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Morning Brief – No seriously, this is the last one

No seriously, this is the last one
 

I hope the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of America Jay Powell doesn’t have a sweet tooth. If he does, he’s in trouble as it appears, he simply can’t stop at one. Much like a child set loose with a biscuit tin, he couldn’t resist just one more cut to interest rate levels. It was the third cut this year with markets so far at least not pricing another Fed cut at their next meeting in December. 

 

Starting in July, the Chairman led the bank in delivering a 25-basis point interest rate cut. Creating a limited ripple in Foreign Exchange markets and in particular the US Dollar, the cheapening of the cost of money at this event was presented as a mid-cycle adjustment. Powell told markets that he and his predecessor Janet Yellen had overcooked the tightening cycle of US monetary policy. Yeah right! Given the Fed’s intervention within the Repo market (an important source of liquidity in the US banking system) for the first time since the Financial Crisis of 2008, and two subsequent interest rate cuts at consecutive meetings, markets are inevitably going to start to think something’s up. This instability and economic stress should not be good for the US Dollar and indeed US economic growth. 

 

On top of that, with the Canadian central bank led by Stephen Poloz holding rates yesterday, the highest yielding G-10 currency this morning is no longer the US Dollar! That’s a huge deal! For a long time when the US 10-year bond was yielding well over 3%, traders would head to the US Dollar and hold it overnight/days/weeks just to pick up the interest whilst also hiding behind its safe haven status. Now, the same style of trade will inevitably involve the question of the Canadian Dollar as an alternative to pick up yield. CAD is already the best performing G-10 currency so far this year up around 4% versus the US Dollar. Now offering a higher yield than its North American neighbour, there’s strong dynamics at play that will drag the Loonie higher against the Greenback. 

 

So, if the Dollar lost the top spot last night in the G-10 space, if they cut rates themselves emerging from an ongoing context of Repo market action, you’d expect some serious ramifications in the value of the Dollar, right? USDJPY, the golden compass of risk, would surely fly off its handles downwards as the US Dollar lost value and the Yen gained a bid from defensive demand?! Wrong!

 

During the actual event the market went the wrong way. Despite immediately offering less interest to holders of USD, the strong forward guidance that suggested that this cut is the last one before a hefty pause, initially led the Dollar higher as it forced residual bets of early 2020 cuts and a December rate cut out of the price. The adjusted USDJPY stabilised to trade almost exactly in line with its pre-announcement levels at 108.80. From this we can see that the FX market wants to see liquidity introduced to the US economy and perhaps with 0.75% less interest behind US deposits in the last four months. Markets are increasingly satisfied they’re getting it.

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Charles Porter

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SGM-FX keyboard montage

Morning Brief – It’s Official: The Market is now on an Election footing

 

It’s Official: The Market is now on an Election footing

 

Further acres of newsprint and a torrent of tv and social media comment in prospect the General Election on December 12 is the first since 1923 to take place just before Christmas. And……the currency market has not moved GBP at all on that news. As the polls fluctuate and electioneering proceeds over the next 6 weeks, there will of course be some volatility, but what has been moving GBP for the past months is now parked: nothing will happen with the EU until the smoke clears and the result of the General Election becomes clear on December 13.

 

 

Bitcoin Blizzard

 

It is some weeks since we have written about BTC. On Monday night the price rallied from $7000 by $2000 to $9000 at 9pm before falling back to $7000 an hour later. The different thing about this flash rally was that this was not a few thousand dollars changing hands in a thin market, but more than $1 Billion. As we have written before, this market is not for the faint hearted and definitely being fleet of foot is a necessity. Call us old fashioned, but we stick to liquid freely traded currencies such as USD, EUR, GBP, JPY……

 

 

Peter Allen Greenbaum-aka Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac; Happy 73rd Birthday to a great survivor

 

It is great to see Peter Green celebrating another senior birthday. Although he only ranks 58th in the Greatest Guitarists of all time, many feel that his abilities and influences have been underrated. Peter Green did almost all of his best work before 1970 at the age of 27 when following a heroic intake of LSD he succumbed to mental illness and spent much of the 1970’s and some of the 1980’s in a succession of institutions enduring treatment including electroconvulsive therapy. Arrested for threatening his accountant with a shotgun for trying to give him money, Peter Green had, it is fair to surmise, a difficult time. However the songs Albatross, Black Magic Woman and Oh Well are all enough in many peoples’ opinions to earn him respect as a songwriter of prodigious talent as well as being worth $15 million which should at least keep him supplied with guitar strings. Here’s the start of Peter Green’s Black Magic Woman which is better known (incorrectly) as a Santana song:

 

Got a black magic woman
I got a black magic woman
Yes, I got a black magic woman
Got me so blind I can’t see
But she’s a black magic woman
And she’s tryin’ to make a devil out of me

 

 

Smithfield Market: An early pint and a full English?

 

No more than a mile from SGM-FX is Smithfield Market-still the largest wholesale meat market in the UK which has functioned as such for the past 800 years having been previously a site for knights to joust and then used for executions-more than 200 heretics were burnt there. Now a covered brick and glass structure of more than 6 hectares, it functions between 0200 and 0700 every day. In my earlier days in the City and after a big night out up West, we used sometimes to call in for a final pint and a full English in one of the Smithfield pubs that primarily cater for market porters and butchers, before returning to our trading desks for a full day in the global currency markets. Other nearby City of London markets, all functioned as they had done for hundreds of years in the 1970’s: Billingsgate(fish), Leadenhall(food) and Spitalfields(fruit and veg) have all been reinvented respectively as an entertainment venue, shopping and cafes and bric a brac stalls and restaurants, but Smithfield is the only City market to survive for the purpose that it was established.

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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Morning Brief – Super Mario

Super Mario

 

Finally running out of Mushrooms, Super Mario has delivered his last speech as President of the European Central Bank. I’m sure there were other jokes afforded by the potential to assimilate the Italian central banker’s name within a popular Nintendo character and game but, with an underwhelming appetite for video games, I’ll leave it there. Fouled at the very start of his Presidency by the blue shell of the European Sovereign Debt crisis (really, I’m done now), the outgoing President of the world’s largest monetary union is widely credited with a singlehanded rescue of the Eurozone in three words: ‘whatever it takes’. 

 

Central bankers are a unique breed, trust me. Sometimes described as extreme auditors, their attention to detail and passion for certainty is largely unparalleled. Take the most recent phase of monetary stimulus in the Eurozone: for well over a month now we’ve known that tomorrow the ECB will recommence net asset purchases to the tune of EUR 20bn a month in an effort to stimulate the price level. So for Draghi to come out in 2012, less than a year into his presidency, and declare he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to save the Eurozone must’ve been painful. He convinced markets and he staved off speculators betting on the Euro’s demise; an effort that has been the demise of many currency programs before the Euro.

 

The President never once got to raise rates in the monetary bloc before leaving office. It looked as though last year, as prices stabilised closer to the ‘just below 2%’ target, that he might have had the chance to before his 8 years were up – in the end sadly not. Through the loosening of monetary policy during his tenure (notably from 2014 onwards) Draghi made money cheaper – much cheaper. With the interest rate alone he actually made it free as measured by some real and even nominal terms, with the cost of borrowing money hitting zero in 2016. Super Mario’s central bank also poured EUR 2.6 trillion into markets via his asset purchase program diluting and broadening the supply of money and making it cheaper. This led to a Euro that the OECD estimates is undervalued by some 25%. 

 

Admittedly Lagarde takes over a bank that is overstretched and faces many challenges but at least there’s still one to take over. The Euro will swiftly pass through its second decade of existence during the former IMF managing director’s tenure. Over Draghi’s cheap money era, the Euro lost 22% against a resurgent US Dollar and, given the post-2016 stress that Brexit has brought to the Pound, trades almost exactly in line with its 2011 value on GBPEUR. If the now-banking non-central-banker incoming President manages to soak up that excess liquidity created by swelling the balance sheet and restore rates to ‘normal levels’ the Euro should recover most of its foregone strength and perhaps develop even more as it develops a status as a true reserve currency.

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Charles Porter

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St Mary Axe view

Morning Brief – South Africa: ZAR expected to weaken further

 

South Africa: ZAR expected to weaken further

 

Patience within the business community is wearing thin in the face of the slow pace of relatively new President Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic reforms. This seems hard since he inherited a long list of problems but that’s the thing about markets: they are hard. Wednesday this week sees the mid term Budget from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni which is a key event that will be closely watched. Looking at the total net long ZAR positions in the market a month ago, it should be a warning to investors that as much as two thirds of them have been liquidated in October. That means that the trading market at least is betting on further ZAR weakness. Good for foreign buyers of ZAR but less good for South African importers and therefore end user consumers….if those traders are right of course…but so far the evidence looks that way.

 

 

Another week…Another Wait for the EU

 

Today sees the start of the period of the awaited announcement from the EU Ambassadors as to how long an extension the UK Parliament and as a result the whole of the UK will get to decide whether to accept the latest negotiated exit deal or to amend it or to crash out without one. If ever the adage about markets not liking uncertainty was true, this is it. GBP as a result and as we warned might well happen on Friday, drifted down over the weekend. 

 

 

Metro

 

That freebie London paper (note London) came out with a corker at the end of last week that was guaranteed to cheer the capital’s citizens as they battled to work: London, they crowed, had won yet another trophy and was officially the most miserable place to live in the UK. 

Lambeth, Hackney, Islington and Camden were the least happy Inner London Boroughs and also engendered the highest levels of anxiety. Far be it for us to point out that those boroughs just happen to be the strongholds of Corbyn and the Labour Party!

On to happier matters: right at the other end of the misery scale are the Highlands, the Scottish Borders and the Outer Hebrides where crofters do whatever crofters do all day with beaming smiles on their faces secure that they are crofting(?!) in what have been officially designated as the happiest places in the British Isles . SGM-FX’s Richard was seen pouring over his Atlas trying to work out whether it is feasible to abandon Patney (Putney) and commute from the Borders.

No Richard, it’s not, unless you can hitch a ride on his sleigh with …..Santa!

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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Skyscraper view

Morning Brief – Joker

Joker

 

Well the joke (if that is what it was) was definitely on me: off we went to the local Cineworld for the must see Todd Phillips movie Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix and Robert de Niro. Drawn in by the film taking $96M on its opening weekend and more than $250M to date and counting. Armed with the essential movie buff prop of a bag of popcorn, I had an open mind. 2 hours passed slowly…very slowly. Far be it for me to put you off a film with some good music(Cream), some questionable music (Gary Glitter), a lot, and I mean a lot, of gratuitous violence plus at best a sketchy plot line, but if you are wondering how many times I checked my watch during the showing, the answer is 8.

 

 

I.D. in the UK in 2019:

 

Proof of identity is part of all of our lives and not having up to date I.D. can be a problem for the unwary.

 

 

U.K. Driving Licenses:

 

Every 10 years it is incumbent on British motorists to renew their driving licenses. Armed with the requisite paperwork, I went to the Post Office. Wrong Post Office as it turned out since they did not have the requisite electronic camera equipment connected to DVLA Swansea. On to the next Post Office which surprisingly offered speedy and helpful service plus some clearly superior camera equipment: “ You look a lot younger than you did 10 years ago.” Could not get my card payment out quick enough!

 

 

U.K Passports

 

Go on to the UK Passport Office and the Renewal Service and one is confronted with what appears to be a complex process with multiple choices of renewal options. Look carefully because it also warns unwary travellers that the Passport Office is unclear as to what is happening with Europe. There are other countries which may soon also include European countries, that will not accept British visitors with less than 6 months left on their Passports. Then the form says that the unexpired time on a Passport will not be allowed for on the new one. The fee for an online renewal is £75.50 but that is for an anticipated 3 week turn around. Overnight up to £177 or a 1 week service a more “reasonable” £142 cost but an extra £10 if you want a 50 page passport. But you will need to attend an interview at your nearest passport office. What a minefield.

So what is the point here? As previously highlighted by us, if your passport expires at the end of July 2020 (like mine), you will not be able to use it in Europe and elsewhere after the end of January 2020. Given the turn around time of 3 weeks which may be more given the likely rush as everyone wakes up to this, that means that in December you need to consign your passport and documentation to the Royal Mail and hope that your new Passport will land on your doormat 3 weeks later. Not sure whether the colour will be red or blue though!

 

 

Fidel Castro in the Observer in 1964

 

“Capitalism is using its money; we socialists throw it away.” All Corbynistas should listen to what Fidel said 55 years ago: he knew what he was talking about; if you doubt that pay a visit to that powerhouse of socialism, Cuba, and talk to those who live in that socialist paradise.

 

 

Finally….

 

Despite what the newspapers say GBP has not collapsed: rather it is holding up well for the time being. However it is vulnerable to bad news on Brexit and Election timetable news due out today. Whatever the news, today will be volatile.

 

Be safe in these markets and a nice weekend!

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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SGM-FX View of london

Morning Brief – Gale force 12

Gale force 12

 

Phraseology meets foreign exchange part two – ‘any port in a storm’. This time I’m on side, I would indeed rather be in any port in a storm than, as the phrase assumes, out at sea staring down a Beaufort scale-rattling wind. But, once again, it’s got limitations largely created by its own design. Namely, I’d much rather be in a darn strong port with walls as high as mountains and a nice pub with a log fire and perhaps even WiFi than any old port. Now contrary to the rumours of my forthcoming Halloween costume, I’m not much of a sailor. I wouldn’t have the foggiest where to find this mystery data-enabled wind-proof public house utopia. But ask me for directions to the foreign exchange equivalent and there’ll be a traders’ map on hand in 5 paragraphs:

 

With an economic downturn written into many forecasts, safety could become a priority over yield and return for many consumers and investors alike. With the Fed announcing action within the repo market scheduled for later this week once again, market participants are concerned that it’s all hands on deck, pardon the pun, for the world’s central banks as they stave off an economic stumble. There’s an overarching rule for stability and risk-sharing as pervasive as it is in nature: there’s safety in numbers. With more complex economic structures come a wider variety of stakeholders in its system. A developed and broad economy will have buyers and sellers of all of its traded assets consistently balancing the price-interests of those operating within its boundaries. This creates a telos towards stability and balance versus an economy that, for example, specialises in exporting bananas that has a vested interest in the price of bananas rising across the board and is sensitive to movements otherwise. With a currency, we also bear in mind the size of the interest held by the citizens of the country/monetary area itself each of whom would like their money to retain a fair amount of its value. Their combined power versus the rest of the world and speculative players is more significant the more of them there are.

 

So the first condition we need is size in two forms: 1) A big market for the currency itself with balanced buyers and sellers; 2) a fair-sized economy and population to withhold a significant amount of the money supply at home under the mattress. The so-called G10 currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, AUD, NZD, CAD, CHF, NOK, SEK) are the most widely traded on foreign exchange markets. It seems a good place therefore to start from and to refine. Chuck out the Aussie Dollar (AUD) and the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). Whilst arguments can be made for their gradual appreciation in a storm their exposure to the ongoing trade war between the US and China precludes them from holding our sacred pub. Their economies are also insufficiently large, systemically important and developed enough for their currencies to represent our ultimate haven. Add to this list the Canadian Dollar (CAD) and the Norwegian Krone (NOK) because, in addition to the AUD and NZD, their currencies are so-called commodity currencies (those severely affected by global commodity prices). With biases towards the export of natural resources and sensitive towards oil prices (that go down as global output and therefore energy demand go down) these four won’t hold value the best. As NZD is to AUD, SEK is to NOK, and the correlation in economic performance could allow the Swedish Krona to be dragged down alongside commodity currency NOK. 5 down 5 to go.

 

This is where it gets tricky, the others all have a proven bias towards stability, represent some of the largest economic systems in the world and have a history of defensive demand. From Pound Sterling (GBP) positioning in derivative markets and from its spot value at the moment, the Pound won’t contain your pub, sorry! With Brexit, a minority governance and talk of an election, the Pound won’t be our haven and nor will it be the market’s choice should the synchronised slowdown the IMF warned us of materialise.

 

So it bring us to the top four: The Japanese Yen (JYP) and Swiss Franc (CHF) are both classic safehaven currencies investors still move towards as a risk-off trade when market risk appetite sours. Arguably the former has received a larger bid due to its fiscal (public spending) practices and tendency towards gradual economic and monetary governance. The Swiss Franc has exhibited less evidence of a price appreciation in reaction to a demand for safety. Therefore favour the Japanese Yen as a top priority to relax beverage-in-hand as your vessel rests safe and sound behind mountain-like harbour walls.

 

Lastly, the US Dollar (USD) and Euro (EUR) are the most heavily traded instruments in the foreign exchange market and also have the privilege of being backed up by two of the most broad and developed economies on the planet. Our top three has therefore been discovered and with diversity in holdings too comes an additional grant of expected stability. Both of these two leviathans(EUR & USD) have concerns: for the US Dollar it’s of its existing overvaluation; for the Euro it’s the economic slowdown already underway, a change of monetary governance and recession in its largest economy. As the ECB meets today for President Mario Draghi’s last decision at the helm, we will monitor how the transition to incoming President Lagarde will affect the currency and it’s status as a reserve asset.

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Charles Porter

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SGM-FX London skyline

Morning Brief – Well that’s all right then!

Well that’s all right then!

 

My sincere thanks to European leaders for appointing me as President of the European Central Bank from 1 November 2019. It is an honour to succeed Mario Draghi. I am looking forward to working with the ECB’s talented staff to keep euro area prices stable and banks safe.

 

Fear not it’s not me but rather Christine Lagarde with rather a disingenuous statement given 1.The selection process (political rather than qualification based) and 2. The morale level at the ECB following the decision taken on the most recent monetary measures (low to very low). No doubt the Baker Mackenzie lawyer in CL will jolly up the volk (folk) at the ECB! 

 

 

Happy 76th Birthday to Catherine Deneuve

 

Having enjoyed success portraying a succession of icy, aloof and mysterious beauties as well as being a model and singer, Catherine Deneuve is the head girl of French cinema and is worth USD 75M. Hats off to her or Chapeaux as she would say!

 

 

10 Cemeteries to visit before you die

 

With no discernible sense of humour, USA Today have managed to transcend irony with this catchy headline. All their top ten are in the USA which may not be fully convenient for all readers of the SGM-FX Daily Briefing. Here they are:  Cambridge, Richmond, Salt Lake City, Louisville, Tarrytown, Molokai, Cleveland, Key Biscayne, Philadelphia and Colma.

For those who reside or regularly visit the USA: if you don’t manage to visit before your own big departure to the next world, hey maybe your relatives will spring you a plot in one of the top ten!

 

 

For all you David Bowie fans, here is part of Starman while you ponder…..!

 

There’s a starman waiting in the sky
Hed like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
Hes told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me:
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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UK buildings

Morning Brief – GBPZAR

GBPZAR

 

Remember that old teaching: you can achieve similar things by smacking something very hard with a small hammer or by tapping something softly with a sledgehammer? I must confess I’ve never found great use or utility in this phrase partially because of my underwhelming expertise in DIY and secondly, it totally ignores the universe where you hit something very hard with a sledgehammer, a pastime that seems infinitely more interesting to me! So let’s go one step closer to fulfilling the permutations of this phrase and examine a forceful FX sledgehammering! Disclaimer: the universe of tapping something softly with a small hammer shall remain as vacant as it deserves!

 

We’ve been told by Moody’s ratings that South African sovereign debt is not likely to be downgraded anytime soon. The reason being that the agency holds a neutral outlook on the asset and they almost never downgrade a classification without prior warning of its downside debt risk. (Why let the truth come in the way of a good story?!) This stance is partially justified in the spirit of smoothing wider market reactions to credit market developments, but you must admit it seems more like a case of god forbid someone think they got it wrong last time: If the hat doesn’t fit, change the shape of your head instead! Whatever the reason, South African bond markets and the Rand have been partially stabilised by a confidence that billions of US Dollars’ worth of debt, and therefore Rand, won’t coming flooding back into the market for an anticipated 12-18 months. Our sledgehammer is forming, now to add the weight.

 

Brexit is still on for 31st October. Speaker of the House John Bercow blocked the Commons from voting on Johnson’s Deal yesterday upon grounds of repetition and frustrating the House. But taking note of the Letwin Amendment that attracted a majority in Parliament on Saturday, the Government has introduced the Withdrawal Act Bill to provide the infrastructure the amendment demands to vote on the final deal. All that means the government has set itself a three-day timeframe to secure the necessary support and legislature to allow the United Kingdom to leave the European Union at 11pm next Thursday. The chances of Johnson pulling this off are non-negligible. The FT yesterday claimed that its own analysis showed the Conservative government securing a majority of 5 votes if the House was allowed to vote on the new deal once again. We will see if the vote passes as essentially the same deal (now twice debated with a consent mechanism and a border down the Irish Sea) that has been voted upon 5 times makes it through to law at 7pm London-time today. If it does, the UK will begin its transition period until end-2020 from 1st November.

 

Queue the swing of our now fully formed weapon: Moody’s will also release its updated rating on South African Debt on 1st November. If the neutral outlook is what has supported the Rand then a simple reversion to a negative outlook on the asset could spur a speculative sell-off and shorting of the nation’s currency and its debt. Whilst the index funds that hold the debt physically will not be required to dump Rand Debt, you can be sure that the speculative arm of the market will make it look almost as bad as if they had. So, GBPZAR will be the nail we’re attempting to affix to the wall and our Brexiting-Downgrading sledge hammer could make dust of the very wall we tack it too. The best way to target this event to get the most Rand out of your Sterling, or indeed any base currency, is through a targeted series of limit orders which, of course, we have available to our clients and would be happy to discuss. This sledge hammer could be capable of restoring Rand comfortably to the order of 20 to the Pound before the dust settles. 

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Charles Porter

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Morning Brief – If Only

If Only

 

This weekend could have delivered a Brexit victory for the UK Government of the decisive nature of the England Lions’ victory over the Wallabies. It was not to be. After 5 1/2 hours of debate, there was a palpable sense of disappointment from all in Westminster that the Letwin Amendment had managed to frustrate a Meaningful Vote on the UK Government’s deal to exit the EU. GBP rallied on Saturday evening on the basis that this further shored up the Benn Act which prevents the UK leaving the EU without a deal. So the agony continues as the EU deliberates as to how to respond to a reluctant application by the UK for a further extension.

 

 

Qantas 19hours 6 minutes non stop NYC to Sydney Flight: Things to do(or not)

 

This weekend saw the test flight which will monitor various behaviours and effects on passengers of knocking 2-5 hours off the route by not stopping either in Dubai or Singapore. Those who take the London to Perth non stop Qantas flight will tell you that that flight is not only very very long but also completely in the dark. Food due to weight and storage is more bland than normal, entertainment wears thin as there are not that many films that you can watch back to back. SGM-FX’s James is saving up as he has reached the dubious conclusion that surely on a 20 hour flight he has at least a decent chance of joining the mile high club!

 

 

Hey did you happen to see the most beautiful (City)in the world?!

 

Yes the judges have spoken: Paris, NYC, London, Venice and Vancouver followed by Rome, Barcelona, San Francisco, Sydney and Cape Town are the top 10 most beautiful global cities. Quite why Chicago is at 25 and Beijing at 49 is of course down to the selection committee, but there is plenty to debate about in the order of the official top 50 released this weekend. For example, Cartagena, Colombia at number 44 surely deserves a raised eyebrow. Much of it is preserved intact following the capture and looting of the city by Sir Francis Drake in 1586.

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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team discussion

Morning Brief – UK Brexit

UK Brexit

 

Market news was dominated yesterday by the announcement of a deal between Europe and the UK. Still doubt on whether the UK Parliament will ratify it, but for those European couch potatoes among you with nothing better to do tomorrow, Saturday, you can watch the UK Parliament on live TV from 1030 CET. Those sages at Deutsche Bank have expended time and effort in concluding that Boris Johnson has no more than a 45% chance of getting the deal through Parliament. This must go down as the latest example of a meaningless estimate in the long running Brexit saga since many of the MPs due to vote are still uncertain as to how they will cast their votes. GBP experienced another day with a range of more than 2 cents versus the USD which does reflect that uncertainty. At SGM-FX Head Quarters we are hoping that our MPs see sense and conclude that approving a deal is better than not approving a deal. Alarm clocks are being set for a very early start on Monday so that whatever happens, our clients will be able to navigate their way through next week’s twists and turns in the market.

 

 

Alitalia

 

For Alitalia the European air share war is finally over: long term Italian loss maker Alitalia looks well on the way to being absorbed into Germany’s Lufthansa after failed talks with Delta. Lufthansa’s European airline roll up strategy has already claimed the scalps of Swiss, Sabena/Brussels Airlines, German Wings and Austrian Airlines and has one of the largest fleets in the world now comprising 700 aircraft.

 

 

Qafala

 

Wassat? I hear you say! This is the labour system in Qatar which ties migrant workers to their employer and requires them to have their company’s permission to leave the country. With the Football World Cup less than 3 years away Qatar’s rulers have pledged to consider amending this law. Qafala in Arabic means sponsorship but this must rank as the strictest definition of sponsorship at least to a Western reader! While Qafala would never of course be appropriate in the UK, it does have a certain appeal when it comes down to tracking down some of SGM-FX staff on occasion-no names of course, “Budapest” Euan….!

 

 

 

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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