Opinion

COMMENT

AS 2014 draws to a close, we’re all starting to think about what 2015 will bring. Will the economy soar or slump? Will we have an inconclusive general election? Will oil prices sag even further downwards?

THE CRUCIAL free trade agreement currently being negotiated between the US and the EU (colloquially known as “TTIP”) has become the focus of much public scrutiny – even hostility – in recent months.

HUNDREDS of thousands of Londoners will work extra hours this Christmas in difficult and low paid jobs so they can send money to relatives living abroad. Remittances like these now outstrip the amount sent in donor aid to sub-Saharan Africa.

Steen Jakobsen, chief economist at Saxo Bank, says Yes.

Russia’s citizens have been here before – they know the drill.

AS WE take a moment to look back on 2014, there is one aspect of the economy that has underperformed – UK exports. Recent forecasts predict that British exports will be down on last year, having a tangible impact on overall economic growth.

AS THE seventh anniversary of the start of the economic crisis approaches, and as the end of 2014 draws near, it is an appropriate moment to take stock. How far have we come over the past few years, and what lessons can we draw from it?

IN A global economy, disaster can spread as easily as it strikes. The world is watching as news from Russia looks increasingly bleak, with potential implications for other regions.

Adrian Lowcock, head of investing at Axa Wealth, says Yes.

THE CHRISTMAS period is always one of great stress and pressure for the delivery sector.

One hundred years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson approved the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, the US’s first national legislation designed to control the manufacture, import and supply of opium and cocaine.

I ENTERED the Irish diplomatic service in 1978, just five years after the UK and Ireland joined the then European Community in 1973.

LONDON’s greatest strength is its ability to constantly regenerate. But amid unprecedented levels of development, we must be wary of leaving local communities behind.

VLADIMIR Putin is surely receiving his long-awaited comeuppance, as his country struggles to deal with a full-blown currency rout, driven by plunging oil prices.

Samuel Tombs, UK economist at Capital Economics, says Yes.

Low inflation is unlikely to be just for Christmas.

OUR WORLD is full of third parties – the people and organisations that regulate and manage our interactions. The financial world is particularly replete: conduct authorities, prudential bodies, central banks.

THE RECENT announcement that the projected cost of Crossrail 2 has risen to £27bn should be cause for deep concern within the Treasury.

With the Bank of England releasing the results of its stress tests today, banks’ financial strength is still a major concern for markets, regulators and policymakers.

Stephen Palmer, managing director at TV Village, says Yes.

It is important to note that this is not Amazon’s fault – it’s down to the third-party repricing software, RepricerExpress.

THERE ought to be a special circle of hell reserved for my colleagues – sadly a majority – who work so extra hard to never say much of anything.

IN RECENT years, the UK has traded more with Ireland than all of the Bric nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) put together. That fact has been rolled out regularly by our politicians over the past few years.

THE SCALE of technological advance over the last two decades has been staggering, and it looks set to continue.

Good news: 2014 has been the year of the selfie, according to Twitter.

LENDING Club’s chief executive Renaud Laplanche has good reason to be upbeat today.

The UK has always been at the forefront of financial innovation, and we continue to lead the way today. This year, we became the first Western country to issue sukuk sovereign bonds.

It’s the season to be jolly, and the capital’s workers are flocking to celebrity-packed carol services, helping to swell the coffers of deserving charities.

Yesterday, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announced a wide-ranging package of reforms to its meetings, processes and communications. The objective is sound – to enhance accountability and transparency.

Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, says Yes.

John Griffith-Jones, the chair­man of the FCA, said last night that the regulator’s botched briefing to one media organ­isation, which went disastrously wrong and resulted in causing mayhem on the stock market last March, was well-intended.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has had a tough week.

The mayor of London and potential future Conservative leader and Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has joined the army of voices against America’s controversial global tax law, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

The Japanese proverb “nanakorobi yaoki” roughly translates as: fall over seven times and stand up eight. It urges perseverance, and may be some comfort for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of this Sunday’s election.

Adam Memon, head of economic research at the Centre for Policy Studies, says Yes.

Budget supermarkets, and specifically Aldi and Lidl, have taken the British high street by storm, with consumers warmly embracing the German retailers’ “low price but high quality” message.

By the time the last of the chocolates have been foraged from the Advent Calendar, or thereabouts, WPP, the giant advertising group run by Sir Martin Sorrell, will very likely have chosen a new chair for the company’s board.

The AIM market, the London Stock Exchange’s junior market, has been subjected to an unprecedented level of criticism over recent weeks.

ISLINGTON Council has just declared war on overseas investors. It has even coined a catchy little phrase, “buy-to-leave” investors, citing them as the cause of new homes standing empty.

VERY strange things have been happening in government bond markets. The yield on 10-year US government bonds is currently around 2.25 per cent.

Lord Wood of Anfield, a shadow cabinet minister and adviser to Ed Miliband, says Yes.

The OECD report confirms that inequality is not just a social problem, but a serious economic problem.

IT’LL be a busy week for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Yesterday, the regulator announced a new strategic approach for the organisation, with key personnel changes and a “sharper focus” on the challenges ahead.