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 WAS A WEEK OF INTEREST RATES, OIL DRAMA AND CHANGE...
- US interest rates were cut (Thursday) by 0.25% to a 1.75-2% range to the annoyance of president Trump who wanted a deeper cut to make him look good while the Bank of England kept interest rates unchanged (Friday) as the Bank presumably wants to keep its powder dry ahead of the unknown aftermath of Brexit
- Things seem to be getting trickier in Asia as China saw its slowest industrial growth rate for over 17 years (Tuesday) as tariff wars continue to bite and Japan saw a fall in exports for the ninth month in a row (Thursday) as exports to China, Japan’s biggest trade partner, fell by 12.1% while shipments to the US fell by 4.4%. Exports to South Korea – where trading relations have been getting very frosty of late – fell by 9.4%. Particularly weak categories included automobiles, machinery and other manufactured goods
- Meanwhile, in Europe, there was renewed hope that a Brexit deal might be reached (Friday), Spain faces its fourth election in four years (Wednesday) and the Dutch government rolled out stimulus measures (Wednesday) via tax cuts and an investment boost in an effort to avert economic slowdown
- The oil price had dramatic week after a weekend drone attack hit Saudi Arabia’s production facilities (Monday), oil prices shot up (Tuesday) and then calmed down (Wednesday) on hopes that Saudi Arabia’s oil production could recover more quickly from the weekend’s drone attacks than had originally been thought
TECH COMPANIES MADE SOME INTERESTING ANNOUNCEMENTS THIS WEEK...
- Facebook kicked the week off with talks with officials from 26 central banks regarding its Libra cryptocurrency (Monday) and then announced Portal TV (Thursday), a voice-controlled “smart video chat” device that connects to TVs which will cost $149 as part of its efforts to push into consumer hardware
- Amazon announced a new high-definition music streaming service (Wednesday) as it hopes that quality rather than quantity will be the next frontier in streaming and then followed this up with a massive order of electric delivery vehicles (Friday) as part of its pledge to reduce carbon emissions
CONSUMER GOODS AND RETAILERS SAW SOME MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS AS WELL...
- It was another nightmare week for e-cigarette makers as India decided to ban them (Friday) while China mysteriously stopped the sale of Juul’s products (Wednesday). In practical terms, you would have thought that this would result in a rise in “traditional” smoking, which may even be more of a benefit to tobacco companies as that’s where they make the bulk of their money anyway! They may well have to rein in their ambitions of a “tobacco-free future” in the meantime, though, as reports of potentially e-cigarette related lung illnesses seem to be on the rise
- In retailers, Aldi announced plans to double its store numbers in London (Tuesday), River Island plans to open more outlets despite unveiling falling profits and revenues (Thursday), Next announced disappointing sales of its new autumn clothing ranges (Friday), blaming recent warm weather and French Connection extended its deadline for buying a new buyer for the apparel retailer (Wednesday) amid continued trading weakness and the second delay of its strategic review that was originally supposed to complete at the beginning of this year
...AND UNICORNS CONTINUED TO FEATURE IN THE HEADLINES...
- WeWork decided to cancel its flotation (Tuesday) as investors got tired of the hype and the prospect of supporting another massive founder ego but Airbnb announced its intentions to float next year (Friday) and fintech start-up Stripe continued to boost its valuation (Friday) in its latest funding round
Here is the story that made me laugh the most this week: Man fuming as wife’s sandwich has ‘b!tch’ written on it – then discovers meaning (The Mirror, Courtney Pochin https://tinyurl.com/y2bw5ywz). You just don’t see the punchline coming!
I hope you have an enjoyable weekend!