Morning Brief – A tale of two cities

Humphrey Percy
Chairman and Founder
Mon 11 Mar 2024

A tale of two cities

In NYC office vacancies stand at 20% whereas in London it is 10%. The US commercial real estate market is set to get worse in the next 2 years and already c$660 billion in value has been destroyed between 2019 and 2022. It is estimated that up to 44% of real estate mortgages are against assets with less value than the mortgages. The spectre of negative equity is less a spectre than a reality in the USA.

USD/JPY 147.05


Wine producers down under are really feeling the pinch as they suffer the twin troubles of the loss of their biggest export market due to tariffs – China plus chronic oversupply . Normally the self correcting mechanisms of price and other markets absorbing surpluses take care of over supply in any single market , but Chile, France and the USA are all also suffering from high reserve wine stocks. As at the middle of 2023 Australia, the fifth largest world wine producer had 2 billion litres looking for buyers. That’s a lot of wine: stand by for some decent supermarket offers.

USD/AUD 1.5085


Not a market that we normally think about, but it turns out that due to the EU’s and France’s in particular insatiable appetite for frogs legs, that many species of frog have moved onto the endangered species list. The EU imports 4000 tons a year of which 3000 tons go to France. Most people believed that frogs were sourced in France, but in fact due to the popularity for cuisses de grenouilles or frogs legs, the EU has been forced to source the necessary 80-200 million luckless amphibians from further afield: Albania, Turkey and Indonesia.

EUR/USD 1.0940


Shoplifting as has been well reported is at an all time modern high in all countries . But in Spain apart from alcohol and Iberico ham the item of choice for shoplifters to pinch is Extra Virgin olive oil: very simply as it has risen from €5 to €14 a litre in the past 2 years and is a Spanish dietary staple it is easily liquidated for cash by the thieves. 

GBP/EUR 1.1750

Isn’t She Lovely

This day in 2015 Stevie Wonder went on the David Letterman Show and listed the Top 10 Advantages of Being Blind. His Number One was: You can act like Stevie Wonder and get paid. Here is one of his very best known songs from 1976 off the album Songs in the Key of Life:

Isn’t she lovely
Isn’t she wonderful
Isn’t she precious
Less than one minute old

I never thought through love we’d be
Making one as lovely as she
But isn’t she lovely, made from love

Isn’t she pretty
Truly the angel’s best
Boy, I’m so happy
We have been heaven blessed

I can’t believe what God has done
Through us he’s given life to one
But isn’t she lovely, made from love

Isn’t she lovely
Life and love are the same
Life is Aisha
The meaning of her name
Londie, it could have not been done
Without you who conceived the one
That’s so very lovely, made from love, hey

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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