $15.7 billion and it is increasing every year.


But there remain stumbling blocks in terms of market access and restrictions to foreign direct investment 

If you see in the last year, India has virtually removed most of the trade barriers, in most of the sectors like insurance, they have removed the cap, in defense they have removed the cap. So in most sectors now, foreign companies can invest up to 100 percent, FDI is allowed there. And so day by day, India is lifting the restrictions and making it more business-friendly and there is a capital account convertibility on the current account.


And finally , energy giant Shell has announced plans to accelerate its net-zero emissions targets by 2050, amid growing concern that the Paris Agreement goals are slipping. However, some analysts believe that simple energy efficiency measures and increased electrification could reduce the EU's carbon footprint by two-thirds within a decade. 

Source(s): Reuters

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