From Brexit to Trump, interest rates to the steel crisis, these are the pictures that defined business in 2016

Francesca Washtell
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David Cameron's resignation on the morning of 24 June was one of the standout pictures of this year (Source: Getty)

Let's face it, a lot's happened this year.

2016 was the year that brought us surprise, seismic political changes, pushed commodities markets through yet more turbulence and took down another stalwart of the British high street.

From Brexit to Trump, BHS to Opec, here are the defining pictures of the year's biggest stories for the business world and the City of London.

George Osborne's last Budget

The sugar tax was George Osborne's only real surprise in the March Budget (Source: Getty)

Former chancellor George Osborne sprung his soft drinks levy (dubbed the sugar tax) on the unsuspecting British public in his March Budget, but there were few other surprises in his red briefcase.

Read more: 2016 Budget approved by MPs - including IDS

A Remain campaigner who has not fared well under new PM Theresa May, the MP for Tatton has since been relegated to the backbenches and launched a Northern Powerhouse think tank.

Phoenix from the ashes? The UK's steel crisis

Corus Steelworks In Port Talbot
Tata Steel's Port Talbot plant in South Wales was threatened with closure in March (Source: Getty)

The Port Talbot steel plant in Wales became one of the standout pictures of the year in 2016. The site, which contains two of the UK's last remaining blast furnaces, became synonymous with the wider steel crisis when Tata Steel announced it would be selling its UK assets at the end of March.

Read more: Steel crisis: Global glut sees sun set on UK industry

By the summer, the Indian conglomerate had backtracked on the sale after a mammoth backlash and later agreed a £1bn deal with steelworkers unions to save the plant in December.

London mayoral's race: Sadiq Khan triumphs over Zac Goldsmith

Sadiq Khan won the race to become mayor of London in May (Source: Getty)

Sadiq Khan, the London-raised son of a bus driver, won the city's mayoral election in May against the former Richmond Tory MP Zac Goldsmith. Khan clinched the biggest ever mandate from the electorate, ending eight years of Conservative control at City Hall. Former mayor Boris Johnson later became anointed as the UK's foreign secretary.

Read more: From Mandelson to Santander's chair: Meet Sadiq Khan's new Brexit panel

The shopkeepers: Sir Philip Green and Mike Ashley fall from grace

Sports Direct Founder Faces Commons Select Committee Over Working Conditions
Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley faced the Commons Select Committee in June (Source: Getty)

In June, Sports Direct International founder Mike Ashley faced the Commons Select Committee, where he was slammed by MPs. Sports Direct has been marred by comparisons of its "Victorian workhouse" factory conditions, among a slew of other criticisms.

Read more: Mike Ashley admits he can't control Sports Direct

Another major figure in British business, Sir Philip Green, was also slammed this year after British high street store BHS finally shut up shop in August. MPs voted to strip Philip Green of his knighthood in October following the debacle.

Read more: MPs demand Sir Philip Green ends BHS black hole

First BHS Stores Shut Their Doors For Good
Administrators Duff & Phelps began winding down BHS in June(Source: Getty)

Brexit (probably the defining word of the UK in 2016)

After spending most of the night tracking the increasingly pro-Brexit polls, much of the nation watched bleary-eyed as David Cameron resigned on the morning of 24 June outside Number 10 Downing Street. The 52 per cent vote to the leave the European Union ushered out many familiar faces from the cabinet. The meaning of Brexit is still far from clear, though Article 50 is due to be triggered by next spring.

Read more: EU referendum results: The map

In the run-up to the referendum, the Brexit flotilla that saw Nigel Farage (below) and Bob Geldof (also below) engage in a bizarre boat standoff on the Thames that became perhaps the defining moment of campaigning.

(Source: Getty)

Nigel Farage Joins Fishing For Leave On A Flotilla Down The Thames
(Source: Getty)

In October, businesswoman Gina Miller brought forward a high-profile legal challenge to decide whether an Act of Parliament needs to be in place before government triggers Article 50.

Read more: Gina Miller condemns "disgraceful" media coverage of Article 50 case

Article 50. Read City A.M.'s interview with Miller here.

High Court Judges Decide That The Prime Minister Can't Trigger Brexit Without MP's Approval
(Source: Getty)


Jonathan Mathew was one of three ex-Barclays bankers found guilty of Libor-rigging related offences by a jury (Source: Getty)

In early July, three ex-Barclays workers were slapped with guilty verdicts for their roles in Libor manipulation. Former traders Jay Merchant, 45, and Alex Pabon, 38, and ex-Libor submitter Jonathan Mathew, 35, all stood trial charged with conspiracy to defraud. They were three of five bankers on trial.

Read more: Libor three – Who’s who?

The other two former Barclays bankers will be tried at Southwark Crown Court on 13 February after the jury failed to reach a verdict on their roles on the benchmark rigging scandal.

Prime Minister May

Theresa May Succeeds David Cameron As The UK's New Prime Minister
Theresa May succeeded David Cameron as the UK's prime minister in July (Source: Getty)

Theresa May was triumphant in the Conservative Party's leadership race in the wake of Cameron's resignation. She was confirmed as PM on 13 July.

Read more: Theresa May: The first 100 days

Interest rates

Mark Carney was the governor who kept giving this year, cutting interest rates in August and showing us how the new polymer £5 note works in September (Source: Getty)

In August, the Bank of England cut interest rates from 0.5 per cent to 0.25 per cent. In a dramatic move, the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee (MPC) voted unanimously to slash interest rates while also unleashing a huge extension of quantitative easing which could pump an extra £170bn of newly-printed cash into the economy.

Read more: Review: Our verdict on the new polymer £5 note

However, Mark Carney's best picture of the year arguably came a month later when the Bank of England issued its first polymer £5 note.

Donald trumps Hillary in the US presidential election

Candidates Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Hold Second Presidential Debate At Washington University

President-elect Donald Trump shrugged off a lack of political experience, a sexual harassment controversy and numerous other scandals during his White House campaign (Source: Getty)

Sweeping aside the conventional wisdom that a political background and a moderate Twitter account will help a campaign for the White House, billionaire tycoon-turned-politician Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election in November.

Industries such as oil and gas and pharmaceuticals are likely to do well out of his tenure, but uncertainty reigns in the rest of the business world.

Read more: Trump tweet wipes billions off Lockheed Martin's market value

Nigel Farage also popped up again in another key photo of the year, this time with America's new President-elect.

Philip Hammond's first (and last) Autumn Statement

The Chancellor Of The Exchequer On The Eve Of His First Autumn Statement
There's a gallery unto itself of photos of Philip Hammond posing with this year's Autumn Statement (Source: Getty)

Also in November, the UK's new chancellor Philip Hammond took some rather posey photos with the Autumn Statement at Number 11 Downing Street. The most important announcement in the statement was that it would be the last — also meaning there will be two Budgets next year.

Read more: Here are the winners and losers from the Autumn Statement


Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid al-Falih (bottom right) attends the Opec meeting on November 30 (Source: Getty)

After bottoming out at $27 a barrel in January this year, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries changed the oil market's fortunes at the end of November when it met in Vienna to agree a six-month deal to cut daily production by 1.2m barrels among its 13 member states.

Read more: This is what will happen to oil prices in 2017

In December, Opec added to the first deal by agreeing with 11 non-Opec oil producers to cut production by a further 558,000 barrels per day from January to June. Brent crude prices have risen by around 20 per cent since the 30 November agreement.

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