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.
THIS WEEK SAW SOME BIG DEVELOPMENTS IN EUROPE AS WELL AS US-CHINA RELATIONS...
- In the UK: It all kicked off with Theresa May canning the Commons vote on Brexit (Tuesday), then she survived a vote of no confidence, following which she jetted off to Europe to see whether she could get a better deal (unlikely)
- In France: France’s central bank cut growth forecasts (Tuesday) to take into account the impact of the gilets jaunes protests and President Macron pledged tax cuts and a rise in the minimum wage (Tuesday) to placate his critics
- In Italy: the government made conciliatory noises about altering its budget plans (Thursday) in order to coincide with EU guidelines, but the proposals are short on detail and don’t go far enough (Friday)
- Re US-China trade talks: China seemed to show goodwill by cutting import taxes on American vehicles (Wednesday) and the market reacted positively (Thursday)
THERE WAS A LOT OF NEWS ON THE RETAIL ENVIRONMENT AND THE CONSUMER...
- Footfall at UK retailers is expected to drop this Christmas period (Monday) and the grocery market is slowing down (Wednesday). Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley painted a very stark picture of the current retail environment (Friday) and this seems to be having a negative impact on retail property values generally (Wednesday). On the other hand, wages rose by their fastest pace in a decade (Wednesday)
- In terms of the retailers themselves, Superdry’s profit warning put more pressure on management (Thursday) as co-founder Julian Dunkerton makes no bones about wanting to return to sort the mess out. Pizza Express got downgraded by Moody’s (Monday) but then, on the other hand, tenpin bowling chain Hollywood Bowl unveiled strong figures (Monday), showing that consumers are still spending money out there somewhere!
THERE WERE SOME INTERESTING DEVELOPMENTS FOR CARS...
- Hyundai committed to fuel cell cars (Wednesday)
- China car sales had their steepest monthly fall in 6 years (Wednesday). China is the world’s biggest car market and the fact that it is heading for its first annual decline in sales for 30 years is potentially a worrying sign
- The EU reversed a decision that relaxed diesel emissions two years ago (Friday), which means that car manufacturers will face more onerous requirements to produce cleaner vehicles. More potential expense following compliance with WLTP
I must be going soft, but here was my favourite story of the week: Irish dancing baby could give Michael Flatley a run for his money (The Mirror, Lisa Trainer https://tinyurl.com/y7fds5nx).
Have a great weekend!