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Breakfast Briefing: Cryptos Slip, Google’s Fears & Shaky Stocks

Cryptos Slide Further

The total cryptocurrency market is trending towards just $300bn.

Editor’s Remarks: Despite reaching highs of nearly $850bn, the cryptocurrency market has more than halved to just $300bn. Bitcoin has fallen to beneath $6,700, its lowest level since last November while Ethereum is below $650, down more than 50% from its all-time high of $1,400. Altcoins have been similarly shredded in the sell-off with NEO now trading at below $80 and MIOTA down below $1.40. Quite what has caused the rout is unclear, particularly with global stocks falling at the same time. As such, whether or not this is the deluge that everyone has warned of is so far unclear.

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Google Fears Losing Car Lead

Leaked emails show that Google is worried about losing its lead to Uber.

Editor’s Remarks: The emails originate from 2015 and show that the Alphabet subsidiary was worried about Uber hiring specialists that Google had unsuccessfully attempted to lure. The emails go on to reveal senior management’s worry that Google was going to lose Anthony Levandowski, the driverless engineer who is now at the centre of a court battle between Alphabet and Uber. Levandowski then emailed Google’s founder Larry Page, saying that the company was losing its “tech advantage fast”, before launching Otto, his own vehicle startup that was later acquired by Uber.

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French Offshore Wind Picks Up

European energy experts believe that France will be a wind powerhouse by 2022.

Editor’s Remarks: France’s offshore turbine installations are expected to overtake both Germany and the UK by 2022, in what is a certain boost to President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to increase his nation’s renewable energy output. As of 2020, construction in French waters is expected to ramp up and make France the world’s fourth-biggest offshore wind generator by 2030. Macron has consistently pledged to transform France into a green energy leader, which led him to clash with Donald Trump last year following the US’ decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

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Global Stocks Suffer

After the Dow Jones fell on Monday, European and Asian stocks followed suit.

Editor’s Remarks: The FTSE 100 saw £60bn in value lost in early trading yesterday before the market bounced back. The UK index followed the fall in US indices that started on Monday after the White House released better than expected figures, leading to fears that an interest rate hike might be on the horizon. Overall, the global equities slump in the past several days is being described as a correction more than a crash. Many commentators feel that the record gains achieved over the last 12 months were overdone and the market is simply adjusting to more normal central bank policies.

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Renewed Brexit Tensions

EU officials warned Theresa May that leaving the customs union would lead to a hard Irish border. 

Editor’s Remarks: Just days after the EU threatened the UK with economic sanctions if tax rates were slashed post-Brexit, tensions have once again come to a head. This time, the row is over the wider implications of the UK leaving the customs union and specifically what would happen to the Irish border. Today, May is chairing an emergency talk with her Cabinet to discuss what customs arrangements she will pursue. Criticism has come on heavy and thick from German officials who feel that the UK is not painting a clear picture of what it wants as it heads in to the March summit.

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