Alpha Publications

Geo-Political Tectonics

15 April 2024

The recent earthquake in Taiwan is a reminder that the Earth’s tectonic plates are continually shifting. However, as earth plates shift, so do political landscapes. The US appears to be strategically re-positioning itself, in the face of the potential threat to Taiwan from China. This is being reflected in both a shift in its military […]


Dangerous Liaisons

8 April 2024

There is a global shortage of ammunition. Increased demand due to the war in Ukraine and the conflict in Gaza has been compounded by a shortage of gunpowder. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a seismic event for NATO and defence spending. Years of under-investment, exacerbated by support for the global pandemic and energy crisis, […]


Greta Thunberg’s favourite person

2 April 2024

It was the world’s warmest February in modern times, according to the EU’s climate service, extending the run of monthly records to nine in a row. February 2024 was about 1.77C warmer than ’pre-industrial times’ according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The WMO blames heat-trapping greenhouse gases, which it believes are the main culprit. […]


A Taxing Problem

25 March 2024

The take-up of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK is being driven by fleet buyers rather than consumers, and while market share fell last year, according to some estimates, by 2035 EVs could account for over 40% of the cars on our roads. This will create a fiscal headache for whichever party is in government, […]


Power Crunch

18 March 2024

Some good news at last for UK households, with energy prices expected to fall by over 12% in April. From 1st April 2024, the Energy Price Cap, which dictates what most households pay for energy, is set to drop by an average of £238 or 12%. However, the UK could face a power crunch point […]


FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out

11 March 2024

The total value of Bitcoin is now worth over $1.3tn, making it 50% of the overall $2.6tn cryptocurrency market. With a simultaneous rally in the price of gold, that has also reached a new all-time high, what messages are these sending out about the health of global financial markets? Both are a potential cause for […]


Size Matters

4 March 2024

The stock market does love acronyms and catchy names. It started with the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China), but has moved on to the largest US quoted stocks developing from the FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google), to the ‘Magnificent Seven’ (Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, Apple, Alphabet, Nvidia, Tesla). The latest is the ‘Trillion Dollar Club’ […]


Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

26 February 2024

With the war in Ukraine entering its third year, a peaceful resolution looks as distant a prospect as one in the Middle East. Putin is seeking re-election – a guaranteed outcome, has put Russia’s economy on a war footing, and is hoping that Donald Trump wins the US presidential election. Over the weekend, President Volodymyr […]


America First – The Sequel

19 February 2024

Donald Trump is polling 11 points ahead of an increasingly frail-looking, 81-year-old  President Joe Biden. By the time of the November election, Donald Trump will be 78, and assuming Biden feels compelled to stand for re-election, it will be the first presidential election where both candidates will be older than the average US life expectancy. […]


Switching off

12 February 2024

The UK registered its one millionth electric car last month. However, a 16% drop in sales by private buyers, has added to fears that sales growth is stalling. The uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK continues to be driven by fleet buyers, helped by tax incentives as companies seek to hit environmentally friendly […]


A shrinking pool of talent

5 February 2024

The UK stock market has a problem: a shrinking in the number of listed companies. Research has shown that over the last decade, the London Stock Exchange coupled with the junior market, AIM, has seen a 25% decrease in the number of listed firms. The pace of companies leaving the market due to takeovers, principally […]


Lifting the lid on car finance

29 January 2024

The cost to the banking sector of the PPI (payment protection insurance) scandal is thought to have been in excess of £40bn. At least the compensation provided a welcome boost to UK consumer spending! Surely, lessons will have been learned, but there could not be another mis-selling scandal, could there? Well, yes there could, as […]


Red Sea Danger

22 January 2024

The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden are one of the world’s most dangerous shipping routes. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and an alliance of eight other mostly Sunni Arab states backed by the US, UK, and France, began airstrikes against the Houthis in Yemen. The Houthi Shia Muslim rebels seized control of northern […]


A piece of (yellow) cake*

15 January 2024

Oppenheimer, the movie about the father of the atomic bomb, recently cleaned up at the Golden Globes. How fitting therefore, that uranium was one of the biggest winners amongst commodities last year, with an increase of 86%, closing 2023 at a 15-year high. Despite accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear energy is increasingly being […]


Taiwan, living in the Dragon’s mouth

8 January 2024

The Chinese New Year 2024 will be the year of the Dragon, and will bring authority, prosperity, and good fortune, but for who? For many other countries, it will be the year of elections, particularly the UK and US. The first key election of 2024 is one that Beijing will be watching very closely, and […]


What’s in store for 2024?

2 January 2024

The Global Investment Outlook – 2024 Looking into the crystal ball – what is in store for 2024? Elections and interest rate cuts! Inflation is coming down, but for some economies, the last mile may prove more difficult. Encouragingly US PCE inflation fell below the Fed’s 2% target in November.  Central banks are expected to […]


Human V AI Christmas Challenge

18 December 2023

‘Tis the season to be jolly’ so as this is the last Alpha Bites of 2023, we thought we would try a festive experiment. We have two modern versions of The Twelve Days of Christmas, one produced by us and one by AI. We would love to know which you think is most festive. Ours […]


Don’t bank on it?

11 December 2023

UK banks are closing branches at an alarming rate. The latest bank branch closures bring the total number of high-street branches shut across the sector to 623 so far this year. This is yet another inevitable structural shift due to the growth of internet banking. However, branch closures have created angst in rural communities, especially […]


I’m afraid there is no money

4 December 2023

Former Treasury Minister Liam Bryne left a now infamous note for his successor when Labour left government in May 2010. It said, ’Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind Regards – and good luck! Liam.’ Given the recent success in local by-elections and with the Labour party 20% ahead in the polls, […]


China Crisis

27 November 2023

China recently recorded a deficit of $11.8bn in foreign investment in the three months to the end of September, the first time since records began in 1998. In essence, foreign businesses appear to be withdrawing money out of China at a faster rate than they have been putting it in. Big multinational companies are not […]


Deep Sea Resources Mining

20 November 2023

In the face of growing international opposition to deep sea mining, at the end of October, the UK government announced its support for measures designed to protect the world’s oceans and improve the conservation of marine biodiversity. Ahead of this month’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), a UN […]


Isambard AI Brunel?

14 November 2023

Given the transformational nature of “AI”, we should not really be surprised to learn that AI has been named Word of the Year for 2023 by Collins Dictionary. PM Rishi Sunak recently hosted an AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park and wants the UK to be a world leader in the technology. The summit was […]


Ironclad

6 November 2023

US President Joe Biden recently warned China that the US will defend the Philippines in case of any attack in the disputed South China Sea. He said ‘I want to be clear – I want to be very clear: The United States’ defence commitment to the Philippines is ironclad.’  Biden added, “Any attack on the […]


A Sirius business

31 October 2023

An estimated 85,000 retail investors and a high proportion of those living in Yorkshire lost considerable amounts of money in 2020 investing in Sirius Minerals.   Sirius invested around £1bn to access the world’s largest known deposit of polyhalite underneath the North York Moors National Park near Whitby. As Sirius ran out of money, the […]


If you see me, then weep

23 October 2023

During Europe’s long, hot summer of 2022, river levels fell alarmingly. The hunger stones in the Elbe River at Děčín in the Czech Republic, are engraved with the words ‘if you see me, then weep’ which were a historic indicator of famine, were once again exposed. A year later and the Amazon River is experiencing […]


The Grey Zone

16 October 2023

War or at peace, or somewhere in between? Grey zone warfare tactics are aimed at weakening an adversary, over a prolonged period. Military analysts believe this is what China is trying to do with Taiwan. Last month, a record number of Chinese fighter jets crossed the unofficial border between them. By regularly crossing Taiwan’s Air Defence […]


Palm Oil. A sustainable solution is in hand

9 October 2023

Palm oil use is controversial – production is damaging to the environment and it is high in saturated fat, causing concerns about our health. It is used in everything from chocolate to pizza, shampoo, and deodorant to toothpaste. It is believed to be present in 50% of all supermarket items, across every category. It is […]


Rules of Origin

2 October 2023

Following Alpha Bites ‘Made in China,’ another challenge appears to be facing the European car manufacturing industry. The problem stems from the ‘rules of origin’, which come into force in January 2024, following Brexit. Rules of origin determine the ‘economic nationality’ of a good and were a key part of the UK/EU trade agreement. Rules […]


Not enough money in the pot

25 September 2023

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaking of the war in Ukraine, said that Russia ‘has unleashed a nexus of horror. Lives have been destroyed, human rights abused, families torn apart, children traumatised and hopes and dreams shattered.’ The recent G20 meeting in India produced a watered-down statement regarding the war in Ukraine and incredibly Russia was […]


A blow for offshore wind

18 September 2023

The UK’s renewable energy strategy has been dealt a blow as no new offshore wind project contracts have been bought by developers in the latest key government auction. While there were no bids for new offshore wind farms, there were deals for solar, tidal, onshore wind projects and for the first time, geothermal. The UK […]


Made in China

11 September 2023

‘Gravity’ is to be built on the former Royal Ordnance Factory site near Bridgwater, Somerset, just down the road from Hinkley Point C and will create 4,000 jobs. The £4bn investment will make batteries for Jaguar Land Rover and will eventually provide almost half of the UK’s car battery production by 2030. While a positive […]


G- Force

4 September 2023

BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The term ‘BRIC’ was originally developed in the context of foreign investment strategies by Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs in 2001 and evolved to include South Africa in 2010. BRICS has recently held its latest conference in Johannesburg. However, Putin attended virtually to […]


Dire Straits

29 August 2023

Over the past two decades, China’s economy has increased in value by a staggering six times! Far beyond the most optimistic expectations, propelling it into second place behind the US in the world rankings, with a GDP of c. $19.4trillion. China has been a big winner of globalisation and grew its economy through the development […]


Looking over the pond

21 August 2023

They say the grass is always greener on the other side or in this case, the other side of ‘the pond’. UK equities continue to trade at extremely low valuations by historic standards, while US equities remain close to a record high. No wonder, more quoted companies are mulling the idea of moving their UK […]


I got 89 problems

14 August 2023

Investment managers must assess their client’s attitude to risk, but in turn, must also consider market volatility and global macroeconomic risks. While markets act as a barometer of investor confidence and like to think they are pricing in the ‘known-knowns’ such as the path of interest rates, there can be sudden unexpected challenges such as […]


You only had one job…

7 August 2023

Andrew Bailey, Governor of The Bank of England (BoE), has stated there are ‘very big lessons to learn’, after failing to spot the current inflationary bubble. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is primarily responsible for keeping the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation close to a target, currently 2% per year. Having faced criticism for failing to act soon enough […]


A Latin love affair

31 July 2023

China has surpassed the US as South America’s top trading partner. China’s ties to the region date back to the sixteenth century, but today is it a partner or a predator?  It is also a major source of foreign direct investment and lending in South American energy and infrastructure projects, including through its Belt & […]


Debanking

24 July 2023

The closure of the bank accounts of ‘politically exposed persons’ (PEPs) has made news headlines recently after several public figures, including Nigel Farage, complained their accounts had been shut without warning. City Minister Andrew Griffith is believed to have summoned nineteen bank chiefs to a meeting to discuss how customers can be protected from being […]


A Smoking Gun

17 July 2023

Last week, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and its member countries, agreed to a new strategy that will bring emissions down to net-zero ‘by or around’ 2050. However, environmental groups are furious, stating the targets do not go far enough. Wealthier nations and small island states had called for a 50% reduction in emissions by […]


Greedflation

10 July 2023

With politicians and even Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England accusing some retailers of ‘profiteering’ during the cost-of-living crisis, the role of UK regulators is coming under greater public and political scrutiny. This has fuelled fears of monopolistic greedflation. The water regulator Ofwat has already received considerable flak from the UK public over […]


A Great British Energy dilemma

3 July 2023

The politics of power. Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer is looking to tap into concerns about climate change. Starmer has announced that if his party wins the next general election, it would end new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. Labour is also proposing to support renewable projects such as onshore wind and […]


Inflation – Rocket Man

26 June 2023

What is to blame for inflation running hot? Central banks, Brexit, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine or Covid-19 and global supply chain disruption? Well, after a hot Glastonbury weekend, part of the blame apparently lies with the demand for music festivals and Beyoncé. The start of Beyoncé’s world tour in Sweden last month sparked such a […]


Feeling the Heat

19 June 2023

The hot weather is proving a challenge and we all seem to be feeling the heat! A news headline from last week ‘Britain fires up coal plant as solar panels suffer in hot weather’ has more to do with a spike in demand, due to air conditioning units, but the message is clear – we […]


Chess in the South China Sea

12 June 2023

While the war of attrition continues in Ukraine, a longer-term power struggle is developing in the Far East, between the US and its allies and China. In previous Alpha-Bites we have highlighted China’s increasing presence in the South China Sea, while the US has strengthened ties with Australia through the AUKUS agreement. Both military powers […]


G7 Chinese Takeaways

5 June 2023

Western leaders sent a strong message to Russia at the recent G7 meeting in Hiroshima by inviting Volodymyr Zelensky to attend. However, the G7 also had China in its sights. As the world’s second-largest economy and a key component of global supply chains, Western economies have become inextricably dependent on China but competition with Beijing […]


Facing Election Rejection?

30 May 2023

It feels an eternity since the UK European Union membership referendum in June 2016 and many of us will be scratching our heads trying to identify any positives. From a global investment perspective, it does also feel as if  the UK has been ‘wading through treacle.’ Following Boris Johnson’s landslide election victory in December 2019, […]


Bulking Up

22 May 2023

Many of you will no doubt be making car journeys over the summer. If travelling with children, you may like to know there is now another game to play to keep them occupied – spot the longer lorries! The government has approved the use of longer lorries on British roads, which it believes will make […]


AI – Rise of the Machines

15 May 2023

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently stated the development of artificial intelligence (AI) is the most important technological advance in decades. In a recent blog Gates called it as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the Internet, and the mobile phone. “It will change the way people work, learn, travel, get healthcare […]


A slow boat from China

9 May 2023

Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns created considerable disruption to global supply chains and freight costs soared. As the world has emerged from lockdown, demand has normalised and supply chains constraints have eased. Thankfully, freight costs have also fallen back significantly from their peak which has helped both company profit margins and taken some of the pressure off […]


How do you like your chips?

2 May 2023

As readers will be aware, we are mindful of the ongoing tension building between the US and China and the potential impact the rift could cause on global trade. Increasing tensions have given rise to a significant shift in US government defence priorities, from counter-insurgency operations (Afghanistan, Iraq) to equipping forces for potential peer-to-peer competition […]


Bailouts on the Belt and Road

24 April 2023

Covid-19 then central bank interest rate hikes, the banking crisis and slower global economic growth has adversely impacted many smaller emerging economies. China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure finance programme is believed to have been hit by $78bn of bad debts over the last three years. No official data is available, but since 2013 […]


Return to Kernow

17 April 2023

Simon Reeve’s recent ‘Return to Cornwall’ on BBC2, provided an eye-opening look at why the county is one of the most desirable parts of the country and an iconic holiday destination, but also one of the poorest areas in England. In 2022, the average net household income was just £21,000 a year. This is well […]


Stormy Waters

11 April 2023

A political storm, not to be confused with the ‘Storm’ brewing in the United States… The Environment Agency recently published data which revealed the frequency of discharge of sewage into our rivers by the water companies. This showed a staggering 825 sewage spills per day into England’s rivers and seas in 2022. Over 300,000 sewage spills […]


A big bang or a pop?

3 April 2023

  In November last year, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt proposed an overhaul of the insurance industry Solvency II rules. These require life assurance companies to hold a sizeable ‘buffer’ of assets on their balance sheets and dictates where they can invest these reserves. Should the overhaul go ahead given the current lack of confidence in global […]


The race to net-zero

27 March 2023

The European Commission recently proposed a Green Deal Industrial Plan. Within this, the Net-Zero Industry Act, will set a target for 40% of the EU’s clean technology to be built inside the eurozone by 2030. These include: solar, wind, batteries, energy storage and heat pumps – all low carbon technology manufacturing. The EU wants to strengthen […]


Watt – No charge?

20 March 2023

With 17 new wind farm projects planned for Scotland adding an additional 25GW generating capacity, the UK’s offshore wind power capacity is projected to more than double. In 2022, the government set an ambitious target to increase the UK’s offshore wind capacity to 50GW by 2030, so the planned wind farms are a major boost. […]


When the balloon goes up

13 March 2023

The recent Chinese weather balloon incident has highlighted the tensions between China and the US. Relations have further soured with the US warning China against supplying ‘lethal’ aid to Russia for its war against Ukraine. The latest ‘spat’ is the Netherlands restriction on sales of the ‘most advanced’ micro-processor chips, made by ASML, to China […]


Diddly Squat

6 March 2023

Current shortages of some fruit and vegetables are a harsh reminder how fragile the UK’s food supply chain is. The ‘clock is ticking’ for the UK government to protect homegrown food supply, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president recently warned. Speaking at the NFU annual conference, Minette Batters said that farmers are being hit by […]


War, what is it good for?

27 February 2023

Last week marked the first anniversary of Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The worst war in Europe since 1945 has inflicted immense suffering on the people of Ukraine and created a humanitarian crisis. Ukraine and its supporters in the free world have risen to the challenge better than expected. However, European nations that have withstood […]


The Art of War

20 February 2023

Wars should be avoided at all cost. As we approach the first anniversary of the start of the Ukrainian conflict, we have learnt that modern warfare has evolved. Hybrid warfare does not involve actual traditional physical attacks with someone opening fire with a weapon. Hybrid refers to the use of non-conventional methods, that are non-attributable […]


You reap what you sow

13 February 2023

  The good news is that across Europe and the US, inflation is heading lower. This is key to central bank interest rate policy, with markets anticipating a slower rate of interest rate hikes as inflation eases. However, some components of the inflation data are proving ‘stickier’ than others. Clearly, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has […]


A shellfish act

6 February 2023

Some 111 projects across the UK have recently won a share from the £2.1bn second round of the government’s Levelling Up Fund. Combined with first round results, announced in October 2021, the Levelling Up Fund has awarded £3.8 billion to 216 projects! This comes at a time when the government has been facing a major […]


Green with envy

30 January 2023

Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), recently warned that the world has entered a green technology ‘subsidy arms race.’ This followed news that the EU is to make ‘unprecedented’ investments in clean technologies in a bid to counter the Biden administration’s $369bn Inflation Reduction Act. The fear is that without government […]


Great Expectations

23 January 2023

We‘ve probably all experienced this. You look forward to something only to find that it does not live up to your expectations, particularly holidays. If you pay for a 5-star hotel then you want 5-star service and if the destination is overseas, you also expect cloudless skies and unbroken sunshine. The disappointment is therefore far […]


Blown away

16 January 2023

Outlook – hopefully mild and windy  Wind supplied almost 27% of the UK’s annual power for the first time ever last year. Wind also accounted for a greater proportion of UK energy generation than nuclear at 15.5%. However, gas also increased its share of power generation, reaching a three-year high at 38.5%. Indeed, the UK […]


Fog warning

9 January 2023

  Until the mini-budget mayhem of last September many of us will have been blissfully unaware of Liability-Driven Investment (LDI). This is a basically a strategy to enhance returns within some UK defined benefit pension funds from government bonds. Unfortunately, the mini-budget created a seismic shock within the LDI sector that, in turn, almost led […]


The Global Investment outlook – What do we see for 2023?

3 January 2023

  What did we highlight last year?   This time last year in ‘Catch-22 in 2022’ we highlighted the challenge for central bankers – would they be able to tame the inflation tiger as the global economy emerged from Covid-19 lockdown? In the event, they all proved to be too far behind the curve and […]


The twelve strikes of Christmas

19 December 2022

    ‘Twas the night before Christmas and not a train or postal van was stirring. Strike action continues to hamper the UK economy. Even Santa’s elves have announced they will be taking industrial action in the run up to Christmas in a dispute over ‘pay and conditions’. Although, this is not thought to be […]


Sitting on a gold mine

12 December 2022

  The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) forum estimates there is a global ‘mountain’ of electrical and electronic waste from washing machines to laptop computers and smartphones. The weight of discarded electronic devices could amount to as much as 74million tonnes by 2030. The average UK household is estimated to have about £600 of […]


Is meat no longer murder?

5 December 2022

  The UK’s worst outbreak of avian or bird flu has led to a lockdown of all captive birds in the UK and there is concern that the availability of Christmas turkeys could be under threat. Half of the free-range turkeys produced for Christmas – some 600,000 birds have been culled or died. Bird flu […]


Renewable Energy – I’m a big fan

28 November 2022

  In a last-minute deal, COP27 established a pooled fund for smaller nations most affected by climate change. However, for many countries the last hours of negotiations represented a real step backwards in the fight against rising temperatures. Last year’s decision to ‘phase down’ the use of coal did not progress to the ‘phasing out […]


Alright me old China?

21 November 2022

  Ream Naval Base is a facility operated by the Royal Cambodian Navy on a peninsula along the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. However, Cambodia is believed to have signed a deal with China that will allow the Chinese PLA Navy exclusive access to the base for at least 30-years. China may want to […]


Triple Dip

14 November 2022

The COP27 conference in Egypt has again focused our minds on climate change and extreme weather. It is noticeable that the leaders of the three of the biggest polluters – China, India and Russia, have not attended. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology recently announced that the weather phenomenon La Niña, has formed for the third […]


Robots at your Service

7 November 2022

Robots are being increasingly used in the fields of manufacturing, logistics, medical and defence, but are now starting to gain traction within the customer facing service sector. Big Table Group, which runs the Bella Italia brand has recently trialled robot front of house waiters. Early signs are that ‘BellaBots’ are proving a hit with customers […]


The Beast from the East

31 October 2022

  Could a looming recession in Europe actually be good news? In one respect yes, for gas prices and household energy bills. Gas prices soared in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Europe’s frantic scramble to store gas for winter and to reduce its dependence on Putin’s gas supplies. However, gas prices have […]


A Restless Dragon

24 October 2022

      If Ukraine is the storm, then is China the climate crisis? In a speech to the Chinese Communist Party, President Xi Jinping refused to rule out using force to unify Taiwan with mainland China, but will strive for a peaceful resolution.  Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State suggested China is pursuing reunification with […]


Dear, oh dear

17 October 2022

      When former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng stood up to deliver his mini-budget, little did he realise what mayhem he was about to unleash. The Bank of England (BoE) had to launch emergency support to avert a self-reinforcing sell-off in the long-dated part of the gilt market as pension funds with LDI (Liability Driven […]


Keep the home fires burning

10 October 2022

Log sellers have reported a 60% jump in demand compared to last year, pointing to a significant increase in the use of domestic wood stoves. Not surprisingly, this has been driven by the UK energy crisis, although given that stoves that use solid fuels are not great for air quality, would suggest that for some […]


What a Carry On

3 October 2022

‘Infamy, Infamy they’ve all got it in for me’ The classic line by Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar in ‘Carry on Cleo’, but no doubt how Kwasi Kwarteng is also feeling today. Given their calamitous start, the pressure is building on Kwasi and PM Liz Truss. However, it is not ‘Carry on Kwasi’ as he […]


The Bear and Trident

26 September 2022

Short of friends, President Putin and China’s Xi Jinping recently met in Uzbekistan and while the former lauded the friendship between Russia and China, it is clear that the latter has ‘questions and concerns’ about the situation in Ukraine. While Europe is re-pivoting away from Russian oil and gas and trying to cut energy usage, […]


Chips with everything!

20 September 2022

  The recent, elevated tension in the Strait of Taiwan following Nancy Pelosi’s visit has again highlighted the tension between China and Taiwan.  As a result of the global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which disrupted supply chains, governments and companies have been reviewing where key components are sourced from. Taiwan stands out within […]


Russian Roulette

12 September 2022

Japan has recently announced its intention to re-start some of its nuclear power plants. These were shut down following the Fukushima disaster in 2011 when the earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at the nuclear power plant. The decision to re-start has no doubt been driven by spiralling energy costs as Japan has been a […]


Where do I start?

6 September 2022

  Where do I start? The energy crisis and its impact on UK households has dominated headlines recently, as it has added to the squeeze on consumer spending. An energy crisis risks turning into a national crisis, without urgent and appropriate action from Liz Truss’s new Government. Businesses, investors and consumers have understandably become more […]


Vertical Farming

30 August 2022

Climate change and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have exasperated issues within the food supply chain. Food security has greater importance at a time of rising food price inflation. At the same time, more consumers are aware of the impact of their shopping habits on the planet, while the businesses that supply them look to offer […]


The Battery of Europe

22 August 2022

  Norway generates over 90% its electricity from hydro-electric power stations and as a result is known as the ‘battery of Europe.’ While the UK heatwave has recently made headlines, most of Europe has also experienced record temperatures and more disturbingly drought conditions. Water levels in Norway’s hydro-electric power station reservoirs are a third below […]


Meltdown

16 August 2022

  The recent heatwave has seen many winners, from pubs with outdoor gardens, to ice cream sellers. Businesses selling fans and air-conditioning systems must have had record sales. No doubt it’s the same across Europe. The problem though is generating enough power to keep us all cool. EDF recently shut down the Hinkley Point B […]


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 […]


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 […]


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