Alpha Publications

Don’t Rush to Pull the Flush

8 August 2022

With parts of the country still in desperate need of rain, and temperatures set to climb this week, there is speculation that further measures will be required to reduce water usage.  Those of a certain age will recall the heatwave of 1976 lasted much longer and led to serious water shortages, with standpipes on street […]


Taking our foot off the gas

1 August 2022

Russian gas re-started flowing through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline last week following a maintenance shutdown. However, it is operating at just 20% capacity. Kadri Simson the EU’s energy commissioner called the move as “politically motivated”. It is no surprise that European gas prices have jumped back close to the earlier all-time high after […]


The ‘Nam

25 July 2022

Sadly, there currently appears to be no end in sight for the war in Ukraine. Many, at the time, may have thought the same about the Vietnam War. Yet approaching 50-years later and Vietnam is now seen as an opportunity for many businesses to invest in and to enter the South East Asia region with […]


Belt Up!

18 July 2022

Sri Lanka is in state of emergency. It recently defaulted on its $51bn of international debt in May. A culmination of years of heavy borrowing and tax cuts by the government, plus the damaging economic impact from the Covid. China has received criticism from the West over its ambitious Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), launched […]


Time for Big Sam?

11 July 2022

You can’t beat a leadership contest for toxic smears – there is even more intrigue and back stabbing than in ITV 2’s Love Island! The Conservative leadership race is well underway and already the smears are coming thick and fast.  Rishi Sunak forced to deny links to former No.10 adviser Dominic Cummings while Nadhim Zahawi […]


Taking a Break

4 July 2022

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) believes the UK economy is likely to face a permanent financial drag post the Covid-19 lockdown, after hundreds of thousands of mature workers have retired early. The IFS estimates that some 270,000 people aged between 50-69 left work during the pandemic, the vast majority deciding to retire early, as […]


Reinventing the Wheel

27 June 2022

Pneumatic tyres were first used on vehicles in the 1890’s. Technology has advanced to create it to be near indestructible and therefore not easy to recycle. However, tyres can suddenly fail, potentially leading to death or serious injury. At Goodyear’s track in Luxembourg, a Tesla Model 3 is currently undergoing tests – turning through tight […]


Burrrrrrp

20 June 2022

New Zealand has unveiled a plan to tax sheep and cattle due to them burping methane gas. This will make it the first country in the world to charge farmers for their animal’s emissions. The country is home to just 5 million people, but has 10 million cows and 26 million sheep.  Around half of […]


Chicken Nuggets

13 June 2022

The cost-of-living crisis affects all of us, but more so lower income households. Energy costs have jumped due to the war in Ukraine and this is having a spill over effect on food prices. Chicken is the UK’s meat of choice for the dinner table and is a good example of how higher input costs […]


Left in the Dark

6 June 2022

Six million homes could face power cuts this winter if the war in Ukraine continues and sanctions remain in place against Russia. This grim picture is set out in a ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ prepared for the government. If Russia cut off all gas supplies to the EU, then contingency measures could see energy rationing for […]


Who’s Swimming Naked?

30 May 2022

Central banks did a great job protecting the world economy in the wake of the Great Financial Crisis and again during the global Covid-19 pandemic with interest rates cut to record historic lows and through Quantitative Easing (QE). However, central banks probably left QE in place long after it was prudent to do so.  With […]


Hollow Mountain

23 May 2022

Recent global developments highlight the importance of energy security. The recently published British Energy Security Strategy, states it is “the lifeblood of the global economy”. Boris’ ‘Ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution’ highlights the need to accelerate the shift from fossil fuels to renewables. After all the debate about offshore wind and nuclear power, it […]


Could we all be Hank Marvin? *

16 May 2022

*Cockney rhyming slang – starving Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s major wheat exporters and together account for about one-third of global annual wheat sales. Some soft-commodity prices were already at a ten-year high even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because of global harvest issues. Russia’s invasion is likely to have serious consequences […]


Opportunity Knocks

9 May 2022

While the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic appears to be behind us, unfortunately it is now time to address the financial consequences of the crisis. This basically means inflation and higher taxes to cover the cost of government support. The bad news is that the overall UK tax burden on households is now forecast to […]


Downcycling

3 May 2022

China has always been highly sensitive about the origins of the global pandemic – but has always denied it was the source. Nonetheless, having spread from China around the world, it has come back to haunt the Chinese authorities with cases now recorded in Beijing. Unfortunately, as the world’s second largest economy and a major […]


The Wisdom of Solomon

25 April 2022

The White House has warned the Solomon Islands that it will “respond accordingly” if a security pact with China leads to a Chinese military presence in the Pacific Island nation. The Solomon Islands are strategically located off the North-East coast of Australia and details of the agreement with China have not been made public. The Solomon […]


Bringing Home the Bacon

19 April 2022

The war in Ukraine has highlighted how reliant the world is on various Russian commodities. Western governments have had to quickly re-think energy security plans, given their dependence upon Russian oil and gas. The UK government has already unveiled a new energy strategy, but perhaps it also needs to re-think the UK’s food strategy? We […]


Turning Down the Thermostat

11 April 2022

The government has announced a new energy strategy focusing on UK-produced energy supplies. This could also see 95% of Britain’s electricity being’ low carbon’ by 2030. The US has been warning Europe for a number of years about the reliance upon Russia for energy.  It has taken the unexpected jolt of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine […]


The Eagle, the Bear and the Dragon

4 April 2022

The White House is becoming increasingly wary of ever closer ties between Beijing and Moscow. Shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin met President Xi Jinping at the Beijing Winter Olympics to announce a ‘no limits’ partnership. Did Putin tell Xi his plans to attack Ukraine? Regardless, China’s premier will have been surprised and […]


Feeling the Pinch

28 March 2022

Just in case you hadn’t realised, there is a cost-of-living crisis. Who remembers the rampant inflation of the 70’s and 80’s? Half of the UK’s population will not, as they are too young! Inflation is at a thirty-year high and there is the largest squeeze on UK consumer disposable income since the 1950’s. Households are […]


Holding Europe Over a Barrel

21 March 2022

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted how dependent the world is on Russian energy, but particularly Europe. The EU relies on Russia for 40% of its gas. Targeting Russian oil exports, as the US and the UK have done, has proven to be divisive. This week, in classic EU policy paralysis, its foreign ministers couldn’t […]


Dig for Victory

14 March 2022

The imposition of sanctions on Russia has highlighted how important a supplier of key natural resources it is. Oil and gas prices have spiked. However, besides an energy crisis, could the world also be facing a food crisis? Russian and Ukraine are leading exporters of wheat and prices have jumped by about 35% so far […]


Russian for the Exit

7 March 2022

The Ukraine crisis is a reminder that the world is a dangerous place! Governments are having to U-turn on defence spending after years of under-investment. China has just announced an increase in defence spending despite lowering its economic growth forecast for 2022. Even Germany is now going to materially increase defence spending and intends to […]


Dangerous Liaisons

28 February 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the relationship between President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Xinping. The latter was reported to have asked Putin not to invade Ukraine until after the end of the Winter Olympics! However, while Russia and China appear to be growing closer, things do not appear to be as cosy […]


Jet Fusion

21 February 2022

At the time of growing energy concerns, it is welcome news that scientists at JET (Joint European Torus) based in Oxfordshire, have recently made a major breakthrough in their quest to develop practical nuclear fusion – the energy process that powers the stars. Nuclear fusion works on the principle that energy can be released by […]


PPE – Pointless Pandemic Expense

14 February 2022

Given the growing number of news headlines, you will be aware the UK is facing a cost-of-living crisis. From the new tax year, an increase in national insurance contributions will add to the burden faced by many households. It is galling therefore, to learn how much money has been wasted by the government during the […]


War Games

7 February 2022

Despite the latest peace moves by French president Emmanuel Macron, a Russian invasion of Ukraine is still a risk. Clearly, President Vladimir Putin does not want Ukraine to join NATO. No wonder he is fretting, as since 1997 some 14 eastern European countries have joined NATO including Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – former Soviet republics which […]


Careful What You Fish For

31 January 2022

Mother Nature can be frightening. This was demonstrated by the power of the recent underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga. The blast is thought to have been 500 times as powerful as the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima and the height of the ash plume that scientists estimate reached 35 miles above the earth’s surface.  A […]


Creating a Stink

24 January 2022

Staycations and hot summer weather in 2021 saw more people visiting rivers -fishing, picnicking, paddling and swimming. Unfortunately, many may not have realised the health risk this carried. Environmental campaigners have, for some years, been highlighting the issue of sewage spills into many rivers. This prompted the Environment Agency and water industry regulator OFWAT to […]


What Can You C?

17 January 2022

Richard Moore, Chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) in his first speech since taking up the role of ‘C’, warned that another ‘C’ – China is the ‘single greatest priority’. Specifically, he warned that China’s intelligence services are conducting large scale espionage operations against the UK and its allies. This includes targeting those […]


High Five

10 January 2022

President Joe Biden is making a record $1.2tn infrastructure commitment to stimulate long term economic growth. According to the World Economic Forum, America had fallen to 13th in the world for the quality of its infrastructure. High speed internet is seen as key to US competitiveness. However, Boeing and Airbus only recently called on the US […]


Catch-22 in 2022?

4 January 2022

Last year markets took encouragement from the scientists as vaccines took the fight to Covid-19. The US led the way and notably the major technology companies, but the UK also enjoyed its best year in five years. Christmas 2021 saw the global emergence of the Omicron variant and with it a return to some lockdown […]


Under Attack

13 December 2021

Companies are becoming the targets of cyber criminals and ransomware attacks. In the UK, Tesco recently saw its website and smartphone app crash after attempts to interfere with its systems. UK engineer Weir Group recently announced it had been the victim of an attempted ransomware attack and that although its cyber counter-measures were working well […]


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 […]


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