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  • Daily business and finance update 18th May 2023

Daily business and finance update 18th May 2023

Carmakers threaten Brexit exit

Good morning. Today we're talking about carmakers threaten UK exit, estate agent sold for £1 and AI boss asks for regulation.

Big Stories

Carmakers threaten Brexit exit

The government is lobbying the EU to delay Brexit-related local manufacturing requirements after the maker of Vauxhall, Fiat and Peugeot cars warned the rules may lead to factory closures. Stellantis is one of the world’s largest car manufacturers and employs more than 5,000 people in the UK. It told a Commons inquiry into supply of batteries for electric vehicle manufacture that their British investments were in the balance due to the terms of the trade deal. Current post-Brexit rules require 40% of an electric vehicle’s parts to be sourced in the UK or EU if it is to be sold on the other side of the Channel otherwise it is hit with a 10% trade tariff. This proportion is due to rise to 45% next year, and because most electric vehicle batteries are still imported from Asia, and batteries make up a large part of the cost of building a car, vehicles made in the UK and the EU are likely to fall foul of the rules. Stellantis said that would mean manufacturers "will not continue to invest" in the UK and will relocate.

Purplebricks sold

Online estate agent Purplebricks has been sold to smaller rival Strike for just £1. At its peak in 2017 Purplebricks was worth £1.4bn but its shares have since plunged 98% and it put itself up for sale in February. The company has failed to live up to the hype of an online disruptor to the estate agent industry since launching a decade ago. It expanded internationally following early success in the UK but saw losses pile up as it did so. In recent years it has pulled out Australia and the US and also been plagued by costly compliance issues in its lettings business. Strike will take on £33m of Purplebricks liabilities with all of its more than 750 staff put at risk of redundancy.

AI boss regulation plea

The CEO of the firm behind the viral AI chatbot ChatGPT has testified before Congress calling on US regulators to create licensing and safety standards for advanced AI systems. Sam Altman acknowledged that “if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong,” and invited the government to work with AI leaders on regulations. In recent weeks, researchers and executives have called to pause AI development, and AI pioneer Geoffrey Hinton quit his job at Google to be able to speak out about its risks. Since the launch of ChatGPT last year there has been discussion of the dangers of an unpredictable, evolving technology that can generate and spread misleading information. Historically regulators have been slow to respond to advances in technology but authorities in the US, EU and UK have all expressed plans to regulate AI. However critics say that the dynamic nature of AI means regulators would struggle to keep up with the pace of change.


Money worries: The number of adults struggling to pay their bills and debts has soared to nearly 11m, new figures show.

Trainer king: JD Sports has said it is on track to hit £1bn of profits this year as it steps up expansion in the US and Europe in a bet that the trend for trainers and sports leisurewear will roll on.

In fashion: The fast fashion brand Shein has announced plans to open 30 pop-up shops this year - including UK branches.

Surprising gain: UBS is in line to make an almost $35bn gain after its emergency takeover of Credit Suisse – but has said it will take a $17bn hit from costs related to the rushed rescue deal.

Back to the office: The "default" location for workers should be in the office, the chancellor suggested as he warned that logging on from home could stifle creativity.

Paying up: Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $75m to settle a lawsuit that claimed the lender had enabled Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex trafficking ring.

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Number Of The Day

£29 billion

How much the energy crisis cost UK consumers in higher bills last year.

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