Morning Brief – US Inflation

Humphrey Percy
Chairman and Founder
Fri 12 Jan 2024

US Inflation

In the end the much anticipated December US inflation figure yesterday came in at 3.4% versus the 3.2% expected and the November 3.1%. While that may not look like much of a difference, it is a signal that is unwelcome in the market especially when core inflation is only just below 4% at 3.9%.

EUR/USD 1.0950.


Two years ago Vodafone shares stood at 140p. Today they are less than half that at 68p and they yield as at the last dividend 11%. At a clear discount to the sector and with juicy dividends to boot, Vodafone looks one to tuck away in one’s 2024 portfolio, until a cursory look at the balance sheet shows debt of GBP 31 billion. So maybe the company manages to reduce that mountain of debt, and maybe dividends remain high and maybe the market discount on the shares is re-assessed. Quite some maybes. On the other hand, GBP versus USD remains firm-for the moment.

GBP/USD 1.2710.


With Brent prices down at USD 77.85, the question is whether the petrol companies are passing on the lower oil prices to the consumer. With forecourt prices in the UK averaging sub GBP 1.40 for a litre of unleaded, the answer on the face of it is yes. For Asda shoppers however, that price has been pretty constant since before the price for a barrel of Brent fell 10%. Irrespective of that, in the past 18 months, the price of petrol in the UK has fallen by up to 25%.

Builth Wells

Welsh readers and fans of the principality of Wales need to get stuck in: a consultation is open until February 12 which, if the proposals are implemented, will likely change the dates of the school year. In Wales this may spell the end of the Royal Welsh Show that takes place in the first week of the school summer holidays in the village of LLanelwedd near Builth Wells. Teachers, children and families are a key part of the visitor demographic and if they are all stuck in detention it could spell disaster for the RWS and an economic cost of GBP 40 million.

GBP/EUR 1.1610.

Sporty Spice

It was this day in 1974 that Melanie Chisholm better known as Mel C or Sporty Spice was born and set in train a key part of the phenomenon that was to become the Spice Girls. Many hits later and after much commercial success, the world had this number inflicted on it:

When Two Become One:

Candlelight and soul forever
A dream of you and me together
Say you believe it, say you believe it
Free your mind of doubt and danger
Be for real, don’t be a stranger
We can achieve it, we can achieve it

… Come a little bit closer baby
Get it on, get it on
‘Cause tonight is the night when two become one

… I need some love like I’ve never needed love before (wanna make love to ya’, baby)
I had a little love, now I’m back for more (wanna make love to ya’, baby)
Set your spirit free
It’s the only way to be

… Silly games that you were playing
Empty words we both were saying
Let’s work it out boy, let’s work it out boy
Any deal that we endeavor
Boys and girls feel good together
Take it or leave it, take it or leave it

… Are you as good as I remember, baby?
Get it on, get it on
‘Cause tonight is the night when two become one

Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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