Watson’s Weekly 12-07-2019

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 DAY IN BRACKETS 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.


  • Deutsche Bank announced massive staff cuts (Monday) and siphoned off riskier assets to a “bad bank” in an effort to appease criticism that it hasn’t been doing enough to address its problems. Investors didn’t seem to be convinced initially (Tuesday), but the bank reiterated its intention to stay in London and move into a newer, smaller HQ. This move has bought chief exec Christian Sewing some time, but Deutsche isn’t out of the woods yet
  • Funnily enough, banks aren’t keen on Facebook’s Libra (Tuesday) while Trump and Fed chief Jerome Powell also expressed their unease with the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency this week. I say “funnily enough” because they are working away on their own cryptocurrencies and neither governments nor central bankers want to support something over which they will have no control!


  • Car sales in China continue to get weaker (Thursday) as consumers keep their collective hands in their pockets given the economic uncertainty on US-China trade while India sees weaker car sales (Thursday) due to a crackdown on non-bank lending (which had made up the lion’s share of vehicle financing) meaning that financing has been much harder to come by, which has led to weaker sales
  • SUVs are taking longer to sell these days, it seems (Monday), as there are more of them knocking around. Car makers love SUVs because of the superior profit margins but if there are more of them, margins could shrink and any advantage of profitability would be nullified – taking makers back to square one
  • BMW decided to pull some engine manufacturing away from the UK (Wednesday) due to Brexit uncertainty in yet another blow to the UK car industry
  • Energy suppliers Centrica and SSE have said that they will convert their entire fleet of commercial vehicles to electric by 2030 (Monday), which would be a great boon to the electric vehicle industry. If more companies make similar pledges this could be great for alternative-fueled cars, put more pressure on the powers-that-be to improve the charging network more rapidly and make ownership that much more compelling


  • Nintendo had a good week as investors reacted positively to the unveiling of a Switch Lite (Friday), a cheaper version of their popular console, in addition to the announcement that it was moving some Switch production to Vietnam (Wednesday) in a bid to diversify its production away from an over-reliance on China – especially given the current US-China trade tensions
  • So it sounds like Facebook is on the look-out for gaming acquisitions (Friday) in order to boost the development of virtual reality and its Oculus goggles
  • Amazon appears to making attempts to future-proof its staff by upskilling them (Friday), in an admission that processes will continue to get automated. I think that this is a genius move because, to the outside world, it looks like Amazon is being a benevolent employer. In reality, I think that there will always be people who don’t want to upskill – and they will leave the company for jobs elsewhere. Those that are left and do pick up the skills will be highly motivated and capable, I would imagine – so it’s quite a cunning way of weeding out people that could have been in line for the chop anyway


  • British Airways was slapped with a massive fine (Tuesday) for a customer data breach last year which resulted in the details of 500,000 customers being accessed by hackers. The fine was larger than everyone had been expecting and BA will appeal
  • Google Belgian public broadcaster VRT NWS said in a report this week that Google employs contractors around the world to listen into recordings of people’s conversations with Google Assistant (Friday) which could result in uproar on privacy but Apple has had to suspend the Walkie-talkie function on its Watch (Friday) because there have been reports of a glitch which can let someone listen in to someone else’s iPhone conversation without consent. Neither of these stories will be disastrous IMHO, but they are certainly not good PR


My favourite “alternative” news story was undoubtedly Mariah Carey hilariously masters the bottle cap challenge using just her voice (Yahoo! Rachel DeSantis https://tinyurl.com/y48njgjw). What a legend!