Another Day of Gloom for the U.K.

Another Day of Gloom for the U.K. 

The U.K. economy contracted by 9.9% in 2020, it’s largest annual contraction since records began, as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged economic activity. 

In the final quarter of the year, gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 1%, according to the Office for National Statistics, as the country re-imposed nationwide lockdown measures in a bid to combat a resurgence of Covid-19 cases. 

The 9.9% annual contraction is more than twice that seen in 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. 

As of Friday morning, the U.K. has recorded more than 4 million cases and 115,000 deaths, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University. The U.K. has been blighted by new and more transmissible variants of the virus in recent months. 

In other news, Amsterdam has overtaken London as Europe’s largest share trading centre, and experts say the symbolic blow could be followed by the City losing jobs as well as more business owing to Brexit. 

The Dutch capital, which was previously the sixth largest exchange centre in Europe, saw average daily trading surge from €2.6bn (£2.3bn) to €9.2bn in January as exchanges shifted order books abroad after Brexit. 

It pushed London into second place, with average daily trading halving from €17.5bn to €8.6bn last month, according to data released by the CBOE exchange. 

The EU’s finance chief said on Thursday that Brussels would strive for close cooperation with Britain on financial services, but London could not expect “equivalence-based” access to the EU financial market if it diverged widely on rules. 

“While the issue of equivalence is an area which we will discuss with the United Kingdom progressively, taking into account the UK’s regulatory intentions on a case-by-case basis, there cannot be equivalence and wide divergence.”

Mairead McGuinness, the EU financial services commissioner, told an online event. 

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