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Spot Markets Live Transcript: 12/09/22

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Today’s Spot Markets live session is with Anjuli Davies, formerly of the Telegraph and Reuters, Davies’ last posting was as Senior City Editor for the Telegraph, moving there from her role as Acting Chief UK Financial Correspondent for Reuters.

Comments addressing audience questions have been put in bold.


Izabella Kaminska 10:58

Hello there….

Welcome back to Spot Markets Live, the real-time markets chat that takes you on a whirlwind tour of the markets.

We’re now beginning to start the serious job of doing this properly.

Thank you to Graham at Coodash for enabling this.

Those reading this in transcript form, if you fancy a login to help us expand the test over the weeks to come please email [email protected].

We are still in Sunday Service mode.. (on a Monday). But hopefully, we can get some traction on the old “if it bleeds it leads” front… and start making this a more regular occurence soon.

I’m very excited to be joined by Anjuli Davies today.

Anjuli, give a quick intro to yourself…

Anjuli Davies 11:01

Good morning. The last time I worked with you Izzy was in 2008 when we were talking about hiding cash under the mattress and stockpiling tinned food. I guess, here we go again…

Izabella Kaminska 11:02

Ha! That is a good point. I hope we’re not some sort of kryptonite combination for the world economy.

Anjuli hails from the Telegraph and Reuters, but also CNBC (where we worked together bringing down the financial system).

Hello rabble.

Anjuli is concerned she’s been out of the market for a while, but I told her there’s nothing like being thrown in at the deep end.

So here we go.

Let’s start with commemorating the Queen.

My daughter was at Legoland this weekend, I can report that even Lego Buckingham Palace flag is flying at half-mast.

But over to markets:

Pound is still being hammered, Yen is weak, Euro is bleurgh and the dollar is boom. Over in markets. Asia markets are up as is Europe. FTSE is up 1.16% at  7,436.65.

Gainers: Mostly all the commodity companies and miners alongside Barclays.

Losers: Imperial Brands, Aveva group, Meggit, Astrazeneca.

Oil $93 per barrel

Anjuli, what caught your eye this morning?

Anjuli Davies1 1:05

The biggest faller on the FTSE 250 is Aston Martin – heavily discounted rights issue might see it kicked out of the index

It’s down nearly 75% in the last year

Izabella Kaminska 11:06

Yikes.

Serco shares also falling today after CEO Rupert Soames announced his retirement with the quip “it’s time to outsource myself”. Aren’t outsourcing jokes the best…

Izabella Kaminska 11:06

That’s actually quite funny.

Izabella Kaminska11:08

Aston Martin — is it a barometer of general UK industrial demise?

Anjuli Davies 11:09

People are no longer buying James Bond’s preferred car

Izabella Kaminska 11:09

But the Cold War is back?!

I guess it has to compete with Tesla. I know nothing really about cars. But I do have a handy chart about energy costs and how they are currently feeding through to car owners.

Hat tip to John C from the Blind Spot Discord chat for having whipped up this chart showing how the UK Tesla owners will feel the energy crisis:

That’s with and without the price cap.

We had been at the interchangeable point, where it was looking pretty bad owning an electric car.

(But looks like the Lizz Truss cap is going to significantly help electric stay in the affordability game. )

Anjuli Davies 11:11

Interesting take from The Times….Apparently, Elon Musk should buy Glencore not Twitter

Izabella Kaminska 11:11

is that because of the lithium?

Anjuli Davies 11:12

Apparently, General Motors and Ford have been doing cleverer deals to buy rare earth minerals directly.

Izabella Kaminska 11:12

Yes, well they don’t have a flamboyant CEO with a rep to protect on social media

Speaking of Tesla, I have a bit of a micro scoopette on that. But I can only give hints at this point. It’s related to a GDPR issue.

If I was to tell you that your Tesla car app isn’t as secure as you think it is, would it surprise you?

But █████████.

The idea of self-driving cars being tracked and hacked though is quite alarming.

Anjuli Davies 11:14

My friend tested out her automatic park assist on her new electric vehicle yesterday, and let’s just say it didn’t work…

And when she called for assistance they didn’t know how it worked either.

Izabella Kaminska 11:14

Yes, well Alphaville as a whole was very sceptical about the reality of Tesla vs the hype.

One of the issues is the poor customer service, especially if you are in any shape or form looking to work with a third-party garage or reseller.

Full disclosure: I know this because my brother happens to be a second-hand car salesman specialising in electric cars.

11:16 @venkat – I’ve not looked at EU Carbon recently, but you’re right it’s worth checking in on. Will give you a full report next week.

Whilst we are on the topic of mobility, let’s revisit the plan to save Europe’s winter.

The EU and UK revealed their energy savings plans last week. They’re a bit mad in my opinion.

I did a podcast with Craig Pirrong about it.

The best bit about Ursula Von Der Leyen’s EU plan is the use of the “flatten the curve” terminology again.

As someone who has always loved a bit of a commodity curve, this feels a bit bitter-sweet.

I’ve been super critical about the policy. But…. I have to admit, if it’s the question of just getting through one winter, perhaps they could work.

Because… everything about Ukraine has suddenly changed over the weekend.

 I never thought this would happen, but the major success the Ukrainians have had in the last couple of days has really changed the geopolitical picture. It seems very meaningful.

don’t you think Anjuli?

Anjuli Davies 11:20

Unless Putin goes nuclear …

Izabella Kaminska 11:20

Yes that’s the concern

Anjuli Davies 11:20

His retaliation in Kharkiv was pretty brutal

Targeting civilians

What else will he do

Izabella Kaminska 11:21

That’s true. And it looks like there has already been some retaliation focused on the energy grid.

Anjuli Davies 11:21

There was a blackout.

Izabella Kaminska 11:21

These ongoing concerns about escalated retaliation are fair, but the mood has in my opinion suddenly really changed

Even Lukashenko is walking back some of his positions.

Anjuli Davies 11:22

Apparently, a lot of the Russian Telegram channels are open and interesting to listen into…

11:24

Izabella Kaminska 11:24

And the chat on the Russian Tv shows is really getting divisive.

I mean this could all be propaganda but there’s just too much evidence of morale being broken on the Russian side now.

Anjuli Davies 11:25

@David wouldn’t want to work at Lukoil right now

Izabella Kaminska 11:25

Everyone should watch this

The mood has changed so much in fact, the NAFO memes are even getting funny

That’s currently my favourite one.

Anjuli Davies 11:28

There is also a video going around of Ukrainian soldiers using a Russian flag as a doormat and wiping their feet all over it. I have a Ukrainian refugee staying with me and I can tell you she hates Russia.

Izabella Kaminska 11:29

Understandable. Tho this does now introduce “Peace Risk”. I personally feel optimistic for the first time in ages.

Anjuli Davies 11:29

Is that an oxymoron?

Izabella Kaminska 11:29

I was hoping NATO had a secret deception Columbo plan all along but was continuously disappointed by the quagmire – but today for the first time I think, maybe they really genuinely had been saving the big guns for September with a view to deploying the Charlie Wilson strategy of bogging down Russia over the summer, bleeding it dry and then turning everything around just before the Winter.

11:30 Yeah the logic of peace risk comes to me from a former colleague who was telling me yesterday that while the counter-offensive success is geopolitical-good news, it leaves energy companies in a Brexit style limbo. Because they don’t know whether to keep investing in the expensive workaround routes or/and alts or to keep put because negotiations will ease sanctions.

it’s a question of how markets have been pricing in the potential suspension of sanctions before winter.

Not everyone is convinced…

I’m not a military strategist but the timing seems significant – and if Russia is forced to pull back before winter – there may genuinely be significant peace risk on the cards.

(Which, of course, is better than war risk. So yay.)

Let’s move on from war stuff…


Anjuli Davies 11:33

Back to that little island called Britain. Most of the Sundays went big on the economic impact of the Queen’s funeral bank holiday. So economists reckon the bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral will lower output by at least £2 billion. Apparently, Princess Diana’s funeral triggered a flurry of profit warnings as people reined in spending.

Just what we all needed

Izabella Kaminska 11:33

That’s really interesting about Diana! Had no idea.

Anjuli Davies 11:34

Although I wonder about sales of black clothes?

Izabella Kaminska11:34

ha good point

The BBC apparently all had black clothes in reserve

There is a side hustle now in Royal Mint commemorative coins though.

 I declare an interest, as I did buy a 95th birthday coin last year as an alt investment for my daughter.

Anjuli Davies 11:34

Stamps. That’s where the money is. Did you see how much of her fortune is based on her stamp collection?! £100 MILLION APPARENTLY

Izabella Kaminska 11:34

Wow. No i did not.

I have some good ones from WW2. With Hitler’s face. (Direct hand-me-downs from family, not acquired via the underground market for Nazis goods I should point out! I think that stuff is regulated these days.)

I have an exclusive illustration for the Blind Spot.

 I just signed up for Mid Journey, the AI that generates graphics on command. So here’s what it’s come up for “Winter is coming without the Queen”.

Anjuli Davies 11:36

That’s chilling.

The latest casualty of the energy crisis according to Bloomberg is the Aga. The 24/7 energy guzzling oven…apparently families are ripping them out of their homes…

Izabella Kaminska 11:37

They are a middle-class staple.

Anjuli Davies 11:37

From Bloomberg:

Jack O’Dwyer, a Blackpool-based oven remover, has taken out 35 Agas this year and received at least 100 phone calls from people across the country looking to sell. Others are seeking to have them removed for free as they can’t afford the roughly £500 ($579) charge to remove them.

O’Dwyer says he won’t buy Agas from their owners as he isn’t confident he could find a buyer. One recent client was paying £10 a day to run her brand new electric Aga and had it removed after just six months, he says.

£70 a week for an oven!

More expensive than a pool

Izabella Kaminska 11:37

Jeez. How do you recycle an Aga?!

There’s apparently been a run on chimney sweeps as well. And you can’t get wood in Europe, and people are apparently starting to chop their own trees.

11:40 Back in finance stuff though…


Two other interesting stories

There’s a lot of fallout from this Bain & Co corruption accusation …

Both the Times and the Guardian are on it

They are urging the BBC to drop pre-existing contracts based on the consulting company’s activities in South Africa.

Here’s a bit of context from the guardian

The Zondo commission concluded in January that there had been “collusion” between the consultancy and the former South African president Jacob Zuma to reshape entire sectors of the economy.

The commission found that between 2012 and 2015, Bain helped draw up plans to “seize and restructure” the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and centralise procurement procedures – changes that the report said would facilitate corruption.”

Echoes of ███████████? Not sure — possibly a comment only for inside the trust circle.

(I had fun redacting stuff last week for the public transcript)

11:44 Also that Serco news seems part of the bigger picture. And it will be interesting to see how the new Liz Truss political order deals with all this stuff.

I’m personally still getting familiar with the new cabinet.

Anjuli Davies 11:45

Well, apparently the City is back in favour…for the first time since this Tory government came into power. The first time since Gordon Brown …

Lobbyists across the City scrambling for meetings. They’ve all beefed up their government relations time since the epoch of Brexit, when they all moaned they couldn’t get a hearing.

Izabella Kaminska 11:46

It is funny how the Tories ended up being more corbynite than the corbynists in the end under Johnson.

Anjuli Davies 11:46

It was almost anathema back then for a politician to meet a banker

Izabella Kaminska 11:46

yes.

Apparently, Liz has stacked her office with IEA economic advisors

Anjuli Davies 11:47

Kwasi Kwarteng seems like an interesting character….an erstwhile Telegraph columnist no less

Izabella Kaminska 11:47

Richard Murphy over at the Tax Justice Network is a bit hot under the collar about the IEA appointments.

 He has a long Twitter thread framing this as a right-wing free-market conspiracy to privatise the NHS among other things.

Anjuli Davies 11:48

I thought we were heralding an era of financial repression?

Izabella Kaminska 11:48

Yes, exactly. I’m very confused.

Have you seen the story about Liz’s favourite necklace?

Anjuli Davies 11:49

No, but intrigued

Anjuli Davies 11:49

Apparently the Queen used to send signals to her courtiers with her handbags

Izabella Kaminska11:50

There’s no such thing as a gentle first week at 10 Downing Street. Prime Minister Liz Truss’s schedule hardly allows for careful deliberation over her choice of accessories, so it’s no wonder that she’s continued to reach for the “Circle of Truss” – her faithful gold circle necklace, a piece of jewellery that’s been her constant companion all the way along her rocky road to the top.

So the joke is, that it’s some sort of handler thing.

Because she never takes it off, and it is indicative of a submissive symbol or something.

One ring to rule them all

Anyway, the cabinet appointments are definitely interesting. Rees-mogg as Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy — someone pointed out this is not optimal for climate stuff as he’s a bit of a “doubter.”

Who else?

Know much about the new chancellor?

Anjuli Davies 11:52

I’ve actually had tea with Rees-Mogg in the houses of parliament

Izabella Kaminska 11:52

Ooh that must be memorable!

Anjuli Davies 11:52

To say the least

Izabella Kaminska 11:52

Did he call you a pleb

Anjuli Davies 11:52

Surprisingly genteel

Izabella Kaminska 11:52

So he was nice?

Anjuli Davies 11:53

I hate to admit that he was

Izabella Kaminska 11:53

The Therese Coffey as Health Secretary and Dep PM appointment has had a lot of criticism because Ms. Coffey is not exactly a slim jim.

Anjuli Davies 11:54

Call in Joe Wicks

Izabella Kaminska 11:54

But I think this could possibly be a genius appointment, if in the next three months Ms Coffey goes on a health drive with Joe Wicks, loses loads of weight, and becomes an inspiration for the nation.

What do you think?

Anjuli Davies 11:54

I’d watch that

Izabella Kaminska 11:55

Cigars, eh? Well very Churchillian that’s for sure.

The big question about Truss is whether she’s on a collision course with the Bank of England.

Anjuli Davies 11:56

Truss is targeting a bonfire of regulation isn’t she ?

Izabella Kaminska11:56

Yes – the big bang part 2

it will be interesting to see how that fares. Speaking of which the Barclays story is quite interesting.

On a bit of a relief rally on the back of this Telegraph story:

“Barclays is facing a £54m High Court claim from the National Crime Agency (NCA), known as Britain’s FBI, after the bank discovered it was harbouring the assets of alleged criminals.

The NCA has launched proceedings to recover the cash held in two Barclays accounts as it believes the money was acquired through fraud or money laundering, court documents show.”

This is not quite Wirecard-level stuff. Barclays seems to have operated quite responsibly:

“It added that the account holders could not be named for legal reasons. Barclays has been listed in the case as a third party rather than a defendant, meaning it is not being accused of any illicit activity. After discovering the suspect activity, Barclays ring fenced the money and the alleged criminals did not access any of it after it was lodged, the Telegraph understands. A hearing for the case is set to take place in November.”

On the Barclays thing, I have a related but not related story about the time I met with a senior person from the national crime agency at a conference.

The interesting thing they told me, which I am yet to corroborate anywhere else, is that the feds (well the British feds) now insist that ███████████share their █████ with them.

(Again this might have to be redacted for public consumption)

The logic here is that if there is a suspected case of ██████████████████████

They are required to do their own investigation and analysis of the data.

But they realised a few years back they had a problem.

A)█████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████

B)██████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████

But by ███████████ they can work a little faster. They can immediately corroborate that the ███████████ from the ███████████is not falsified and can be trusted.

However, there are large implications here for privacy. Most people would probably be alarmed to hear the ████████ have a backdoor de facto to ███████████.

12:03 @david – I’m just the messenger. This was someone very senior tho that told me that, and it wasn’t necessarily universal. They were basically doing deals on an individual basis


Anjuli, how painful was that for a first go?

Anjuli Davies 12:04

Smooth sailing

is that a wrap?

Izabella Kaminska 12:04

Cool. Well, it’s 12, so we should start wrapping up. Any anecdotes from ye old days we can share?

Just before we go?

Anjuli Davies 12:05

No, but talking of the NCA brought back memories of sitting in on trials with the SFO

Izabella Kaminska 12:05

Ah, did you have to go to the courtroom?

Anjuli Davies 12:05

Reading out transcripts on libor conversations…lost a few years of my life

Izabella Kaminska 12:06

Yikes. Well, we should probably one day look at libor because the transition is here and with the mass paradigm shift in interest rates, the legacy libor contracts that are still around will be increasingly contested, I would imagine.

But who knows?

12:07 Also before we go, we didn’t really touch crypto today, but as I am sure everyone who follows this space knows the Ether merge is coming. But the hardcore crypto people are a bit concerned the whole thing is now a joke, because of the OFAC action on Tornado cash, which means there’s really very little differentiation between crypto and core finance.

I didn’t realise until someone told me yesterday that it’s all about software being treated as something illegal now, not just people or companies.

Something to watch.

On that note ciao from me!

Anjuli Davies 12:08

adios


 

12:04 JC: Thanks both!
12:04 JC: Anyway.
12:04 JC: The political tactic of trying really hard to get arrested so you can complain about being arrested is something I find really irritating.
12:03 JC: Just, speaking of policing.
12:03 JC: There’s a man making a spectacle of himself on Twitter having been arrested briefly at the civic proclamation of the new monarch in Oxford. He claims he was arrested for shouting “who elected him?”. I’ll say I was there and he was disruptive for a while first not one shout.
12:03 D: The only way they would be able to access the info would be via the █████ dept within the back – i.e. collaboration
12:02 D: I really struggle to believe any of that – █████ systems are horrendously complex and arcane and every █████ is different
11:57 RF: Probably need to purge the PRA.
11:55 DGG: Coffee’s passion for chomping cigars is a thing to watch for too
11:55 D: I think you’re more likely to see her smoking a cigar
11:50 RF: Is that the one ring
11:47 RF: Looks like the Truss govt will have to fight the regulators tooth and nail
11:47 D: There was an interesting article in the Times on how Truss is going to run gov – actually giving civil servants the control
11:41 RF: In that vein https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/11/germans-switch-to-costly-fan-heaters-as-gas-shortage-fears-bite.html
11:30 LP: If you click the three dots to the right of each comment you can open the links
11:29 RF: Always a good summary ….https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-september-11
11:28 JC: I like this one https://twitter.com/TetySt/status/1569004483308314629
11:25 JC: Still really jarring that they always talk about the Nazi Regime in Kyiv. I know when Russo-Soviets say Nazi they don’t mean what we mean by Nazi but it’s still a weird thing to call a Lib Dem Jew.
11:24 D: There is open dissent now coming from across RU – its a brave person who puts their head over the trench – Putins cronies have strong arms – quite a few people falling from windows
11:20 RF: Not sure UKR situation will improve fast enough to get the gas back on for winter …..suppose there has to be a chance to
11:15 VR: Any comment on EU carbon pricing?
11:15 JC: Oh! Pun for the week. Tesla = WireCar.
11:10 JC: Hello 🙂
11:10 RF: Aston …..never enough volume
11:05 RF: Gas falling too
11:02 CP: Hi everyone
11:00 LP: Good Morning
10:59 RF: Morning 🙂
10:59 GH: Hello 🙂
10:57 JC: Rabblerabble

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