Watson’s Weekly 06-04-2024

This is an amalgamation of the “best bits” of the daily weekday newsletter/blog woven together to form a concise and coherent view on the things that matter in the commercial and economic news of the week. 

THE COLOURED HIGHLIGHT REFERS TO THE EDITION WHERE THE STORY APPEARED IN WATSON’S DAILY. Clicking on the day will take you to the appropriate edition of Watson’s Daily.

IN BIG PICTURE NEWS...

This was the week that saw the US and UK sign an agreement on AI safety and Disney’s Iger face down an assault from Nelson Peltz while Julian Dunkerton decided not to buy Superdry after all…

IN ENERGY-RELATED NEWS…

IN COMMODITIES NEWS…

  • Coffee bean prices are reaching record highs as we have a second consecutive year of poor harvests in Asia. It doesn’t like this will improve any time soon either, particularly as coffee consumption is rising strongly across Asia.

IN BUSINESS TRENDS NEWS...

IN BUSINESS TRENDS NEWS…

IN CAR NEWS...

OVERALL…

  • EV demand  continues to wane, according to the latest figures from the SMMT. Sales of petrol and hybrid vehicles are proving to be particularly strong. Any March gains in EV sales were mostly down to fleet buyers – not individual ones.
  • Figures from the AA show that the value of second hand EVs has crashed since the beginning of this year. I would have thought that this will be because of a) the influx of cheap new Chinese EVs coming onto the market, b) early adopters putting their used EVs on the market and c) the rubbish charging network. Is this weakness in EV sales just a blip or is it going to become a trend? I think it could become a trend and that there won’t be a big spike in sales because a) there’s no FOMO, b) until the charging network gets appreciably better it’s just inconvenient (especially for those who do not have off-street charging access) and c) we don’t know yet whether our electricity infrastructure can actually cope with loads of EV owners charging their vehicles!

IN CAR MANUFACTURER NEWS…

IN CONSUMER, RETAIL & LEISURE NEWS...

IN CONSUMER TRENDS NEWS…

IN RETAIL TRENDS…

IN LEISURE NEWS…

  • Revolution Bars is in a lot of trouble as its shares were suspended on AIM following its failure to publish financial results. The company claims to be “actively exploring all the strategic options”. This sounds terminal…

IN M&A NEWS...

IN TECH, MEDIA & TELECOMS NEWS...

IN AI NEWS…

IN TECH HARDWARE NEWS…

IN TECH SOFTWARE NEWS…

  • Microsoft will now sell Teams separately following pressure from the competition regulators. This comes “just” four years after Slack and other rivals complained about it being bundled in with their other productivity software. This is just the latest example of regulator crackdown on Big Tech.

IN MEDIA NEWS…

IN TELECOMS NEWS…

IN REAL ESTATE NEWS...

IN COMMERCIAL PROPERTY NEWS…

IN RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY NEWS…

IN OTHER NEWS...

  • JP Morgan has pivoted into advertising (don’t worry, though – it’s still going to be a bank!) by using its customer data to target the right people. The new division, Chase Media Solutions, will clearly be taking on the might of Google and Meta with this initiative. Will other banks follow a similar course??
  • Alaska Air received a $160m payment from Boeing to make up for lost profits tied to the mid-air door plug blowout in January. Alaska Air said it expects more payments. No doubt Boeing will be paying a lot of compensation in the months and years to come for its quality issues…

BANTER

My favourite video this week was the one with the fancy potatoes! They look great don’t you think?!?