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Morning Brief – Friday 28th June

End of Quite a Week

 

With this weekend’s G20 meeting there really is so much that could go right -or wrong- and markets are rightly fixated on signals regarding USA-China trade talks; European economics; British politics; Gulf tensions and in particular the potential for Iran to abandon the nuclear agreement plus last but not least USA tariffs. It’s a heady mixture.  In case you missed it, Bitcoin on the back of FOMO-Fear Of Missing Out-has soared to $13,750, a rise of 40% on the week. USD has weakened and GBP having initially been phlegmatic to a record low utilization for international trade transactions of just 6.7% plus the unfolding Boris Hunt contest, has weakened. That summer holiday has just got that much more expensive. A staycation in Skegness has become much more of a bargain.

 

 

Beer, Avocado and Tequila = BATs

 

The imposition of tariffs will see these key lifestyle items rise- for example, avocados have risen sharply overnight in anticipation of POTUS imposing a 5% tariff on Mexican exports. So stock up on Sol beer and Jose Cuervo Tequila as a minimum and get ready to pay more for your smashed avocado breakfast!

 

 

Glastonbury Graham

 

It’s finally THAT weekend and SGM-FX’s Graham is long of ice, beer (Mexican Sol presumably) luminous neck rings and joss sticks as he prepares to don those gold hot pants and dance around at home in front of his widescreen to Kylie. Meanwhile there’s quite a bit of tuneful warbling from that end of the desk- but fortunately no sign of the hot pants:

 

I should be so lucky

Lucky, lucky, lucky

I should be so lucky in love

I should be so lucky

Lucky, lucky, lucky

I should be so lucky in love

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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Morning Brief – Thursday 27th

Wrecking Ball

 

 

We’ve had baby Trump in a diaper hovering tens of feet above parliament square but I’ve got a new idea for all you Trump sceptics out there for your next false idol before the President. A Miley Cyrus ‘smash hit’ – Wrecking Ball – inspired figure featuring Trump on a wrecking ball. Following the spirited imagination of those responsible for two extant homages to Trump, I’m sure the model would render Trump as scantily clad as the star of the music video was! Regardless, Trump has caused a stir in markets ahead of the G20 Summit, smashing into any leader that finds themselves in the path of @realDonaldTrump!

 

Trump’s victims thus far: Shinzo Abe, Prime minister of Japan; Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China; Jay Powell, his own Federal Reserve Chairman; Margrethe Vestager, EU antitrust commissioner; Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s serving President. That’s a lot of powerful people who all share at least one thing in common this week, they’ve all been and are still in the sights of Trump’s wrecking ball.

 

Yesterday the US Dollar was spurred by reports of optimism on the trade war. The mechanism was the same as the one laid out by us earlier this week with progress on trade being seen as supportive to the US economy, thereby muting the preeminent fear that the Fed will have to cut rates at its July meeting and further into 2019. Given his attack on each of these individuals above, perhaps we might be inclined to assume that Trump is not in the most conciliatory of moods and, therefore, perhaps Osaka won’t be the frenzied deal making bonanza it has the potential to be.

 

Then again, we’ve been surprised by Trump’s ad lib foreign policy before and then, perhaps, this weekend will be no different. President Xi will find himself in the crosshairs of Trump’s offensive amidst reports this morning that China has purchased oil from Iran. Sanctions on Iranian oil and exports by Trump have been in existence for a long time but the concession for Chinese exporters to access the nation’s natural resources was revoked last month.

 

The defiance of these rules, if confirmed and blamed upon political figures, will stand in the way of trade progress between the US and China, weakening the US Dollar as the expectation of lower interest rates is priced in all over again. The Dollar is weaker at market open this morning selling off around 20 pips versus the Euro and slightly more against a strengthening Pound.   Movement within the South African Reserve Bank’s governorship is leaving the Rand unimpaired this morning. News that the Deputy Governor will step down leaves the Rand largely unchanged. The currency performed admirably alongside yesterday’s trade optimism and is now testing important technical levels within its major crosses.

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Charles Porter

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Figures

Morning Brief – Wednesday 26th

Markets

 

With US officials now playing down the likelihood of a US-China trade deal at the forthcoming G20 at the end of this week, there are two takeaways for seasoned market watchers: first there is little likelihood of a trade deal given the well known entrenched positions of the protagonists and second the USA does not want to risk further egg on its face after the fiasco last time markets expected a deal only to have those expectations crushed. Maybe just maybe the G20 is in fact a more positive pitch for the USA and China than markets expect. With the USD having sold off and stock markets sharing that pessimism, there is room for surprise and upside: hold the front page!

 

 

India and Oil

 

That engine of growth and prosperity and home to 1.4 billion people has woken up to the events and threats in the Gulf of Arabia with a rude shock: 84% of its oil is imported and 63% of its oil comes from the Middle East and through the straits of Hormuz…If you are struggling to understand why PM Modi might be having sleepless nights over this, bearing in mind that that oil will still flow to some degree and that India will no doubt source alternative supplies, get this: India has only 9 days of reserves. Now THAT is a statistic. Watch the Indian Rupee digest that- in addition to the other challenges it has with unemployment and a stuttering economy (by their standards).

 

 

World’s Top 20 Restaurants

 

Beware the latest version of the WT20 guide-great if you are a restaurant that is featured but for the dining public it is just as likely to mean grossly inflated pricing and not necessarily the best of experiences. What is striking is the inclusion of some restaurants and the exclusion of many other in our opinion at least, better ones!
However hats off to the Menton, France restaurant Mirazur which has 3 Michelin Stars, the most stunning view from its terrace and several menus which while dear look to be fair value for the restaurant voted the very best in the World!
Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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Morning Brief – Tuesday 25th

Group of 20

 

 

How many sets of eyes and ears do you really need in order to react quickly to the set of discussions taking place in Osaka, Japan this Friday? A minimum for 10 pairs, assuming each leader has a conversation with at least one other person and doesn’t have a solitary wander around murmuring international secrets?! In fact, you’ll probably need to grow a few more pairs what with the delegations backing up each leader in what is shaping up to be one of the most crucial summits perhaps this decade, even millennium.

 

Leaders and their delegations will meet later this week with huge topics set to be discussed. From the Sino-US sideline discussion on the trade war and tariffs to Italy’s defiance of the European Commission, hundreds if not thousands of reporters, analysts and interest groups will be focusing on the event.

 

The US Dollar weakened further overnight to the benefit of Gold prices. Unfortunately for global growth and the health of riskier assets across the world, this isn’t the unwinding of defensive Dollar demand that caused a USD surge in the early phases of the trade war. With equity prices struggling to make gains across Asian, European and US markets, the move is far more indicative of the monetary policy shift across the Atlantic. The move therefore reveals very little about markets’ expectations for the pivotal meeting between the Chinese Premier Xi and President Trump.

 

What happens in the event of a trade breakthrough at this meeting? The dispute on trade has so far led to a heightened demand for defensive assets. With the US Dollar as the currency of global commerce (consider the denomination of the world’s oil prices or nations’ ‘hard’ debt issuance), a threat to trade also leads to demand for the asset that underwrites it as a form of protection. Consider fuel or food crises that we’ve all lived through, what happens? People stockpile the asset at risk. In a fuel crisis, people queue up for days at petrol stations and in food crises, all you’ll find in the isles of your local supermarket are cupcake tins and newspapers. The same is true with trade crises – a threat to commerce leads economic agents to stockpile the only guaranteed assets behind their global trading activities; and that’s the Dollar. Combine this with the status of the Dollar as a safe haven and reserve currency and trade threats inevitably lead to a stronger Dollar. A breakthrough on trade this weekend would therefore unwind the stockpiling of USD that has already occurred in order to survive the conflict, creating pressure for it to weaken further.

 

However, there’s been a major change in US economic dynamics since the start of the trade war. When tariffs first started to be raised and the rhetoric between the US and China first started to sour, the Dollar looked like a good bet. Growth was incredibly strong, the Fed was raising rates and expected to continue thereby deepening the demand the greenback commanded as a result of higher interest rates and yields, and the market remained optimistic with respect to inflation expectations. As 2018 progressed, the perception of an infallible US economy has changed and instead of expecting rates to keep rising the market now prices a 40% chance of two rate cuts in 2019 – far from the expectation of 3 hikes that money markets priced for this year within the US only six months ago.

 

A restoration of trade relationships this week would reverse the cuts to global and domestic growth expectations that have suffered as a result of the trade war. As expectations for economic activity rise the expectation that the Federal Reserve will have to cut rates in order to foster domestic economic growth evaporates. As a result, bond yields would rise once again as the market prices out their expectations for a looser monetary policy, restoring the reward for holding the Dollar and US assets. The Dollar would receive support from this dynamic and as a result, determining its net move in the event that the US and China signal their willingness to make a deal is challenging. Whatever the case, the move is likely to be limited by the conflicting dynamics.

 

Instead, look towards a weakening of defensive instruments including Gold, the Japanese Yen and the Swiss franc. The Pound Sterling too should receive a bid given the elevated risk profile currently assigned to it.

 

Big news over the weekend that the European Commission will at least delay its formal procedures under the Excessive Deficit Procedure against Italy have supported the Euro. The spread of Italian bond yields over German or average European yields have narrowed considerably since the announcement on Sunday evening showing that investors perceive the risk associated with the Italian political economy to be lower than before. Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is likely to meet with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the summit to progress the negotiations surrounding Italy’s fiscal outlook. A hint towards concessions from both parties will lead to further Euro strength as the spread between Italian and European risk assets would tighten further. A fallout between the two could unwind the rallying Euro we’ve seen so far this week.

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Charles Porter

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Morning Brief – Monday 24th

Istanbul Express(ion) by its citizens

 

Over the weekend the citizens of Istanbul spoke and the result was a decisive defeat for President Erdogan’s policies with 54% of the vote for the Mayor of Istanbul going to Ekrem Imamoglu. Why is this significant? First because the expected winner Erdogan man Binali Yildirim only won 45%. Second the Mayor of the commercial and key principal city of Istanbul can reasonably aspire to becoming President in due course- that was the route followed by President Erdogan which is why he is so concerned. The markets have been justifiably wary of the suggestion of less than free and fair elections in the recent past, but this result has already served to strengthen the Lira against the USD overnight.

 

 

FOMO

 

We last wrote about Bitcoin two months ago having seen the cryptocurrency burst into life since the beginning of the year and it having risen from $3000 to $6000. That momentum has continued and a month ago it reached $8000.Then on Friday it rose to $10,769.As highlighted earlier, this is partly driven by demand caused by many newly affluent Chinese wanting to get money out of China versus scarce supply of this highly expensive to mine currency. But there is another factor at play here which is as old as time…
FOMO or the fear of missing out! Buckle up as $10K is a key chartpoint and Bitcoin or BTC has only spent 3% of its already eventful life above that level!

 

 

The Happiness Graph

 

Reading about this topic it is striking that up until we reach the age of 30, statistically our happiness increases, then there is a 20 year decline in pretty much a straight line before at the age of 50 and at a low point of one’s life, the decline is arrested. However by the age of 60 one is setting new levels of happiness above the previous high at age 30 and soaring on in a perpetual straight line
for the rest of our lives. That’s presumably the reason for those grinning baby boomer silver surfers enjoying the good life in most weekend publications!

 

 

Gulf Tensions

 

As we write, POTUS has announced that he will impose new sanctions on Iran this morning, both international and local airlines are re-routing aircraft away from potential areas where there may be armed conflict and stock markets in the region have extended their downward trends. Despite reports that the USA wants a new nuclear agreement with Iran rather than war, markets and the region as a whole are tense.

 

 

UK Politics

 

Four weeks today will see the new Conservative Party leader and UK Prime Minister announced. No need to comment on the weekend domestic incident regarding Boris Johnson; it just goes to show that you can’t have a leadership contest without breaking a few dishes..and glasses..and spilling the odd glass of red wine. Polls show that some people care and others don’t. The GBP market showed how much it cared ….by strengthening!

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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Morning Brief – Friday 21st

Good Vibrations

 

With Beach Boy Brian Wilson turning 77 yesterday, there are a number of lessons to be drawn including the one that says that some rock stars do miraculously live long(er) despite their lifestyle. In 1942 when Brian was born, the USA was drawn into WW2 following Pearl Harbour. At that time and indeed through the rest of WW2 and up until 1950, GBP was pegged to USD 4.03 by the UK Government following agreement at the Britton Woods Conference. We can only look today at that exchange rate ruefully. What we have to be grateful for in the UK is pretty much 74 years of peace with the exceptions of Korea and the Falklands when we deployed significant numbers of troops.

 

Good, good, good, good vibrations
Close my eyes, she is somehow closer now
Softly smile, I know she must be kind
When I look in her eyes

 

SGM-FX’s Euan has logged into his Amazon account and ordered up Beach Boys’ Greatest Hits with a view to wooing that barista babe in the coffee shop next door.

 

Fun Fun Fun .. I should coco!

 

And she’ll have fun fun fun 
‘Til her daddy takes the T-bird away 

 

 

Gold, USD, GBP and …More

 

Following the Fed’s dovish comments, gold took off riding up to $1397 at one point in the latest trading session. The USD weakened across the board and GBP consolidated and firmed with markets perceiving some clarity for the new leadership contest. As expected the MPC left rates unchanged having voted unanimously 9-0.
In a worrying sign for the Conservative Party, of the 313 voting members in the first round yesterday, 2 managed to spoil their ballot papers- come on how difficult is it to put a cross on a piece of paper?! It didn’t make any difference for Javid who was resoundingly dropped.

The second round announced last night saw Hunt-Odds 4-1 emerge as the alternative to Boris who despite the BBCs efforts to get us to think otherwise has a name definitely spelt with a H.
So goodbye Gove -Odds 2-1. The good news for the Conservatives and the UK is that we do at least have hard and soft Brexit choices to pick as candidates.

And lastly… better news for the Conservatives: only 1 out of 313 ballot papers spoilt in that last round. With a positive swing like that nationwide, they could be back in the game!

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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Morning Brief – Thursday 20th

Tango Time

 

 

Alright it’s not September yet, Strictly’s not back on TV and our tango won’t star one sequin clad pro and an overweight celebrity Ed Balls with far too much enthusiasm to be healthy (sorry Ed). But the composition of the showdown between the two potential next leaders of the Conservative Party and future Prime Minister will be decided today. The bookies’ second favourite crashed out of the race yesterday with Rory Stewart taking to Twitter to thank the process for restoring his faith in Politics with regret only over the lack of support from his own Party.

 

The heavy-weight showdown will take place to choose who will (presumably) join Boris Johnston in a member level Conservative Party vote to decide the winner: Jeremy Hunt; Michael Gove; or Sajid Javid. Admonitions from Chancellor Hammond today will implore the eventual winner to consider unifying the British electorate behind the new leader with a vote. Suggesting a general election or a second referendum, the successful Chancellor will claim today the public’s voice is something that can solve the Brexit impasse. Of course, this strategy worked so well for the Prime Minister of his Chancellorship who I’m sure you will remember assumed power firstly from Cameron’s resignation and Party vote… Perhaps stick to the spreadsheets for now Phil!

 

Jeremy Hunt embodies the least hard commitment to Brexit amongst the contenders and is willing to forego an exit upon the incumbent legal deadline of Halloween this year. Markets are more likely to reward his right to tango with Johnston for the title with Sterling strength as investors would move to price a softer Brexit back into their positioning. Despite this possibility, the dwarfing leadership of Johnston in this race will undermine Sterling’s progress.

 

To keep Thursdays interesting, the Bank of England will also offer up their latest policy decision with a unanimous result in favour of maintaining the domestic interest rate at 0.75%. Yesterday’s inflation reading of 2% undermines the Bank’s ability to raise rates. With two post-Brexit hikes to date, the Committee is also right to be cautious with an already fragile economy. Mark Carney’s Bank’s tone should look far more hawkish than the Fed who last night signalled a path towards interest rate cuts. The markets continue to believe the guidance of the BoE loosely, not pricing in aggressive cuts in the near end of the curve but still only consider that rates might rise at the end of 2020.

 

The Fed has pushed the US dollar lower overnight by around 50 basis points to the moderate gratitude of equity markets. The move has been discussed for weeks if not months and (bond) market participants have put their money where their mouth is by pricing in cuts through 2019 to the Fed funds rate. US stock markets breathed a sigh of relief that the central banking authority was listening to their distress calls. The Fed removed references to patience in awaiting economic data to determine the path of US monetary policy, generating the expectation that the Reserve is ready to move towards lower rates at its next policy meeting. The Reserve’s Chairman Jay Powell in the subsequent press conference also explained that the case for monetary easing had grown more significant and the Fed’s dot plot showed significant members expecting a rate cut this year and the median rate forecast for 2020 at 2.1% versus its previous 2.6%. This is a strong signal that the tide could be turning on an eight-year long US Dollar rally. Of course, such comments couldn’t possibly be compared to ECB President Mario Draghi’s words that led to the Euro being labelled a manipulated currency by President Trump this week could they?! Somehow, I suspect I’m not the first to point out Trump’s hypocrisy (or the last!).

 

One warning – The Taylor Rule. Trump’s choices for Fed chair person were down to John Taylor and Jay Powell. The former and unsuccessful candidate famously published in 1993 an equation to forecast appropriate interest rates based upon a number of economic factors. It’s become common place in economics and achieved a lofty status. The rule right now predicts that in the United States interest rates should still be knocking on the door of 4%; far above the Fed’s positioning today. If short-run economic data picks back up then markets and the Fed might be forced to turn around and confess they had a momentary blip of madness and the tightening cycle could continue as it did last year. That would spell further Dollar strength as the reward for holding the greenback soared. A reminder then not to ignore central banks that this week are back in centre stage. 

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Charles Porter

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Morning Brief – Wednesday 19th

Sintra, Portugal and the ECB Governor

 

Mario Draghi ECB Governor despite the reported highest rate of wage growth reported earlier in the week saw weak inflation and growth as key challenges in his speech at Sintra yesterday. He also said that further rate cuts remain an option that the ECB may choose. So it is not only politically that the UK looks to be at odds with Europe, as Governor Carney and the MPC are contemplating rate rises rather than cuts!

 

 

Facebook: the next frontier-Libra.

 

The expected news that Facebook will be launching their own global currency called Libra which will be kept in a wallet called Colibra was unveiled yesterday. All sorts of questions kicking off with, why? After all Facebook have been here before with Facebook credits that were meant to be a global payment mechanism and also it should be remembered were quietly dropped after two years having failed to gain interest. Facebook said: “In time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, such as paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code, or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.” Small point: all of the above can be accomplished now either through our phones or credit cards, so no need to wait for two years until Facebook launch!

 

 

25, 27, 39, 42, 46

 

If you have dropped a Euromillions lottery ticket with those numbers down the back of your sofa, it would pay you to hold off watching Love Island and fish it out before proceeding to claim the prize of £123,458,008 which has remained unclaimed from the 11 June draw. If you would like to convert your winnings into Yen, USD, EUR or actually pretty much any currency, SGM-FX’s James awaits your call-and says he is happy to share!

 

 

Conservative Leadership and PM contest

 

At 6pm yesterday the 313 Conservative MPs delivered their verdict in the second round for who should progress to the third round of the contest. Despite early promise and good progress from Stewart, it was big beasts Boris and Gove ahead of Hunt, Sajid Javid and Stewart who made it -thereby eliminating Raab.

 

 

Calling all Vegans

 

Colonel Sanders’ KFC is the latest chain to climb aboard the no meat train with an Imposter Burger following in the meat substitute footsteps of Byron, Burger King and Greggs. Those interested should get themselves over to KFC Gloucester Road SW7 together with SGM-FX’s part-time vegan, Sam where the men in white coats and clipboards are trialling the Imposter Burger. Early reports suggest that plenty of ketchup and mustard required to spice up the BB as in bland burger..…

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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Morning Brief – Tuesday 18th

Mario, Mark and Jay

 

 

The Pound was the biggest loser yesterday, sliding virtually unimpeded through numerous resistance levels. Brexit has been a challenge to Sterling’s value to say the least, however, the implications within its biggest crosses is alarming. Despite enjoying an ailing US Dollar in the more immediate aftermath of Brexit, a resurgent greenback is now showing the Pound exactly what it’s (not) worth.

 

Sliding through the 1.20s this week leaves Sterling only a cent or so short of its post-Brexit low versus the Dollar. Beyond that it’s down to the disasters of 1985 when GBPUSD parity was at the Pound’s doorstep. The increasing lead of Boris Johnson in the race to become the next leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom leaves the political risk profile of Britain uncomfortably high. The official endorsement of Boris by Matt Hancock, who this weekend quit the race to become PM, has brought with it further support for the former foreign secretary. Interviews given by those opposing Boris also revealed uncomfortable hints towards their concession towards his candidacy, as they appeared to line themselves up for potential portfolios in his future cabinet.

 

The second round of voting will take place today with 33 votes now required in order to proceed to the next stage. Only Boris, Hunt and Gove passed this threshold last time and the bookmakers’ new second favourite Rory Stewart, who last time received just 19 votes, could still be shy of this level. The retreating appetite to take ownership of the Pound and its consequent weakening is a reflection of the disturbing Johnson lead.

 

The US Dollar continues to receive solid support on price dips as markets take stock of just how dovish the Fed could realistically be in their forthcoming interest rate decision tomorrow. Markets are questioning their conviction to the premise that the US monetary authority could cut rates, lifting the yield on debt across the curve, providing strong Dollar support. Short-run data is not on the side of a loose US monetary policy outlook, however, if the Fed maintains its opinion that weak data will prove transitory and growth will persevere then bonds will continue this week’s sell off and the Dollar will make further progress. This US economic cycle has been particularly long but the improvement in economic output versus the trough is abnormally low. The same remains for the global economy with GDP in the Eurozone, for example, only 10% above its crash following the European sovereign debt crisis.

 

This week will prove testing for global central banks. Mario Draghi is speaking as we send this briefing. Speaking in Portugal, a dovish presentation has caused the Euro to sharply devalue by 0.4% already. A reminder by the President of the European Central Bank that rate cuts remain a part of the ECB’s tool kit, and that he’s not afraid to use them, has caused expectations for European interest rates and economic growth to be downgraded. In reaction, money market traders have introduced a 10 basis point interest rate cut by December within the Eurozone. The Bank of England will also provide their latest monetary policy decision this Thursday.

 

Whilst many of our clients have heeded the concerns of a fragile Hong Kong Dollar peg, the protests in recent days have continued to pile pressure on the fix. Disruptions to economic life caused by the protests and with public expenditure realities and expectations raised in the face of the violence, the fund available to defend it is drying up. A break could be months away, if ever, but the risks are stacking up.

 

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Charles Porter

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Morning Brief – Monday 17th

China and the Renminbi Yuan

 

With USD1 buying CNY 6.9218 on Friday, the trader talk was when, not if, the symbolic level of 7 would be breached with expectations that the G20 at the end of this month would be that time. The Chinese are talking down any significance of this level which to seasoned market participants is a sure sign that indeed we shall soon see “a cracking of the 7.”

 

 

South Africa

 

It may have passed you by but Saturday was Chenin Blanc Day and the SGM-FX corkscrew was once more being wielded by Richard who not only has form with this particular grape but spent his formative years in RSA at countless braais glugging South Africa’s iconic white wine. Recently due to GBP weakness that South African Chenin Blanc has been in danger of becoming more dear but so far that has been offset by ZAR weakness. Keep pouring, Rich!

 

 

Hong Kong

 

In Hong Kong and having trouble getting around on the MTR? Hardly surprising as most demonstrators are canny enough to queue for paper tickets instead of using the ubiquitous Octopus card (equivalent of a London Oyster) as they are concerned that they will be electronically tracked by the Chinese Government and penalised for being anywhere near the increasingly violent demonstrations. A Tweet has included the same picture of tens of thousands of protesters taken on Iphone and Android and simultaneously on a Huawei device which showed precisely no protesters. Eloquent.

 

 

Barter

 

The tendency is to think that barter went out when our ancestors stopped swapping goods for cowrie shells. Today on the borders of Venezuela impoverished Venezuelan fishermen swap their catch for food. To address the tight sanctions applied to Iran, European governments including the UK have set up the catchily named Instruments in Support of Trade Agreement which permits humanitarian trade in medicines and some food. Our favourite barter story dates back to the 1970s when Pepsi wanted to get into the Russian market. The Russians had little to offer in the way of goods that would appeal to a global multinational except for tomato paste. Why would it? At that time Pepsi owned Pizza Hut which was duly advised that all pizzas sold would enjoy (Russian) tomato paste topping. Problem was that there was still a shortfall as the Russian thirst for Pepsi was far from quenched. Answer: warships and vodka. Pepsi sold the WW2 warships for scrap and the vodka was easily sold in the West. Job done. SGM-FX creative spirit Graham is currently offering an old lawnmower and some industrial strength rum he recently bought in Barbados on Ebay and is hoping in return for a Porsche.

Dream on, Graham

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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