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August 31, 2017

Worry is the new normal

With Donald Trump in the White House, it’s unlikely that a week will pass without generating some new anxiety for investors. On top of the fears of armed conflict (even nuclear war) with North Korea, we have the possibility of a US trade war with China, and a potential close-down of the US government if Congress refuses to approve the Mexico border wall. By next week there may be more […]
April 18, 2017

Election: fever or fog?

Mrs May’s decision to call a General Election on June 8 had little immediate impact on financial markets.  Nor is it likely to cause any major wobbles over the next few weeks since the polls show a high likelihood of an increased parliamentary majority for the Conservatives. More interesting questions will arise during the course of the campaign. If, as expected, Labour plays its socialist cards well – the NHS, […]
March 17, 2017

The Great British Budget blunder

Philip Hammond’s U-turn on a proposed rise in National Insurance contributions for the self-employed is one of the biggest blunders ever by a Chancellor of the Exchequer. He promised to add £2 billion to government funding for crisis-hit social care, and thought he could get away with an NI rise to cover part of that cost because his predecessor George Osborne had said that a promise in the Conservative election […]
March 9, 2017

‘Soak the rich’ surprise from Spreadsheet Phil

Budgets are usually much more political than economic. Chancellor Philip Hammond – referred to in Westminster as ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ – is generally seen as a dullish ‘safe pair of hands’ type of chap. But it seems his political antennae are on the blink. He is getting it in the neck not just from the left-leaning media but from from the Tory press (especially the Daily Telegraph) and his own Conservative […]
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