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In a win for the UK space industry, the CAA looks set to approve Britain’s first vertical spaceport in the Shetlands according to The Telegraph

UK Space Sector Hoping to Skyrocket

In a win for the UK space industry, the CAA looks set to approve Britain’s first vertical spaceport in the Shetlands according to The Telegraph. If it can get the go-ahead, SaxaVord spaceport – previously known as Shetland Space Centre – may be on track to begin firing test rockets by next spring.

Earlier this month, the UK and European Space Agency announced a funding boost for the site, which it hopes will “help innovative companies develop new launch technologies and bring them to market.” The announcement follows continued growth in the UK’s space industry – which is now home to seven spaceports across the country. According to the, Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman MP, “The UK’s high growth £17 billion space industry is on the frontline of advanced satellite manufacturing and satcomms technology and services and set to grow fast as the commercial Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite sector expands in the next decade.” According to Freeman’s department, the sector employees 48,000 people across the country and is an important player in the world space economy. Nevertheless, one of its paper’s released in June noted that the UK government spends 0.05% of GDP on the space industry, trailing well behind the US which spends just under ¼ of a percent.

Andrew Bailey on Growth

In an interview with the Chronicle in Newcastle, the Governor of the Bank of England expressed concern over the growth trajectory of the UK. Speaking over the weekend, he stated that “If you look at what I call the potential growth rates of the economy, there’s no doubt it’s lower than it has been in much of my working life.” Here Bailey expressed particular concern over the supply side area of the economy. His comments come as the Bank of England are predicting 0.1% growth over this quarter ahead of 0% growth in 2024 and 0.25% for 2025. Bailey also indicated that rates are unlikely to be cut for some time as the central bank continue to try to bring inflation down to their 2% target rate. Markets are presently pricing in a rate cut sometime during the summer of 2024. 

China Shifting Focus to Smaller Projects on BRI

According to a government paper released by the CCP last Friday, China will look to give priority to smaller projects on their landmark Belt and Road Initiative. This forms part of a shift seen over the last year where China have been seen to move increasingly in support of smaller, more economical projects. According to the think tank Green Finance & Development Centre for example, “the average deal size for investments has decreased from about $617m in 2022 to $392m in the first half of 2023. Compared to the peak in 2018, the investment deal size is 48% smaller.”

Today’s Events

Today will see delegates from around the world meet at the Expo City, Dubai, for COP 28. The meeting follows last year’s event at Sharm El Sheikh where the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell called for “every corner of human activity” to work towards keeping global warming within the 1.5°C limit (above pre-industrial levels).  Away from the first day of COP28 (covered during yesterday’s report), today’s main events include US consumer confidence released at 1500 today, ahead of Lagarde speaking an hour later. The Bank of England’s MPC member, Johnathan Haskel will also be speaking later this evening at 1700. Haskel is generally considered to be one of the most dovish members of the committee, so markets will be keen to gauge an insight into the Bank’s appetite to explore cutting rates next year.

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