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Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner and Nell Mackenzie

All times stated are UK

  1. Post update

    A girl plays tic tak toe with a clown

    That's it from Business Live for today.

    But we'll be back bright and early from 06:00 tomorrow morning.

    Do join us then for all the latest breaking news and analysis.

  2. British Airways owner demands information from the government in FOI

    International Airlines Group which owns British Airways and Aer Lingus say they have submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the government asking for further clarity on Flybe.

    The move comes amid a growing backlash against the government's plan to defer some of Flybe's air passenger duty payments, thought to top £100m.

    Here is what IAG has asked:

    •Is the government a financial guarantor to ensure Flybe’s survival? •Has it agreed to alter the timing or amount of Air Passenger Duty due to be paid by Flybe and, if so, why? •Has the government given loans to Flybe? •Has it ensured that Flybe’s owners have met their commitment to provide interim funding of up to £100 million for the airline as set out in their cash offer to buy Flybe in January 2019? •Is the government satisfied that the terms and agreements for connecting passengers between Flybe and its shareholders’ airlines are on normal commercial grounds that protect the interests of Flybe?

  3. Charles Schwab wins 433,000 new customers after it removed its fees

    stock picker on the phone

    The discount US stock broking behemoth added almost half a million new customers and client assets grew to more than £3trn.

    Profits for the year grew 6% to £8.18trn.

  4. HMRC have released a statement about tax arrangements

    HMRC said in response to questions about Flybe: "We have an excellent track record for supporting viable businesses with genuine short term difficulties and will always work with taxpayers to find the best possible solution, based on their specific financial circumstances – such as spreading tax payments over time through a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement.

    "We do not comment on identifiable businesses."

  5. EU trade commissioner says UK trade deal timing 'not possible'

    EU and British flag

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to negotiate a full trade deal by the end of 2020 is "just not possible", the EU's trade commissioner the has said, according to the Press Association.

    Phil Hogan said on Thursday "Certainly by the end of the year we are not going to get everything that's in the 36-page document on the future relationship agreed because Prime Minister Johnson decided we are going to have everything concluded by the end of the year," he said.

    "It's just not possible. Especially if we have to make a decision about the transition by July 1."

    The comments of the EU's top trade negotiator came in a European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen met with the Prime Minister in Downing Street last week.

  6. UK stocks close lower while US rally continues

    The FTSE 100 neared close on Thursday, with Pearson and Whitbread continuing to drag the UK blue-chip index lower while US markets continued to hit highs.

    The FTSE-100 index at 16:00pm was down 37 points at 7,606.

    At the time of writing, the Dow continued its rally up 63 points from its 29,132 open, on the implications of a lasting US China trade deal and a record earnings report from US banking giant, Morgan Stanley.

    The tech heavy Nasdaq index had jumped 45 points to 9,304.01.

    The pound at 4pm was largely flat from yesterday's close before, trading 1.3064 dollars. The euro at 4pm was 0.8525 pounds compared to 0.8566 pounds at the previous close.

    Brent crude laid largely flat, rising 0.55% to $64.55 a barrel.

    Palladium, a rare metal used in catalytic converters soared to an all time record of $2,395.71 up 19% for the year, so far.

    trader looking at markets
  7. Perhaps O'Leary can have his TTP

    HMRC has suggested in a tweet that what has been described as a 'tax holiday' offered to Flybe is available to any businesses in need.

    View more on twitter
  8. Hays Travel: 'We're different to Thomas Cook'

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Video content

    Video caption: Hays Travel owners on what makes them different to their predecessor Thomas Cook.

    The owners of the travel company which took over Thomas Cook’s shops last year have told BBC Radio 5 Live what they think makes them different to their predecessor.

    John and Irene Hays own Sunderland-based Hays Travel which saved all 555 Thomas Cook stores, protecting the jobs of more than 2,000 employees.

    They spoke to Sean Farrington and Rachel Burden on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast about their business model, and how many positive messages they’ve had from people since taking over.

  9. Ryaniar threatens legal action over Flybe 'bailout'

    flybe plane

    Ryanair chief executive, Michael O'Leary has sent a letter to chancellor Sajid Javid threatening legal action against the government, according to a report by Sky news.

    Mr O'Leary demanded in a letter to chancellor Sajid Javid that the air passenger duty respite offered to the struggling regional carrier should be extended to other airlines.

    “This Government bailout of the billionaire owned Flybe is in breach of both Competition and State Aid laws.

    The Flybe model is not viable which is why its billionaire owners are looking for a state subsidy for their failed investment," the letter says.

    It continues: "If Flybe fails (as it undoubtedly will once this Government subsidy ends) then Ryanair, Easyjet, BA and others will step in and provide lower fare flights from the UK regional airports, as we already have to make up for the recent failure of Thomas Cook Airways.

    This Flybe ‘subsidy’ cannot comply with Competition, or State Aid rules unless the same APD eco tax holiday and other Government subsidies are extended to all other UK competitor airlines including Ryanair, Easyjet, BA among others.”

  10. Flybe to move Newquay-Heathrow flights to Gatwick

    Flybe plane

    Flybe, the airline which has received government help to avert collapse, is planning to scrap its Newquay-Heathrow service in March.

    It will replace it with flights from Newquay to London's Gatwick airport.

    It comes just days after ministers said the airline should receive support because of its regional connectivity.

    The change is expected to anger businesses in the South West, who value the range of international destinations Heathrow provides.

  11. Germany's biggest power company says leaving brown coal will cost jobs

    RWE's Niederaussem power plant in Bergheim, Germany
    Image caption: RWE's Niederaussem power plant in Bergheim, Germany

    Rolf Martin Schmitz, the chief executive of RWE, Germany's biggest power producer has said that exiting from brown coal mining and producing would cost thousands of jobs, according to a Reuters report.

    "We assume that in the short term, 3,000 jobs will go. By 2030, it will be 6,000 in total. The number of employees in our brown coal system will fall by over 60% in just 10 years," Mr Schmitz said on a call with reporters.

    The company will stick with its coal business unit but will exit the use of brown coal after Germany signed an agreement to drop nuclear and coal power.

  12. Economy slows down as private sector shrinks

    Image caption: New numbers show Northern Ireland lags behind the rest of the UK

    The Northern Ireland economy slowed down last year because of a contraction in the private sector.

    Official figures show the private sector between July and September of 2019 was 0.3% smaller than earlier in the year.

    Northern Ireland's economy is also continuing to lag behind the rest of the UK.

    The UK's GDP grew at a faster rate than Northern Ireland, increasing 0.4% over the quarter and 1.1% in the 12 months to September 2019.

  13. Moss Bros shares climb on sales fall

    moss bros storefront

    Moss Bros shares skipped 4% higher to £23.90 on a trading update which showed "good progress" the company has made in its turnaround plans despite posting lower sales.

    The menswear retailer said like-for-like sales for the 24 week period from July 2019 were down 3.2% on a like for like basis.

    Chief executive Brian Brick says conditions "remain challenging" until consumer confidence improves and footfall stabilises.

  14. Mark Carney lands UN climate change role

    Mark Carney and Boris Johnson

    The outgoing Bank of England governor Mark Carney has been appointed by the Prime Minister as a key adviser for the UN climate change conference, COP26.

    Boris Johnson confirmed Mr Carney today as the Prime Minister’s Finance Adviser for the conference.

    In the job, Mr Carney will advise the government on what banks, pension funds and insurers should be doing to help tackle climate change.

    The position will be part time and pro-bono.

  15. Fundraising appeal launched for Big Ben Brexit chimes

    Big Ben

    A crowdfunding project aims to raise £500,000 by the weekend to pay for the bell to ring on 31 January.

    An appeal to raise £500,000 by the weekend has been launched to ensure Big Ben chimes when the UK leaves the EU at 23:00 GMT on 31 January.

    The famous bell has only rung a few times since renovations began in 2017.

  16. Trump says his trade deal is the 'greatest ever made'

    The US president has given an historical ranking to the trade deal he has signed with China, via Twitter:

    View more on twitter
  17. Lebanon regulator demands bank details of money transfers

    The Shia youths set cars ablaze and threw stones and fireworks at police
    Image caption: The Shia youths set cars ablaze and threw stones and fireworks at police

    Lebanon's banking control commission has asked its commercial banks to disclose details of any bank transfers to Switzerland since October, according to documents seen by Reuters.

    While the regulator has not demanded customer names, banks have a week to provide the dates and sizes of funds leaving the country.

    The request comes after a development political and economic crisis sparked anti-government protests this month. Banks have blocked money transfers out of the country.

  18. Asda trials refills at 'sustainability store'

    Asda shopper

    Shoppers can fill their own containers at the store, as the supermarket tries to reduce plastic waste.

    Customers at a Leeds branch will be able to use refill stations for own brand rice and pasta, as well as Kellogg's cereals and PG Tips.

  19. EU trade chief will check to see if US China deal is unfair

    Liu He and Donald Trump
    Image caption: Liu He and Donald Trump

    A top EU trade official has said that the trade deal struck by the United States and China will need to be checked to make sure if it is compliant with global rules, according to a report from Reuters.

    "The devil is in the detail," EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said from a video link from Washington where he is meeting U.S. officials this week. "We will have to assess whether it is WTO compliant."

    Mr Hogan said that he would not want to "let Chinese dominance put EU companies out of business based on unfair subsidies" and that though the European Union "was very open" where as China "is not open and is not opening up as promised".

  20. US China deal 'relies heavily on Chinese good will'

    There has been little movement in currency and other markets following the signing of the phase 1 trade deal between the US and China.

    Analysts said the agreement did not eliminate tariffs, was imprecise on enforcement, and made no real progress on a number of problems.

    Some were also sceptical that purchase targets set out in the deal are realistic.

    "Now that the Phase 1 deal has been signed, market participants’ focus will soon switch to whether China meets the commitments of the deal, and if progress is made towards a Phase 2 deal ... Higher tariffs remain a live threat if there is a lack of progress on either front," Lee Hardman, currency strategist at MUFG, said.

    China pledged to buy at least an additional $200bn worth of US farm products and other goods and services over two years.

    In return, the Phase 1 deal cancelled planned US tariffs on Chinese mobile phones, toys and laptops and halved to 7.5% the tariff on about $120bn worth of other goods, including flat-panel televisions, Bluetooth headphones and footwear.

    But it left in place 25% tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese industrial goods and components used by US manufacturers and China's retaliatory tariffs on over $100bn of US goods.

    "The deal relies heavily on China's goodwill and includes forced purchases of US goods and protection for intellectual property rights and [from] forced technology transfers," said Sebastien Galy, strategist at Nordea Asset Management. "Some demands are extremely hard to swallow, such as changing laws to accommodate the US. Overall, it feels like something that will not last more than a few months," Mr Galy said.