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Flatlining: England’s Interest Rate

 1 min read / 

Bank_of_England_key_interest_rate_Data_TMMChart.png

Trader’s remarks: The Bank of England will probably draw on lessons learned from the Scottish referendum and the global financial crisis as it steps up its preparations for a possible decision by Britain to leave the EU on 23 June. A key decision would be whether to raise interest rates to prevent a falling pound leading to higher inflation, or whether to ease policy – either through a cut in the cost of borrowing or through an expansion of the Bank’s £375bn quantitative easing programme – to support growth.

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America’s Favourite Beers: Lighter the Better

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American Beer

Just this week, the world’s largest brewer (by a long way), AB InBev, decided to invest heavily in the burgeoning American craft beer industry. However, as the above chart shows, the established brands – and particularly their “light” ranges – dominate American beer sales. Nevertheless, in a pattern that has already graced Canada and the UK, craft breweries are gaining traction in the market as modern drinking tastes change. Meanwhile, Budweiser has teamed with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to send barley seeds on a round trip mission to space so that its owner, AB InBev, can call itself the first to provide astronauts on Mars with a beer.

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What Is the World’s Largest App Store? It’s not Apple’s…

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App Store

With over 2.8m different apps in its app store, Google comes out ahead of Apple, which can boast just 2.2m. This result reflects the broader Android/iPhone debate that has raged for several years now. Each phone has its own legion of fans but the sheer number of apps available on Google Play is now adding another dimension to the ongoing competition. Until recently, it was widely accepted that iOS apps generated higher revenues than their Android counterparts but the tables seem to be turning. Accordingly, commentators expect that a recent spike in Android users and the concurrent increase in spending on Android apps will make them more profitable than iOS apps in 2018. Google has also introduced Instant Apps, which essentially enable users to try out apps without actually downloading them in order to save storage space, data and time. Developers are currently building Instant App versions of their software to enable users to try out their offerings merely by pressing a “Try Now” button on the Google Play store. Apple is unlikely to have overlooked this innovation and a similar feature will probably grace the App Store sometime soon.

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Crunching Numbers: Social Media by Active Users

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Social Media Users

It is not surprising that Facebook dominates this list with over 2bn active users currently across its network, 1.3bn of whom also use the company’s Messenger app. However, the notable absence of Twitter from the top 10 social media sites by active users is somewhat strange. With just 330m active monthly users, Twitter is languishing and its user base is not growing. Nevertheless, after a programme of cost-cutting and deals to supply data to corporations, the company said recently that it might be on the verge of posting its first-ever profit this quarter. Instagram’s extraordinary rise over the past few years is reflected in its active users, who now number 700m – up from just 50m in 2012 before it was acquired by Facebook. Google-owned YouTube has also performed exceptionally well with 1.5bn active users, although this number does not include people who frequent the site without having an account.

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