Italy: Chinese Checkers?
China is taking advantage of weakness in the Italian economy to increase its influence and strengthen ties between the two nations. China is keen to gain ownership of Italian ports such as Genoa to give them access to the Northern European markets by road from the Italian port. Italy is the European country with the largest Chinese population. Additionally Chinese have taken control of Italy’s power grid, some luxury brands and also high tech companies-all strategic assets. China has ploughed more than EUR 13 billion into more than 600 companies in the past 20 years. Belatedly the USA and Brussels have woken up to the fact that Italy has become the first European country to endorse China’s investment strategy. More thoughtful analysts see all this as China achieving its strategic objectives in gaining greater European and global influence by taking advantage of Italy being on the economic back foot.
In this game the Italians will be wondering like ABBA if indeed The (Chinese) Winner Takes It All.
Dow had a good day rising to 25,703. FTSE steady at 7,159. Gold at $1309. Oil put in a strong performance to close at $58.36 following the Saudi decision to reduce output. GBP strengthened on the later subsequently confirmed news that a NoDeal Brexit was not the desired outcome by the UK Parliament and has continued to strengthen this morning.
Three Piece Suite
It may have passed readers by, but earlier this week the UK’s Office for National Statistics quietly removed the 3 piece suite from the index it uses to measure inflation as it was no longer representative of buying habits. Research on that gold standard of middle class proprietaryness the John Lewis site revealed that John Lewis stopped stocking sets of furniture two years ago. Increasingly we all buy statement sofas, mismatched furniture and have replaced more traditional materials with brass, marble, copper or velvet. So all change as we couch potatoes lounge around in our onesies!
More tea, vicar?!
Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder
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