Business Insights – Feb 28th – 2016

By: William Buist on : 28th February 2016: Business News, Business articles: 1 Comment

EU Referendum

Now that the referendum will be on June 23rd we’ll be reporting on the latest opinion polls and betting regularly.

EU poll tracker

The polls have narrowed slightly in the last week, with the average of the last six polls showing remain on 53% leave on 47%,

EU betting

Betting often shows a slightly different result and reflects where people are putting their money as opposed to what they tell a pollster. Current odds moved early in the week towards leave but by the end of the week were back to an average slightly less than 3/1 on for remain and around 2/1 against for leave. The bookies are still suggesting that the balance of betting strongly favour remaining.

Business Insights.


The FT is reporting that Barclays (A UK based banking and financial services company) has chosen to exit from its African subsidiary in which it holds more than 60% shareholding. The sale will take some time and need regulatory approval, but at current prices will raise around $3.5Bn for the parent. The trend for shrinking the size of banking operations and increasing focus on domestic markets for banks continues.

This week too RBS reported its eighth straight year of significant losses. This group, mostly owned by the UK Government after being bailed out in the banking crisis has seen its shares fall further this week.

Banking remains difficult, balance sheets are still not strong enough, governments aren’t able to sell off their stakes in the way that they would wish and the world economy is slowing. None of these things help George Osbourne as he plans his budget for the UK. A year ago the prospect of significant sales of shares in UK banks was strong and factored into the deficit reduction plans for Britain, instead, we are being warned of additional cuts in central spending. Eight years on from the banking crisis the economy remains tightly dependent on banking performance.

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