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Tuesday newspaper round-up: Britain, Smartphones, Oil

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UK economy growing at fastest pace since financial crisis; smartphone shipments top one billion; Governments need to 'deter' oil speculators.

Britain is growing as fast as it was before the financial crisis and the outlook is “buoyant”, according to a new economic indicator produced by the CBI. The employers’ group released its upbeat projection before today’s official growth figures, which are expected to show that the economy expanded by 1.9 per cent last year – the best performance in six years. – The Times

Global smartphone shipments surpassed 1bn last year for the first time, driven by demand for cheaper devices amid signs of slowing growth in the increasingly crowded higher end of the market. IDC, a technology research group, estimated that smartphone shipments in 2013 rose to just over 1bn – a 38% increase from the previous year and double the 494m recorded in 2011. – Financial Times

Thousands of Ford workers are being balloted for strike action in a row over job security and pensions. Members of the Unite and GMB unions will vote on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action aimed at safeguarding jobs after recent cuts led to Ford ending 100 years of vehicle production at its plant in Southampton. Unite has accused the American carmaker of leaving UK workers to bear the brunt of cuts, in the wake of the decision to move production of the Transit van from Britain to Turkey. – The Guardian

Fidelity, the world’s biggest institutional investor, has warned that the “tide is going out of emerging markets“, as authorities in Turkey and Argentina moved to shore up their currencies and stock markets fell around the world. Dominic Rossi, global chief investment officer at Fidelity, said the end of quantitative easing in the West and changes in Chinese fiscal policies were “forcing up the cost of capital across the emerging markets asset class”. – Daily Telegraph

Governments need to deter oil speculators, set aside reserves of crude oil and take steps urgently to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels in order to escape price volatility that undermines stable economic growth, according to a report co-authored by one of Britain’s top scientists. The exploitation of shale oil and gas may mitigate damaging price fluctuations in future but it will be terrible news for the environment and is not a longer term solution to the world’s energy needs, said the report co-written by Sir David King, published on Tuesday. – The Guardian

Emerging market countries faced fresh pressure on Monday to put up interest rates as Brazil warned that others would need to follow its lead in tightening monetary policy and Turkey’s central bank convened an emergency rate-setting meeting. Alexandre Tombini, Brazil’s central bank governor, said the “vacuum cleaner” of rising interest rates in the developed world would suck money out of emerging markets and force other central banks to tighten policy to beat inflation. – The Times

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