A mixture of messages

As a youngster, our mum would occasionally treat us with a bag of “pick-n-mix” from the sweets counter at the old Woolworths. I say treat; we didn’t get to choose. I loved jelly babies, but the liquorice all-sorts were horrible. I seem to remember the weather being glorious when we went.

Is the BoE backing away from a May rate rise?

It has been a rollercoaster week for the Pound, jumping to a post-Brexit high of $1.4376 versus the US dollar before dropping below $1.4050 on Friday Morning. Many investors (including ourselves) had thought a May interest rate rise was a “shoo-in”, on the back of the unemployment rate falling to a 45-year low. But the Pound made an abrupt U-turn after the March inflation reading 4 printed substantially below economists’ forecasts, and then Mark Carney gave a decidedly ambivalent signal in an interview with the BBC ahead of the World Bank meeting in Washington.

Israel-Iran tensions: conflict in Syria?

After last weekend’s missile strike on Syria by US, British and French forces, President Trump took to twitter to announce, “Mission Accomplished!” Accordingly, he received some stick in US media for what might turn out to be a premature declaration, but the message was fairly clear: The strikes were a “one-time shot,” with no further expected military action unless the Syrian government’s 6 suspected chemical weapons attacks continue. So, despite the recent spike in tensions – which we talked about extensively last week – this week seems to have brought a cooling off between the US, Syria and its backer Russia.

China’s micro-management continues

China released a raft of economic data on Monday evening. According to official figures, Q1 real GDP growth came in at 6.8% YoY, in line with market expectations. Chinese growth appears to have peaked – having sharply rebounded over 2017. However, considering all the tightening measures announced over the year, growth is holding up better than expected.


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