UK prime minister Boris Johnson placed England into a national lockdown and closed all schools as concerns grew over the spread of the virus and hospital capacity. The OECD has warned that despite a programme of vaccination in place more lockdowns and social distancing could be with us for another 12 months.

Rishi Sunak announces new £4.6bn support package for UK business

Rishi Sunak has announced a £4.6bn fresh financial support package for struggling UK companies a day after the government imposed its toughest Covid-19 restrictions since last spring. The chancellor said the Treasury would provide £4bn of one-off “top-up grants” for an estimated 600,000 retail, hospitality and leisure companies, which can each claim up to £9,000. Read more →

Saudis pledge to cut oil output despite Russian increases

Saudi Arabia has pledged to slash an extra 1m barrels a day of oil output in February and March in an attempt to boost the price of oil even as Russia moves to increase production, with the kingdom moving to keep the Opec+ group’s fragile alliance intact in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more →

Sweden donates SEK 19.2 million to help developing countries participate in global trade

The government of Sweden has contributed SEK 19.2 million (approximately CHF 2 million) as part of its efforts to help developing countries improve their trading capacity and participate fully in global trade negotiations. Read more →

UK trade body to push for tough standards on imported food

A commission advising the UK government on post-Brexit trade will push for a tough approach to standards of imported food. Imported food standards are a key concern for farmers, who are worried that as the UK makes post-Brexit trade deals, their own products may be undercut by imports of foods grown using techniques banned in Britain, from pesticides to restrictive sow stalls for pigs. Read more →

Afreximbank & FCI receive grant to support emerging factoring firms in Africa

Afreximbank together with its partners the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and FCI announced the creation of a special purpose Grant authorized and funded by the AfDB’s Trust Fund to support the capacity building of emerging factoring firms in Africa that will benefit many SMEs across Africa. Read more →

UK SMEs prepare for life outside the EU

With the UK now officially separated from the EU, new research has found that the UK’s SMEs are worried about their future and the negative impact Brexit will bring to the economy. The NACFB Patron’s research found that 30% of SMEs think Brexit will have a negative impact on their business prospects, whilst only 22% think it will benefit them. Read more →

UN Agencies finalize framework on illicit trade flows

Pilot projects are using the new framework to calculate the costs of illicit trade and business practices in Afghanistan, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, and Peru. UNCTAD and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have finalized a conceptual framework for the statistical measurement of illicit financial flows (IFFs). Read more →

City Bank and ITFC record first-ever Shariah-based Blockchain Letter of Credit transaction

City Bank has become the first Bangladeshi bank to execute a cross-border Letter of Credit (LC) transaction under a Shariah-based financing arrangement executed using blockchain technology. City Bank has partnered with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), the trade solutions arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, which was both the advising as well as financing bank. The ITFC financed the LC under the Murabaha Trade Finance line with City Bank. Read more →