Alpha Publications

Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff

6 December 2021

US and UK investment bankers and corporate broking firms have enjoyed bumper times since Brexit with a very high level of takeover (M&A) activity and new stock market listings.  In the UK, the value of flotations is thought to have trebled so far in 2021 to over £50bn with the likes of Darktrace, Deliveroo, Trustpilot […]


A Punch in the Face

29 November 2021

Omicron is making all the headlines but inflation remains in the spotlight. Central bankers are starting to U-turn on their transitory message, including the US Federal Reserve. Clearly, global supply chain challenges have added to the inflationary spike. However, there is a growing risk of inflation becoming more entrenched as wage expectations rise with skills […]


Gravity

22 November 2021

Has Vladimir Putin been watching the 2013 film ‘Gravity’? Sandra Bullock plays an astronaut whose Space Shuttle Explorer is destroyed by a cloud of space debris caused by the Russians shooting down a presumed defunct Russian spy satellite in low Earth orbit. Last week, the US condemned Russia for conducting a ‘dangerous and irresponsible’ missile […]


Toxic Power Games

15 November 2021

Sadly, COP26 was a stark reminder, if ever one was needed, not only of the challenges to our planet from global warming, but also getting everyone to agree on to the scale of the issues. The landmark closing climate deal was watered down, no doubt with polluted water, due to two coal powered countries – […]


Sleeping Lions

8 November 2021

Just under a year into his presidency and Joe Biden, or ‘Sleepy Joe’ as Donald Trump called him, has seen his popularity plummet in recent polling. The Democrats are struggling to get key policies passed and his public image has not been helped by images of him nodding off at COP-26. In a recent press […]


Digging a Hole for Ourselves

1 November 2021

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently published its latest World Energy Outlook and outlined their hopes for decarbonising power generation. One of the odd messages is that we need to build more mines or the greener energy transition will slowdown. The world will need greater amounts of key natural resources such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, […]


COP26 – a cop-owooooot

25 October 2021

Spookily, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, starts on the 31st October. COP26 is due to be the largest climate change conference since Paris in 2015, but uncertainty about the attendees is concerning. Last week The Queen was overheard to say “I’ve been hearing all about COP and I still […]


Transitory Times

18 October 2021

At the start of the year economists were predicting the UK could enjoy a 21st Century version of the ‘Roaring Twenties’. However, economists are now warning of the risk of ‘stagflation’ – persistently high inflation and stagnant demand. The Bank of England (BoE) appears to be shifting from its ‘transitory inflation’ message and acknowledging that […]


China’s Magic Weapon

11 October 2021

The US recently said it was ‘very concerned’ by China’s ‘provocative’ actions after Taiwan claimed a record number of Chinese military aircraft had flown into its air defence zone. However, China has a more subtle strategy in a new ‘Cold War’ against the West. BBC2 recently broadcast a documentary about a Chinese Communist Party department […]


Not Now, I Haven’t the Energy

4 October 2021

The UK’s fuel crisis is showing signs of abating and the army have now been deployed to ease tanker driver constraints but to add to motorist frustration, prices at the pump have been increasing as oil has soared to a three-year high of over $80. As we highlighted in ‘Who Turned the Lights Out’ – […]


Silent But Deadly

27 September 2021

Submarines can be extremely effective, but costly warships. Those watching Vigil on a Sunday night might have been shocked by the scale of modern submarines. On April 20th, the Royal Navy’s latest nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarine, HMS Anson was launched. That same day, the S201 made its debut. This is an Extra-Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV) […]


Who Turned the Lights Out?

20 September 2021

The UK’s sixth-largest energy company Bulb is apparently seeking a bailout to stay afloat, amid surging wholesale gas prices. The UK has also enjoyed one of its least windy summers since 1961. Wind energy power generation had accounted for 24% of total UK electricity generation in 2020. Gas prices have soared by 35% in the […]


Three Wheels on my Wagon*

13 September 2021

‘Three wheels on my wagon and I’m still rolling along’ –  a song from the sixties that sums up the UK’s current predicament. The UK economy has re-bounded strongly following the exit from lockdown and with the release of pent-up demand. Global supply chains and just in time delivery were always going to struggle to […]


Space Command

6 September 2021

The UK’s armed forces first combined command centre, aimed at protecting the country’s interests in space has recently opened. Space Command is based at RAF High Wycombe and will be jointly operated by the Army, RAF and Royal Navy. When fully operational it will also provide command and control for all of the UK’s space […]


The Final Cowntdown

23 August 2021

US scientists have stated that July was the Earth’s hottest ever month. The combined land and ocean-surface temperature was 0.9C above the 20th Century average of 15.8C – yet more evidence of global warming? We are due the next UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November. Members have plenty to ponder but what […]


The Final Cowntdown

23 August 2021

US scientists have stated that July was the Earth’s hottest ever month. The combined land and ocean-surface temperature was 0.9C above the 20th Century average of 15.8C – yet more evidence of global warming? We are due the next UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November. Members have plenty to ponder but what […]


Has The Day After Tomorrow Arrived?

16 August 2021

Last week’s ground breaking U.N. environment report delivered a grim warning on climate change, stating it’s ‘code red for humanity’. The 2004 disaster movie ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ depicts catastrophic disruption to the North Atlantic Ocean circulation. A series of weather events brings about extreme global cooling and leads to a new ice age. Disturbingly, […]


Classic Belgian Waffle

9 August 2021

For anyone under the impression that Brexit was done and dusted – think again! Besides the Northern Ireland protocol, long-term agreements on data and finance and Gibraltar border security guard issues, there is also the Lugano Convention. The Lugano Convention 2007 is an international treaty negotiated by the EU on behalf of its member states […]


20,000 leagues under the sea

2 August 2021

The global Covid-19 pandemic and working from home has made us all even more dependent upon reliable internet connection. Whilst 5G is being rolled out, our access to the internet actually relies on thousands of miles of cable crossing the seabed of the world’s oceans. Some 98% of the world’s internet traffic relies on these […]


Truckin’ Nightmare

27 July 2021

  An increasing number of UK companies are commenting on the pressures related to the serious shortage of HGV drivers. The Road Haulage Association estimates there is currently a shortage of 100,000 drivers in the UK, out of a pre-pandemic total of about 600,000. The ‘pingdemic’ is emptying supermarket shelves and the problem could get […]


Fight Club

19 July 2021

Nearly 20 years on from 9/11 Afghanistan remains an ongoing battleground. It is strategically located on the main land route between Iran, Central Asia, and India. It has become known as ‘the graveyard of empires’ due the number of periods of foreign invasion and withdrawal. Over the centuries, Alexander the Great, Britain, Russia and now […]


Too Big For Their Boots

12 July 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the long term-structural shift underway in many markets and technology giants have been amongst the global stock market winners. China has also seen its technology giants ‘make hay while the sun shines’ with 24 Chinese companies raising over $12bn in the first half of 2021. Amongst the latest to do […]


It’s Coming Home (with a fair wind)

5 July 2021

Aside from the football, the weather is the Nation’s major talking point. Over the weekend, many parts of the UK experienced exceptionally heavy rainfall and flash flooding. This was almost akin to tropical conditions, thereby dashing a few BBQ’s and outdoor celebrations. The northern jet stream* is a key determinant of Britain’s weather. In winter, […]


Hot Rod

28 June 2021

While wind and solar power generation capacity is expanding rapidly, in order to plug the hole left by the demise of fossil fuels, more countries have been building nuclear power stations.

Hinkley C plant in Somerset is currently one of the biggest construction sites in Europe. However, Britain’s investment in nuclear power generation is dwarfed by China which is now one of the world’s largest producers of nuclear energy.

Unfortunately, we know that nuclear power comes with risk and Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima all involved human error.  So, what happened recently at Taishan, in China and should we be worried?


Cornish Gold Rush

21 June 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has already driven a gold rush in Cornwall with booming property prices, as many looking to relocate to the South-West with a pandemic driven re-evaluation of lifestyle and ability to work from home. However, could a second ‘gold rush’, or to be accurate, a Cornish lithium rush be about to get underway?


Oil giants – don’t become a dinosaur

14 June 2021

In a landmark case, a court in the Netherlands has recently ruled that oil giant Royal Dutch Shell must reduce its CO2 emissions by at least 45% by 2030 compared to its 2019 levels. Acknowledging the ruling, the company has pledged to ‘rise to the challenge’. Ben van Beurden, Shell’s Chief Executive, has responded that the company would fast-track its plan for the energy transition. “For Shell, this ruling does not mean a change, but rather an acceleration of our strategy.”


Protecting the Amazon

7 June 2021

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of investment in a company or business. It was pleasing to see true ESG in action recently with the news that 40 UK food businesses have threatened to stop sourcing products from Brazil over proposed land reforms. Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Greggs, the Co-op and the British Retail Consortium are among the major organisations to sign the open letter.


Ice Station Zebra

1 June 2021

Russia has again been flexing its muscles, this time to challenge for control of the Arctic. The Russian Northern Fleet put on a show of strength earlier this year when three nuclear submarines smashed through the ice simultaneously at the North Pole while two fighter jets flew overhead, re-fuelling in mid-air on the same Arctic exercise. Such posturing, which is reminiscent of the 1968 film ‘Ice Station Zebra’, has made the US and NATO wary as Russia’s military presence in the region expands to a level not seen since the Cold War.


Life on Mars?

24 May 2021

The US recently recorded a record goods trade deficit. The American dream – buying cheap goods made in other countries, but balancing out trade by exporting software, films and financial services – has failed.


The Great British Investment Opportunity

19 May 2021

Potentially a ‘once in a lifetime’ event The UK stock market is hugely out of favour reflecting a number of factors including Brexit, the economic impact of Covid-19 and its higher exposure to sectors with a more cyclical bias. These have left the index trading near a multi-decade valuation discount when compared to global peers. […]


The Power of the DarkSide

17 May 2021

The US has recently suffered the worst cyber-attack to date on its critical infrastructure from cyber-criminals ‘DarkSide’. The US government was forced to issue emergency legislation after the largest fuel pipeline in the US was hit by a ransomware cyber-attack. The Colonial Pipeline carries 2.5million barrels a day – 45% of the East Coast’s supply of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel. The emergency legislation relaxed rules on working hours for drivers of fuel tankers to help in moving fuel up to New York.


Ark at ee Sports

10 May 2021

One of the global success stories to emerge from lockdown is the computer gaming sector, which has seen continued strong growth in gaming activity with more of us at home. The UK is actually at the forefront of gaming software developmentThe UK gaming industry is estimated to have reached a record £7bn in 2020, an increase of 30% from 2019 and is forecast to grow to over £10bn by 2023. A number of very successful console gaming software companies are quoted on the UK’s AIM market and the sector has become a major employer.


A New Old Arms Race

4 May 2021

‘We have won the war, America has lost’. This was claimed by members of the Taliban in an interview with the BBC following the news that American forces are to leave Afghanistan later this year.


Killing the Chicken to Scare the Monkeys

26 April 2021

China’s technology giants have been caught squarely in the cross-hairs by the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese regulators. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba has recently been fined $2.8bn -4% of its 2019 turnover for abuse of its market position. Furthermore, Ant Group   a digital payments business and an affiliate of Alibaba had its much-anticipated stock market flotation suspended last year and is now being forced to behave more like a bank than a technology business.


Greenland’s mine!

19 April 2021

Greenland has attracted international interest because of its rare earth mineral assets. A potential mine at Kvanefjeld, in the south of the country could become the most significant western world producer of rare earth minerals. This is claimed by the sites owner’s, an Australian company, Greenland Minerals. Unfortunately, the news has resulted in the shares being suspended.


Everything Remains on the Table

12 April 2021

Pubs and restaurants reopen, shame no one booked the weather. To say the BBC is not China’s favourite broadcaster would be an understatement, particularly given its investigation and allegations into the treatment of the Uighurs. The BBC has upset the Chinese authorities further through its excellent, but chilling documentary series ’54 Days’. The first programme […]


A Helping Hand

6 April 2021

The vaccination roll-out has enabled the government to lay out an exit path from lockdown. As Boris reiterated yesterday, the path is in place and all of us are looking forward to things returning to normal. However, there is a big question for many UK companies – just what will be the new normal when […]


One Man and his Dog

29 March 2021

Covid-19 and lockdown has changed life in many ways and in the UK one of the biggest changes has been the increase in pet ownership, particularly companion animals such as cats and dogs. The Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) estimates that 3.2 million households have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic, which […]


Nuclear Reaction

23 March 2021

The distressing footage of the flooding in New South Wales and notably Sydney, Australia, are a reminder, if we needed one, of the damage and power a floodwater disaster can cause. This month also happens to mark the tenth anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. […]


Amazon Tax

15 March 2021

The UK vaccination roll out continues to gain momentum with over 24million having received a first jab and 1.6million a second dose. For once, the UK is ahead of the game. This has hopefully enabled the government to set out a realistic roadmap for England to exit lockdown, which should drive a strong bounce in […]


The Tip of the Spear

8 March 2021

The British Army is the smallest it has been in 400 years. At a time when morale has been reported as being low and suffering a manpower crisis, it could be about to suffer further cuts in the next defence review due to be announced next week. As recently as November, the government set out […]


Rare Earth Shootout

1 March 2021

Rare earth metals are a highly coveted class of minerals that form key components in the production of smart phones, electric vehicles, wind farms and defence weapons. Around 80% of these rare earths are found and refined in China. China has recently tightened its stranglehold on rare earths and potentially other scarce commodities. China passed […]


An Ultra-Cold War?

22 February 2021

Quantum computers are the next big thing to happen in computing. Quantum computers use ‘qubits’, components that exploit quantum mechanics which put simply means they can do many things simultaneously. Their power and speed are almost unimaginably faster like the speed of a supercomputer compared with an abacus. ‘Ultracold quantum matter research’ is a new […]


The Roaring 2020s

15 February 2021

Some economists are predicting the world could enjoy a 21st Century version of the ‘Roaring Twenties’. Perhaps more aptly this could be described as the Roaring 2020’s, as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic helped by vaccines and economic stimulus. While it might not feel like it currently, we could be about to experience an […]


Buy Now, Pay Later

8 February 2021

Covid-19 and extended lockdowns have been the nail in the coffin for many traditional high street department and clothing stores. Consumers have in many cases been forced to migrate in ever increasing numbers to online shopping and home delivery or ‘click and collect’ offerings. This rapid structural change is reflected in the demise of the […]


From Russia with Love

1 February 2021

“But what makes you think that M will oblige you by falling in with your plan? …For the simple reason that this is so obviously a trap.” Admiral Lord West, former chief of the Royal Navy has warned that Britain is ‘one mistake away from a war with Russia. Vladimir Putin wants to show he […]


A Percy Pig in a Poke

25 January 2021

A pig in a poke is an offer that is accepted without being examined first, or literally, ‘don’t buy a pig until you have seen it’. In law it is also known as ‘caveat emptor’ – Latin for ‘let the buyer beware’. A guiding principle of commerce in many countries. In essence, if you buy […]


Can we Survive Without Amazon?

18 January 2021

By acting as a carbon sink, the Amazon has played a pivotal role in slowing down the pace of global warming. However, Brazil’s space agency has recently been reported that deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has surged to its highest level since 2008. At one time it was said that an area of forest the […]


Noisy neighbour

11 January 2021

Under the cover of coronavirus, China appears to be flexing its muscles within the Asian region and against its neighbours. There has been a long running dispute between India and China over the Kashmir border in the Himalayas which escalated last year after twenty Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese were killed. Talks […]


Hot Air

4 January 2021

Ever hopeful of a change in sentiment, it feels the New Year has started the same way 2020 ended, with everyone’s daily lives seemingly governed by Covid-19. Despite the vaccination programme now underway, it will be some time before life returns anywhere close to normality. This is much the case for office workers and many […]


2020 – Finishing Off With a Whimper

21 December 2020

It would seem an understatement to suggest that 2020 has been a far from a normal year. It has been a year of many challenges that have tested us all. Most will not have had to live under the cloud of a global pandemic before. It is possible that it will take a few years […]


We’re All Going on a Summer Holiday

14 December 2020

This is the last Alpha Bites of 2020 and what a year it has been – certainly one we will never forget, but equally one we would rather not remember. Looking back, little did we know then to what extent Covid-19 had been covered up by local officials in Hubei and how it had started […]


Oz-terity

7 December 2020

Australia’s economy has boomed in recent decades. Fuelled by China’s insatiable growth in demand for commodities and food it has grown to become Australia’s biggest trading partner. However, recently Australia has suffered a form of austerity from China which has imposed bans on a range of Australian exports. While Australian’s sweat under record breaking temperatures, […]


Respect RCEP – TCB*

30 November 2020

*(Taking Care of Business) with apologies to Aretha Franklin What with Covid-19 and lockdown tiers making the headlines it is easy sometimes to forget the bigger global economic picture. Fifteen countries have recently formed the world’s largest trading bloc, accounting for about 30% of global domestic product (GDP) and 42% of global manufacturing.  The Regional […]


Lockdown Lottery

23 November 2020

While the recent positive vaccine news is a game changer, until vaccines are rolled out across the population, social distancing/face masks/frequent hand washing remain our primary defence. Much ink has been spilt over lockdowns in the fight against Covid-19, while the primary weapon in enforcing social distancing to prevent the NHS being swamped and restricting […]


Cummings and Goings

16 November 2020

After a dramatic week of Cummings and goings at No. 10, Boris now has a chance to reflect as he self isolates due to Covid-19. Boris Johnson has had a busy time of it – fire-fighting Covid-19, preparing a policy re-launch, negotiating Brexit and considering his relationship with the US president elect. With so many plates […]


What’s Occurring?

9 November 2020

Apparently, the government always considered a pandemic to be the most serious threat to the UK economy. How? This is because a pandemic was listed at the top of the National Risk Register, a little-known Cabinet Office document that catalogue’s the country’s worst nightmares. This is actually based upon a classified document, the National Risk […]


Trucking Hell

2 November 2020

Deal or no deal, Brexit looks to be still proceeding. Logistics companies formally haulage or freight firms, are concerned about the prospect of trucking hell. Businesses are facing with the prospect of a wall of bureaucracy, that threatens chaos at the border when life begins after Brexit on 1st January 2021. Tony Shally, Managing Director of […]


Carbon Copy

26 October 2020

China is currently the world’s biggest producer of carbon dioxide, responsible for around 28% of global emissions. Coal the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, accounted for over 50% of China’s energy use in 2019. In a ‘momentous’ and unexpected move, last month China’s President Xi committed to a long-term goal on tackling carbon emissions. China will […]


A Shot in the Arm

19 October 2020

With clear signs that a second wave of Covid-19 has taken hold across Europe it looks as if we are in for a tougher fight against the virus than originally envisaged. However there has been some encouraging vaccine news in recent days and SAGE expert Jeremy Farr is now predicting that a Covid-19 vaccine will […]


Flashpoint

12 October 2020

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has accused Beijing of purposefully inflaming tensions in the Asian region and over the weekend called for “meaningful dialogue” with mainland China as long as it was willing to resolve antagonisms and improve cross-strait relations. Chinese warplanes recently crossed the sensitive median line across the narrow straight that separates the mainland […]


Jaws

5 October 2020

“We’re gonna need a bigger boat” a classic line delivered by Roy Scheider in the 1975 film ‘Jaws’. Well, we’re now going to need a bigger shark! Squalene -traditionally sourced from shark liver oil has been used in a wide range of cosmetic and personal care applications, including skin care creams and coloured cosmetics due […]


A Bridge Too Far

28 September 2020

China has embarked upon its grand ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) to build road, rail and sea links to the rest of Asia, Africa and further beyond. Under President Xi’s BRI strategy, overseas investment and construction contracts are estimated to have ballooned to $730 billion in over 112 countries. By way of example, in the […]


Battlezone

21 September 2020

During the Great War, Britain built the first completed tank prototype ‘Little Willie’. The UK has an ageing and some would say obsolete fleet of some 227 tanks. Could the nation which invented the tank be about to abandon them? The nature of global warfare is changing rapidly. UK defence chiefs are talking about ‘sunrise […]


Kick Starter

14 September 2020

Massive support stimulus from central banks together with positive Covid-19 vaccine trials have supported market hopes of a V-shaped rebound in the global economy in 2021. However, there are many different views of the potential shape of economic recovery which include V, W, U, L and a Nike’s logo shaped ‘swoosh’. Last week we saw someone forecast a new […]


Barmy Army

7 September 2020

Boris Johnson’s government has seen its lead in voter polling evaporate with the Conservative and Labour parties are neck and neck on 40%. This would appear to reflect a procession of government U-turns which have provided Labour’s new leader Sir Keir Starmer with plenty of ammunition for Prime Minsters question time. Pressure is also building […]


Too Big to Ignore

7 September 2020

Government imposed lockdowns to tackle Covid-19 have been something of a wake-up call for many companies. In the era of globalisation and just in time supply chain efficiencies it has caused a massive disruption leading to shortages. To further complicate matters, there is escalating tension between the US and China. A recent survey by supply […]


It’s not Rocket Science

24 August 2020

Is the ‘race’ to develop an effective Covid-19 vaccine also becoming the ‘new nationalism’, as world leaders jostle with each other for access and control? Are corners being cut to win? This follows President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of regulatory approval of the Sputnik-V vaccine after less than two months testing. Russia appears to have skipped […]


Beware of Zombies

17 August 2020

Last week, it was reported that businesses in UK have lost almost 750,000 jobs since the start of the coronavirus lockdown and it could be getting much worse without ongoing government financial support. Begbies Traynor, a leading independent business recovery specialist recently warned that some 527,000 businesses were in ‘significant financial distress’ reflecting a ‘toxic […]


Ageing Gun

10 August 2020

Despite mixed initial reviews, Top Gun became an iconic film from the 80’s. By 2015, the United States Library of Congress even selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry.  The re-make of the 1986 film about the US Navy’s Fighter weapons School starring Tom Cruise Top Gun: Maverick, has been 30 years in the making but has […]


Space Wars

3 August 2020

At a time when countries need to pull together, East-West relations have worsened and it’s not just Trump getting caught with a frosty East wind.  It’s fair to say that relations between the UK and Russia are not great at the moment. Following the Salisbury poisonings incident and alleged hacking of UK scientists developing a […]


Testing times

27 July 2020

Scientists appear to be making significant strides in their fight against Covid-19.  According to reports more than 100 groups around the world are currently working on vaccines and 18 are now being tested on people in clinical evaluation trials. Last week, the preliminary results of a clinical trial by UK company Synairgen suggested a new treatment dramatically reduces […]


Love is in the Hair

20 July 2020

I was able to get my hair cut last week after nearly four months which provided an interesting micro-view on the UK economy and the challenge for many businesses. Hairdressers have seen pent-up demand but after the initial rush to get a haircut what level will business settle at? First, the shop’s capacity has been […]


No Place Like Home

13 July 2020

The Covid-19 outbreak and shift to even greater internet usage is going to lead to some fundamental changes in our lifestyles in the years ahead – where we live and where and how we work. This will have a massive impact upon the global property market, particularly houses, offices and shops. In Japan, technology firm […]


Bottleneck

6 July 2020

With the number of global Covid-19 cases still growing, fresh regional clusters and fears of a second wave in winter, the race is on to develop a vaccine. Britain is amongst the front runners with the likes of Oxford University and Imperial College along with major drug companies GlaxoSmithKline and Astra Zeneca. Having previously dismissed […]


Turning the Screw

29 June 2020

In last week’s Alpha Bites, ’A wolf in sheep’s clothing’ we highlighted how China had suspended some beef imports from Australia due to the latter’s call for a global enquiry into the Covid-19 outbreak. Developments appear to have taken a more sinister path recently with Australia coming under attack from a wave of foreign cyber […]


A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

22 June 2020

The Chinese foreign ministry has been taking an increasingly strident tone against the US and its allies in what has been dubbed ‘wolf-warrior diplomacy’, named after popular Chinese action films based on its special forces. This has seen it adopt a new approach which appears popular inside China, with a move from conservative, passive and […]


All at Sea

15 June 2020

Coronavirus outbreaks aboard cruise ships made distressing headlines at the start of the global pandemic. Many holiday makers were confined to their cabins and the ‘toxic’ cruise ships were detained in ports or frozen out at sea. So, spare a thought for some 400,000 mariners who are currently estimated to be stranded at sea or […]


Don’t Stand So Close To Me

8 June 2020

Drivers have got used to distancing chevron markers on some motorways to prevent vehicles getting too close in peak periods. This doesn’t seem to be open to debate and is simple common sense. Now we all have to get used to walking around shops, factories, warehouses and offices with 2-metre social distancing markers. However, now […]


Its A New Dawn, Its A New Day

1 June 2020

There is no doubting the fact that due to the Covid-19 pandemic the world will never be quite the same again. The lockdown measures enforced around the world have made many of us re-evaluate the meaning of life and for a time many local communities and neighbours felt closer. Tensions are starting to creep in […]


No Longer Besties

26 May 2020

In January, President Donald Trump heralded the signing of phase one of the US-China trade agreement – ‘This is the biggest deal anybody has ever seen.’ However, could the US and China trade deal be latest victim of Covid-19? The economic hit from lockdown measures suggest that China’s purchases of US goods is likely to […]


Letting Your Hair Down

18 May 2020

Governments are re-starting their economies and a growing number of people are pushing to ease lockdown restrictions.  All the ‘non-essential’ industries which have been in suspended animation for many weeks, will no doubt celebrate the opportunity to start on the path to normality (whatever that is). However, many sectors in the UK particularly hospitality, can […]


I Don’t Like Mondays

11 May 2020

Before the Covid-19 lockdown many of us faced that Monday morning feeling with the commute to work and the start of another working week. Some of you that have been self-isolating may be looking forward for the long-awaited return of that Monday morning feeling! However, will rush hour be consigned to history? The government is […]


The Single Greatest Logistical Challenge

4 May 2020

Later this week the government will be updating us on lockdown restrictions. It is widely expected that these will be the first measures aimed at unlocking the country. Five key tests have been identified, including if there is sufficient testing capacity and if there is enough PPE equipment in hand to meet future demand. Do […]


Boris is Back

27 April 2020

#Borisisback In the UK, full lockdown measures are in place until at least 7th May, but businesses and households are beginning to ask when can we start on the path towards returning to normal? The government has already outlined its five red lines to ease containment measures but PM Boris Johnson has urged caution on […]


The World Turned Upside Down

20 April 2020

We live in unprecedented times. The ‘law of the jungle’ or survival of the fittest is very much in play as Covid-19 lockdowns leads to recession in many countries. In this environment, investors have had to completely re-think – what is a defensive business? For example, in previous recessions pubs were relatively defensive as even […]


Testing Times

14 April 2020

Covid-19 has something in common with Brexit- the government is going to need an exit plan. Indeed, all governments are going to need a lockdown exit strategy. The next 7-10 days are going to be very painful for many families as we approach the Covid-19 peak. In the UK, the ‘three- week’ lockdown will, this […]


London’s Burning

6 April 2020

In 1666, when the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Thomas Bloodworth was woken up to be told about the Great Fire of London, he replied ‘Pish! A woman might piss it out!’ If he had acted sooner the fire may have been contained to a smaller part of the city. Officially only 6 deaths were […]


It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow

30 March 2020

Boris Johnson who has himself tested positive for Covid-19 has tried to invoke a war time spirit in Britain’s fight against the virus, so will Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘It’s a lovely day tomorrow’ go viral? Given the lockdown perhaps we should all be singing ‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials. Failing that what about John Denver’s […]


Its Life Jim

23 March 2020

Its life Jim, but not as we know it’ – not actually a quote from Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy from Star Trek, but a line from the 1987 song ‘Star Trekkin’ by The Firm. However, this phrase seems to aptly capture the unprecedented change in lifestyles for not only the UK, but also Europe, the US […]


Two Black Swans

16 March 2020

Black swan theory suggests it is an unpredictable event – that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Is coronavirus a black swan event? Global stock markets and the oil price have fallen significantly on coronavirus fears. Investors have always known there was a global health risk from China […]


No Fly Zone

9 March 2020

Last week, regional airline Flybe went into administration, putting 2,000 jobs at risk and casting a shadow over regional economies across the UK. This was due to a combination of factors, but there is no doubt that the coronavirus outbreak tipped it over the edge. Unfortunately, Flybe isn’t likely to be the only casualty. The […]


Don’t Panic

2 March 2020

Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring The coronavirus outbreak is a reminder of how fragile life can be despite the massive strides made in healthcare in recent decades. Without wanting to sound too alarmist, last week was a rather painful one for equity investors with a 10% correction being felt across the majority of major markets. Having […]


Weather Warning

24 February 2020

2020 has been earmarked the UK Year of Climate Action. Judging by the weather that we have recently experienced, mother nature is keen to reinforce the message. Climate change continues to be a divisive and controversial topic. The top 10 warmest years in the UK, have all occurred since 2002. Higher temperatures mean more water evaporates […]


Excess Gas

17 February 2020

Alongside a tragic loss of life, coronavirus is having all sorts of ramifications globally and amongst the commodities to be hit, is liquified natural gas (LNG). Natural gas is greener and a cheaper alternative to oil. However, an excess of supply, has seen the price recently fall below $3 per million British thermal units, and […]


All that glitters is not gold

10 February 2020

Palladium is a precious metal 30 times as rare as gold. The price of palladium has soared on global commodities markets having recently peaked at about $2,500 an ounce – almost double its value a year ago. Indeed, it is now even more expensive than gold, but why has its valued rocketed? As ever it’s all […]


Green but Lean

3 February 2020

The increasing availability of electric and hybrid cars has made investors excited about new technology such as fuel cells and lithium batteries. The fact that many consumers ‘want to do their bit’ to address climate change should be supportive of the switch in the longer term to more environmentally friendly transport. However, the catch is […]


Cloud Hopper

27 January 2020

Some global equity markets have recently been propelled to fresh all-time highs as the US and China have signed the ‘phase one’ trade deal. However, the US and China look as far away as ever from addressing fundamental differences which are likely to come to the fore in ‘phase two’ talks. One of the key […]


Chernobyl

20 January 2020

2019 was memorable as it saw the UK generate more power from zero-carbon sources than fossil fuels for the first time since the Industrial Revolution. However, this includes nuclear power which comes with a catch. Having recently watched Sky/HBO’s critically acclaimed mini-series ‘Chernobyl’ it got us thinking about the nuclear industry in our part of […]


Quick Sand

13 January 2020

At the start of a new decade, we are again reminded about climate change with the terrible fires in Australia.  Growing numbers of us in developed western countries are concerned about the global climate, while many of those in emerging economies aspire to own what we take for granted. Global population growth is driving greater […]


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