1 UK oil sector job losses may reach 120,000 (BBC) The number of jobs lost as a result of the downturn in the UK oil and gas sector could top 120,000 by the end of this year, according to a report. Oil & Gas UK estimated 84,000 jobs linked to the industry went in 2015, with 40,000 losses expected this year.
It said the offshore industry supported 453,000 jobs at its 2014 peak – either directly, in its supply chain or in trades such as hotels and taxis. The new figures suggest 330,000 jobs would be supported by the end of 2016.
The analysis was carried out by marketing services company Experian. Last week a Bank of Scotland/Lloyds Banking Group survey suggested that a third of UK oil and gas businesses planned to cut jobs further during this year. Brent crude is currently trading at about $50 a barrel, less than half the price it was in 2014 when jobs linked to the sector peaked at over 450,000.
2 Soros feels Brexit will spell end of EU (Phillip Inman in The Guardian) Billionaire investor George Soros has warned that a Brexit vote this month would make the breakup of the EU “almost certain”.
Soros – who shot to fame in 1992 as the man whose $10bn bet against the pound broke the Bank of England – has switched more of his fortune into gold as he anticipates possible shockwaves from a leave vote in the EU referendum. “If Britain leaves, it could unleash a general exodus, and the disintegration of the European Union will become practically unavoidable,” he said.
Soros said he was confident that support for Britain to remain in the EU would rise in the two weeks remaining before the vote, but in any case there was a good chance the EU will collapse due to the migration crisis and challenges in Greece.
Soros, who made $1bn when his 1992 currency bet forced John Major’s government into a humiliating devaluation and led to sterling dropping out of the exchange rate mechanism, said an EU breakup was another threat to global stability along with concerns over the Chinese economy and a Trump presidency.
In recent months the currency speculator has bet that a devaluation of the Chinese currency, the yuan, was inevitable, earning himself a rebuke from the Beijing authorities. “China continues to suffer from capital flight and has been depleting its foreign currency reserves while other Asian countries have been accumulating foreign currency. China is facing internal conflict within its political leadership, and this will complicate its ability to deal with financial issues,” he said.
3 Larry Page and visions of a flying car (Emily Price in San Francisco Chronicle) In addition to self-driving cars, it looks like Google’s CEO has interest in flying ones as well. A new report suggests that Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has been secretly funding companies working to create flying vehicles.
According to a Bloomberg report, Page has been quietly funding Zee.Aero, a company working on an all-electric plane that functions essentially like a flying car. The company’s headquarters is located right beside Google’s in Mountain View; however, it denied any ties to the company.
Now reports suggest that while the company isn’t technically owned by Google, it is being funded by its CEO. Page has reportedly been funding the startup since its launch in 2010; however, it did so under the condition that his involvement not be shared with public.
Reportedly, Page even had his own apartment on the top floor of the company’s headquarters, at least until that space needed to be used for Zee.Aero’s operations. Page was referred to by employees as GUS (the guy upstairs).
Now Zee.Aero employs close to 150 people, and has an office in Hollister as well as Mountain View, a location it opened in order to conduct test flights of the vehicle. Page is also reportedly funding another similar startup called Kitty Hawk, a reference to the location of the Wright Brothers’ first flight.