Morning Brief – British Pound

Humphrey Percy
Chairman and Founder
Fri 24 Nov 2023

British Pound

Two days after the Autumn Budget Statement, the Pound is hanging in there and is looking firm. Why? Despite some attempts to talk it up on the grounds of the economy not in fact contracting, but merely marking time, the real reason is that while not being shouted from the rooftops, but definitely being mentioned, is that inflation is not falling back into sub 2% territory and in fact it is now expected for the Consumer price Index to rise 2.8% in 2024. The market has concluded therefore that the Governor of the Bank of England is not just saying UK interest rates will be higher for longer, he means it.

GBP/USD 1.2530. 

European Parliament

Packaging waste management was hardly a topic to quicken the pulses of most MEPs on Wednesday until the French MEPs scented a conspiracy by Brussels to remove one of the most sacred totems of La France: the wooden Camembert box, on the grounds that the EU is on a mission to remove wood from packaging since it is almost impossible to re-cycle. Hidden away in the small print of a proposal on streamlining and optimisation of waste management across all 27 nations was this dastardly plot by the Eurocrats which once spotted was voted down and allowed the French MEPs to declare a glorious victory. Phew.

EUR/JPY 109.05.


With the oil going to $100 or even $150 theories now consigned to the waste paper basket, Brent now stands at sub $81 and while volatile, the price does not look as if it is going up much. Iron ore is also being talked down by the Chinese after a strong rally. So overall the mood in commodity markets is less than ebullient given the likelihood of a rapidly cooling Chinese economy affecting the global economy next year.

USD/CNY 7.1455.

UK Bank Branch Closures

With no sense of irony. At the same time that the UK Government announced a Tell Sid type campaign to dispose of its 2008 investment in NatWest, the bank announced the closure of a further 19 branches mostly NatWest but 1 RBS branch. And that is the challenge facing the managers of the sale process: what exactly is NatWest these days? We know it is not an investment bank, it seems to have a much reduced retail bank offering and its whole sale corporate arm is still best known for the strong arm tactics that ruined a raft of decent businesses.
NatWest shares over 400p back in 2014, in the past year they have traded in a range of 168p to 313p. 
Now at 205p, the question is what sort of discount will need to be applied to attract Sid.


It seems the phenomenon that is MTV has been with us for ever, but in fact the inaugural MTV Europe awards took place this day in 1994 in Berlin. The host was woolly Welsh wombat, Tom Jones while Bryan Adam’s won best male singer and Mariah Carey best female singer with Aerosmith winning best band.
At that time MTV was the only music channel and it quickly became a household staple and a firm favourite:

It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone
It’s not unusual to have fun with anyone
But when I see you hanging about with anyone
It’s not unusual to see me cry
I wanna die

It’s not unusual to go out at any time
But when I see you out and about it’s such a crime
If you should ever wanna be loved by anyone
It’s not unusual

It happens every day
No matter what you say
You’ll find it happens all the time
Love will never do what you want it to
Why can’t this crazy love be mine?

It’s not unusual to be mad with anyone
It’s not unusual to be sad with anyone
But if I ever find that you’ve changed at any time
It’s not unusual to find out I’m in love with you
Whoa-whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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