Microsoft’s bid to acquire games developer Activision Blizzard has been provisionally accepted by the UK’s competition regulator. The tech giant’s proposed $75bn takeover has moved closer to completion after making amendments that satisfied the regulator. In other news, the US and China have created working groups to address economic and financial issues and stabilize their relationship. The EU trade commissioner has arrived in China with a list of commercial grievances to discuss. The UK’s opposition Labour party plans to strengthen the Office for Budget Responsibility, the country’s fiscal watchdog, to avoid a repeat of last year’s disastrous “mini” Budget.
In terms of the global economy, recent central bank decisions suggest that interest rate rises may be coming to an end. However, new surveys indicate challenging times ahead for the UK and Europe. The UK’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) showed a decline in business activity, indicating a potential recession. The eurozone PMI was also in negative territory, raising fears of economic contraction in the third quarter. The US PMI was barely positive, highlighting stagnation in output. Despite these economic challenges, the belief is growing that a change in interest rates is coming, with some economists suggesting that the global monetary tightening cycle has ended.
In terms of the environment, the UK car industry will still face stringent electric vehicle sales targets despite a delay in the ban on petrol and diesel cars. Support for “big government” in the UK has reached a record high, while a survey shows that just 20 companies take 80% of the profits generated by the Indian economy. In science news, researchers in Scotland believe they have produced an alternative to palm oil, a major driver of deforestation.
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