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Live Reporting

Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

  1. Cheerio

    That's all for tonight from the Live page. See you tomorrow from 06:00 for more business news and views.

  2. How will the economy fare in 2018?

    BBC World Service

    Video content

    This content is currently not available

    We'll leave you with Nobel prize winner Professor Joseph Stiglitz and his predictions for the world economy in 2018.

    The US economist explains how people are fed up with big companies setting the agenda.

    And he gives his view on whether Donald Trump's plans for protectionism will continue throughout the year.

  3. Prince Harry asks about mental health impact

    Prince Harry guest edits Today

    Is there a link between mental health and the nation's productivity?

    When Prince Harry was editing BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he asked us to look into this question.

    Business presenter Rob Young heard from the boss of a construction company who found counselling helped him to turn his firm around after the deaths of his father and best friend.

    Rob also spoke to researchers who said the evidence is incontrovertible: happier staff are more productive.

    Read more of Rob's findings here.

  4. Wall Street hits record highs (again)

    Wall Street sign

    US stocks have carried on their seemingly unstoppable momentum from 2017 - when they set record after record.

    The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes closed at all-time highs in the first session of the new year amid investor optimism that 2018 will bring more gains for the market.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% to 24,824, the S&P 500 gained 0.8% to 2,696 and the Nasdaq Composite added a whopping 1.5% to 7,007.

  5. Watch: UK vs European rail fares

    With average rail ticket prices seeing the biggest increase in five years, BBC News asks: Are we paying more to travel than our European neighbours?

    Video content

    Video caption: How do UK rail fares compare to European countries?
  6. Lost and found

    Bob the Builder

    What does a bath full of jersey potatoes have in common with 20 Bob the Builder costumes?

    They were both left behind at Travelodge hotels last year, according to the hotel chain. Other bizarre lost and found items included an urn containing a husband's ashes and a World War Two bravery medal.

    We can't work out if this is a particularly successful PR story, or a suggestion that customers tend to leave the hotel with undue haste. It's up to you which one it is...

  7. Sterling hits three-month high

    Pound coins

    The pound has hit $1.36 - its highest level since September - as investors shrugged off weaker-than-expected manufacturing data to focus on upcoming Brexit talks.

    UK factory activity dipped slightly last month from a four-year high - but was still a "stunningly good" number, according to Jane Foley at Rabobank.

    "I get the sense with sterling that there is a 'wait and see' attitude," she added. "We all know that Brexit remains an enormous theme for sterling, particularly the start of the trade talks."

    Currency strategists at MUFG agreed that progress in the Brexit talks was key, and predicted the pound would break above $1.40.

  8. The Pink 'Un arrives

    Here's a first look at the Financial Times' front page for tomorrow.

    They lead with the news that trade ministers are looking at joining a Pacific trade bloc (see our post at 19:35).

    There's also a focus on Eurozone manufacturing, which the paper says is growing at the fastest pace since records began.

    View more on twitter
  9. UBS Libor chats 'were company policy'

    Andy Verity

    BBC Economics correspondent

    UBS London office

    Practices for which some traders have been prosecuted, jailed or banned were company policy at the Swiss bank UBS, a court has heard.

    UBS staff were expected to take into account the bank's commercial interests when setting the benchmark Libor rate, the High Court was told.

    Lawyers for former trader Arif Hussein cited evidence to support that claim.

    They are seeking to overturn a Financial Conduct Authority decision to ban him from the industry.

    The regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, claimed it was "obvious" that the bank should not take into account the bank's commercial interests when setting Libor.

    Read more here.

  10. Grayling regrets rail fare rise

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Chris Grayling

    The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has responded to accusations by Labour he's gone "into hiding" on the day of the biggest increase in rail fares since 2013.

    He told BBC Radio 5 live Drive that he "regrets the level of train fare increase" and defended his trip to Qatar, saying he makes no apology for trying to win jobs for Britain.

    Mr Grayling said he wished the rise "wasn't as high as it is", but added he couldn't unpick decades of arrangements within the rail industry.

    Regulated rail fares rise in line with the RPI measure of inflation - and Mr Grayling said the government would like to link them instead to the CPI measure, which tends to be lower.

  11. UK to join Pacific trade deal?

    TPP signs

    The UK government has held informal talks about joining the Trans Pacific Partnership - the trade deal of 11 Pacific countries which the US left last year, according to the Financial Times.

    Trade minister Greg Hands told the paper there was no geographical restriction on Britain joining TPP. “With these kind of plurilateral relationships, there doesn’t have to be any geographical restriction,” he said.

    In a further statement, the Department for International Trade told the BBC:

    Quote Message: We have set up 14 trade ‘working groups’ across 21 countries to explore the best ways of progressing our trade and investment relationships across the world. It is early days, but as our Trade Policy Minister has pointed out, we are not excluding future talks on plurilateral relationships." from Department for International Trade spokesperson
    Department for International Trade spokesperson
  12. Reality Check

    How much are the railways subsidised?

    Chart showing train subsidies

    There's been much discussion of railway funding today, with fares rising.

    This is the chart you need to tell you how much the government is contributing.

    It's the subsidy in pence per passenger kilometre, adjusted for inflation, going back to 2008-09.

    It shows the result of the government deciding to get more of the cost of running the railways paid for by passengers rather than taxpayers.

  13. The problems with a crypto-currency's value

    Rory Cellan-Jones

    Technology correspondent

    "Forget Bitcoin, that's old hat - it's time to get into Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple."

    So goes the message from the crypto-currency enthusiasts when critics mention Bitcoin's failings as a currency and its profligate use of energy in the mining process.

    They also like to use a dubious measure - market capitalisation - to show just how significant a force a crypto-currency like Ripple, or rather its crypto-currency XRP, has become.

    Ripple's market cap has been calculated by multiplying the number of XRP coins in existence by the current dollar exchange rate.

    But unlike a company such as Apple, Ripple has no reliable assets or revenue streams backing up that rate, and changing it into "fiat currency" - that dreary old concept that is supposedly heading for extinction - may prove tricky if everyone heads for the exit at once.

    So as with everything connected with crypto-currencies it's best to take their market caps with a sackload of salt.

  14. The next Bitcoin?

    Ripple crypto coin

    Bitcoin was the big story on the financial markets last year, after its sharp, but also volatile, ascent saw it almost hit $20,000 - a rise of nearly 1,900% - before falling back.

    Now a rival crypto-currency, called Ripple, has become the second most valuable virtual cash system. Over the weekend the value of Ripple hit more than $100bn (£74bn) according to some market monitors.

    This valuation is higher than the other popular crypto-cash system - Ethereum.

    Each Ripple coin, called an XRP, is now worth about $2.34 - far higher than the half a US cent they were worth a year ago.

    However, that's still far below the price of one Bitcoin - which is currently around $14,400.

  15. Trade deal 'short on realism'

    Chuka Umunna

    Pro-EU campaigners have been quick to criticise the government for reportedly looking at joining a trade deal of major Pacific nations (see earlier post).

    Open Britain, which campaigns for the UK to remain in the single market and customs union, says a Pacific trade deal won't make up for lost trade with the EU.

    “Ministers have started 2018 as they ended 2017 - high on hopes but short on realism," says Labour MP Chuka Umunna (pictured left). “The EU already has or is negotiating trade deals with most of these countries, all of which are being unnecessarily put at risk by the government’s decision to leave the single market and the customs union," he adds.

  16. Sterling starts 2018 on a high

    Dollar and pound notes

    If you go back 12 months, analysts were predicting the pound would hit parity with the euro.

    But as the new year gets underway, sterling is heading in the other direction. It's pushing towards €1.13 - having risen by 0.2% in the first day of full trading.

    Against the dollar, it's fared even better - rising by 0.6% to just shy of $1.36.

    The rise had a negative effect on the FTSE 100, though, which fell back from a record high as dollar-earning exporters took a hit.

    Consumer staples took the most points off the UK's blue-chip index, just over 19 points, as shares in British American Tobacco, Diageo and Unilever declined. They all make a significant chunk of their revenues overseas.

  17. UK 'could join Pacific trade deal'

    The Financial Times has news of an audacious - and unexpected - move that the UK is reportedly looking at as a way of boosting post-Brexit trade.

    It says the government has held informal talks about joining the Trans Pacific Partnership - a trade deal involving North American, Asian and Australasian countries.

    If the UK joined, it would be the first member that didn't border the Pacific Ocean or South China Sea. It would also come after Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal, which was a key Obama initiative.

    The 11 remaining members, including Australia, Japan and Mexico, agreed in November to continue with a successor deal - and it's this which the UK could look to join.

    View more on twitter
  18. Tobacco firm 'tries to give up cigarettes'

    Cigarette stub

    Speaking of New Years' resolutions, tobacco firm Philip Morris has placed an ad in some newspapers promoting its "ambition to stop selling cigarettes in the UK".

    The text of the advertisement runs: "Our New Year's resolution: we're trying to give up cigarettes". It is part of the company's drive to achieve a "smoke-free future".

    The owner of the Marlboro brand has also written to Theresa May asking to be allowed to print information about quitting and switching on its cigarette packs.

    However, anti-smoking campaigners described the campaign as a "PR stunt".

    Read more here.

  19. Music to its ears

    DJ Khaled

    With everyone stoically sticking to their New Year's resolutions, at least for a few weeks, it's perhaps no surprise that slimming firm Weight Watchers is doing well on the stock market.

    BBC business presenter Susannah Streeter suggests it also has something to do with the company signing up US music producer DJ Khaled as its latest celebrity ambassador.

    DJ Khaled - whose songs have featured Rihanna and Justin Bieber - is looking to bring some of his big social media following to the dieting programme.

    On a web page announcing his involvement, he extols the virtues of high-energy foods like eggs, chicken, and sashimi and says they enable him to "focus on what I love—being the best".

    View more on twitter
  20. FTSE suffers New Year's hangover

    London fireworks

    There were no fireworks on the first day of trading in London. Having finished 2017 at a record high, the FTSE 100 has endured a rough start to the year.

    The UK's blue-chip stock index closed 40 points - or 0.5% - lower at 7,648, with insurers and miners among the worst-performing stocks.

    The market finished on a "downbeat note ... as if feeling the effects of the party from the day before", said analysts at The Share Centre.

    It is only the fifth time in the last 15 years that the market has finished lower on the opening day of the year, they added.