Early autumn 2018 has seen equity markets stumble especially those stellar performing ‘tech’ stocks including the FAANGs (September 2018 blog) giving back some of their gains. The bull market long touted about its demise has now suffered the consequences of rising fear factors which have concerned international investors. Rising US interest rates, margins peaking due to wages rises and inflationary costs such as rising oil prices and the tailing of the quantitative easing programmes from the US Federal Reserve and the ECB all have added to investors’ woes. Read more
US President Donald Trump managed yet again to cause upset among allies at the recent G7 meeting this time by not backing the pledge to fight protectionism. His wish to plough on with his America first agenda and introduce trade tariffs, threaten a trade war not only with China but European allies and its own neighbour Canada too. Trump supporters may celebrate their champion’s steadfastness on doing what he said he’d do on being elected however it’s more unnerving for the rest of the world.
People have been aware for a while of data mining when using free applications with marketing and advertising companies targeting users with tempting offers trolled from people’s own data usage.
The rancorous war of words in the diplomatic spat between the UK and Russia in the aftermath of the Salisbury nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia has included some old tactics from the Cold War era.
In light of recent developments in Saudi Arabia where the new Crown Prince has asserted his authority over his rivals and critical institutions within the Kingdom (see LDC, December 2017). There have been stirrings of discontent within the Islamic Republic of Iran enough to rattle the ruling clerics and provoke a response from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei about foreign agents stirring up discontent within Iran.
Events in the Middle East since November 2017 have taken some dramatic steps even for this politically volatile region.
Wars in Syria and Iraq grind on against now a much reduced ISIS threat however the Syrian Defence Force/Kurdish (YPG led and US supported) coalition are now vying for land and political control in regained territories. Libya’s civil strife continues with little notice given by the rest of the world until something dramatic happens.
In light of Britain’s Brexit struggles with the EU negotiators in Brussels embattled Prime Minister Theresa May faces continued dissonance within her party and subsequent dearth ineffective policies for her new minority government. The Conservatives remain as split over the EU and its Brexit outcome as they have ever been since the Maastricht treaty in 1992. Read more
Barcelona was battered, bruised and reeling from a weekend of civil unrest after an emotionally charged independence referendum for Catalonia, unsanctioned by the Madrid-based Spanish government, ensued into what appears as extremely heavy-handed treatment by riot police towards voters at polling stations. Read more
While Brexit negotiations trundle along economic warnings are building up. Former Labour Chancellor during the financial crisis of 10 years ago Lord Darling and former deputy BoE governor Charlie Bean have both recently shared concerns over debt remaining high since the 2008 crisis and an economic slowdown in the UK economy continuing into 2018. The latest construction purchasing managers’ index survey recorded a fall in activity from June-July 2017 and a reduction in new business since August 2016. Read more
The spring time terrorist attacks in both London and Manchester along with the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in London’s Borough of Kensington and Chelsea have left a painful and fearful legacy in the UK at present. While the new diminished government barely copes. Read more