- China announces $75bn in tariffs to arrive in two batches over coming months
- Announcement sends shockwave through markets, knocking down stock prices and rattling commodities
- Fed chairman Jerome Powell’s uses Jackson Hole speech to strike balanced stance
- Donald Trump vows to respond today
- Central bankers try to avert a new slump at Wyoming pow-wow
Well, that was quite a day...
From Powell to China tariffs to Trump to Carney... it's been quite a day!
Join us again next week - Louis will be with you all bright and early.
Have a good bank holiday weekend (in the sun can you believe!) - LaToya
More on Carney...
Mr Carney said in his speech that interest rates could still rise if the Monetary Policy Committee needed to rein in inflation.
Although monetary policy would likely be loosened in a no-deal Brexit to support the economy, the Governor said that there are “limits” to the Bank’s tolerance of high inflation.
Powell’s speech echoes the July FOMC statement
Economists note that Mr Powell is using language that previously indicated stimulus from the Fed.
Capital Economics economist Paul Ashworth says Mr Powell has bowed to the bond market, adding that his speech opens the door to a cut in interest rates in September.
“Powell’s speech echoes the July FOMC statement in pledging to “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion”, he added.
Powell isn't the only one hinting at further rate cuts
Mark Carney's speech is taking place now at Jackson Hole.
Mr Carney echoed the Fed chief’s warning of rising threats, calling weaker global growth and Brexit “two large, volatile forces” that could hit the UK economy.
The Governor of the Bank of England said the “coming months could be decisive” for Brexit and reiterated that interest rates are likely to be reduced in a no-deal scenario.
Trump is tweeting again!
The Dow is down 573 points perhaps on the news that Representative Seth Moulton, whoever that may be, has dropped out of the 2020 Presidential Race!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
Gold and Bitcoin get in on the action...
Gold and Bitcoin jump after another escalation in US-China trade dispute. pic.twitter.com/nt8q8tzS4A— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) August 23, 2019
All 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 are in negative territory, with tech, energy, consumer discretionary, industrials and communications services all down 2pc or more.
Shares of Apple Inc, which has significant exposure to the Chinese market, sank as much as 4.5pc during the day.
Mark Carney in Jackson Hole
We've got just over 40 minutes to go until the Governor of the Bank of England gives his speech in Wyoming...
Hot to trot: Entertainment One analysis
Looking back at stocks in Europe today, the FTSE 250 was a rare bright spot across all of Europe’s stock markets, closing up 30.81 points at 19,236.13. The middleweight group was pulled up sharply by Peppa Pig-owner Entertainment One, which rose 141.6p to 585p after a takeover offer from US toy giant Hasbro.
That rise made up most of the lift, but a handful of companies seen as vulnerable to Brexit also managed to hold gains, in a relief rally following Boris Johnson’s visit to Europe for meetings with German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron.
My colleague Michael O'Dwyer's analysis on Entertainment one can be read here.
Oil dragged lower
Oil has not taken the news well either. Brent Crude fell nearly 4pc earlier in the day to a two-week low but has recovered slightly and is now 2.37pc down at $58.58 a barrel.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures slumped as much as 3.7pc to $53.32 a barrel, the lowest since August 9.
The sell-off continues...
Wall Street is still firmly in the red with the Dow dipping as low as 2pc at one point on latest Trump threats against China.
Just to recap...
- China announced $75bn in tariffs to arrive in two batches over coming months
- Donald Trump then lashed out at Beijing, vowing a quick response to China's plans for new tariffs
- He also ordered US companies to “immediately start looking for an alternative to China”.
Trump took to Twitter and said:
"We don't need China and, frankly, would be far... better off without them. I will be responding to China's Tariffs this afternoon. This is a GREAT opportunity for the United States."
Golden visa applications from Hong Kong double
The number of applicants for a UK “golden visa” from Hong Kong citizens has surged amid protests over the extradition bill that have brought the territory to a standstill.
Hong Kong made up the second-highest proportion of applicants for a Tier 1 investor visa in the second quarter of this year - a tenth of all applications.
The figure has almost doubled since the first three months of the year, going from 7 to 13 applicants, and is the highest level in five years.
BA pilots to strike for three days in September
British Airways pilots that confirmed that they will strike for three days in September in a dispute over pay.
The strikes on September 9, 10 and 27 were announced by the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), which said there had been a 93pc vote in favour of industrial action.
The move will affected thousands of travellers.
"We will be offering refunds and re-bookings for passengers booked on cancelled flights," BA said.
US stocks fall further
Wall Street is deep in the red after Donald Trump's comment spooked investors. Trade war concerns are back with a vengeance.
The Dow Jones is 1.72pc lower, trading at 25,800.63 points, while the S&P 500 has falledn 1.87pc to 2,868.17.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq is now 2.2pc down at 7,815.90.
Jackson Hole economic symposium agenda...
Remember, if you would like to keep up-to-date with the Jackson Hole agenda you can find out more here.
EU mulls €100bn fund to take on Silicon Valley and China's tech titans
The EU is mulling a €100bn sovereign wealth fund in a bid to create “European champions” that can take on Silicon Valley and China’s tech giants.
Plans put forward by EU officials warned of the “unprecedented financial means” available to companies outside Europe such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba and Tencent.
A “European Future Fund” is part of a list of proposals by officials in Brussels that could become policies under Ursula von der Leyen, the next European Commission president.
Afternoon all! I'll be taking you into the evening as we await Donald Trump's announcement this afternoon and Mark Carney's speech from Jackson Hole.
Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said that the Federal Reserve will use its room for maneuver to "ease again next month, but the data don't justify aggressive rate cuts".
"Fed Chair Powell is rather more diplomatic in his language than the president - a low bar, admittedly - but it is clear from his speech that the single biggest factor driving both market volatility, the actual global slowdown, and fears of a U.S. slowdown, is trade policy, both its current stance and uncertainty about the future.
"In other words, the Fed has room to move, but it cannot treat every ratcheting up of the trade war as reason to keep cutting rates without regard to the medium-term inflation picture."
Snap wrap: Markets shaken as Trump vows response to Chinese counter-tariffs
Stock markets were roiled across the US and Europe on Friday afternoon after Donald Trump vowed a response against Chinese plans to slap tariffs on $75bn in US goods.
The President made the promise during a lengthy Twitter tirade, in which he accused Chinese firms of stealing intellectual property, and called on US companies to “immediately start looking for an alternative to China”.
Beijing rattled markets earlier today by announcing the tariff escalation, which the editor of the state-owned Global Times paper said meant “The US side will feel the pain”. It revealed plans to introduce tariffs in two waves, with the first at the start of September, and the second in mid December.
The escalation came in response to plans from Washington to put tariffs on an extra $300bn of Chinese goods over the coming months.
Market nerves were placated briefly by Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole economic summit, but nerves turned into an all-out retreat after Mr Trump’s tweets, sending investors rushing to safe havens.
It looks like things are going to bubble on into the evening, with all eyes on what Donald Trump has planned next. I’m handing over to my colleague LaToya Harding, who will take things from here. I’ll be back on Monday. Thanks for reading — Louis
US stock markets plunge on Trump warning
Mr Trump’s comments appear to have spooked investors, with Wall Street dropping sharply. The benchmark S&P 500 and Dow are off more than 1pc, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq has lost a pretty painful 1.7pc.
Trump: Response coming ‘this afternoon’
The Commander-in-Chief is throwing a bit of a tantrum in reaction to Mr Powell and the Federal Reserve, but it looks like we might get something a bit more solid later this afternoon. A reminder that last time Mr Trump felt let down by the Fed, he introduced those planned tariffs on $300bn of Chinese goods...
....your companies HOME and making your products in the USA. I will be responding to China’s Tariffs this afternoon. This is a GREAT opportunity for the United States. Also, I am ordering all carriers, including Fed Ex, Amazon, UPS and the Post Office, to SEARCH FOR & REFUSE,....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
....all deliveries of Fentanyl from China (or anywhere else!). Fentanyl kills 100,000 Americans a year. President Xi said this would stop - it didn’t. Our Economy, because of our gains in the last 2 1/2 years, is MUCH larger than that of China. We will keep it that way!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
So what has Trump got planned?
Amid the spectacle of the US President suggesting the Federal Reserve chair is the enemy of the American people, it’s worth noting that Donald Trump promised something is coming that “will be announced shortly”. It’s enough to rattle the dollar...
Euro jumps >$1.11 as Trump foreshadows something "which will be announced shortly" in angry tweet on Powell. pic.twitter.com/hH0J6NWqY5— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) August 23, 2019
Trump: Fed does ‘nothing’
Donald Trump has criticised Jerome Powell, as might have been expected given the Fed chair’s continued refusal to endorse the deep and extended easing the President is after...
....My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
NB: Trump deleted then re-posted these two tweets, so I have refreshed the embed code.
Stock markets calm as Powell strikes a balance
It looks like Mr Powell has done enough to sooth equity markets. Here’s how things stand...
Some reaction from Twitter...
Bit of damp squib from Powell as he seems to be trying to placate both sides in the wake of the China tariffs. Muted market reaction with yields falling to daily lows and some weakness in USD. Stocks and precious metals little changed— David Cheetham (@DavidCheetham3) August 23, 2019
Powell's Jackson Hole speech offers something for hawks & doves. Says inflation seems to be moving closer to 2%. Says econ in favorable place but refers to risks. Says Fed will act to sustain expansion. Doesn't use phrase mid-cycle adjustment. Dollar unch. https://t.co/XDIl9SUw5npic.twitter.com/0ka2mcwg7x— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) August 23, 2019
a wonderful example of talking without saying anything. https://t.co/KZ5b8U6G2X— David Madden (@dmadden_CMC) August 23, 2019
Powell acknowledges impact of past three weeks
It could have been a calmer summer since we last heard from Jerome Powell. The Fed chair said in his speech:
Turning to the current context, we are carefully watching developments as we assess their implications for the US outlook and the path of monetary policy. The three weeks since our July FOMC meeting have been eventful, beginning with the announcement of new tariffs on imports from China. We have seen further evidence of a global slowdown, notably in Germany and China. Geopolitical events have been much in the news, including the growing possibility of a hard Brexit, rising tensions in Hong Kong, and the dissolution of the Italian government. Financial markets have reacted strongly to this complex, turbulent picture. Equity markets have been volatile. Long-term bond rates around the world have moved down sharply to near post-crisis lows.
You can read the full text here.
Powell: There are ‘no recent precedents to guide any policy response to the current situation’
Mr Powell has addressed the complex situation being faced by the Federal Reserve, saying the US central bank needs to “look through” turbulence in the short term, including trade war escalation, tension in Hing Kong, the dangers of a no-deal Brexit and Germany’s economic slowdown.
He said there are “no recent precedents to guide any policy response to the current situation”.
But the overall tone of his statement may disappoint investors expecting the Fed the cut rates at its September meeting and possibly several more times this year. The central bank reduced rates in July in what Powell referred to as a mid-cycle adjustment.
It is also likely to disappoint Trump, both in focusing on the impact that trade uncertainty is having on the global economy, and in not giving a clear signal that more cuts are coming.
Powell: Federal Reserve will ‘act as appropriate’
Here’s a report on Mr Powell’s speech by Reuters, which saw a copy in advance:
The U.S. economy is in a "favorable place" and the Federal Reserve will "act as appropriate" to keep the current economic expansion on track, Fed chair Jerome Powell said on Friday in remarks that gave few clues about whether the central bank will cut interest rates at its next meeting or not.
The chair, under pressure from President Donald Trump to cut rates soon and deeply, listed a series of economic and geopolitical risks that the Fed is monitoring -- many of them, Powell noted, linked to the administration's trade war with China and other countries.
But "the U.S. economy has continued to perform well overall," Powell said in keynote remarks at an annual Fed economic symposium at this mountain retreat. "Business investment and manufacturing have weakened, but solid job growth and rising wages have been driving robust consumption and supporting moderate overall growth."
NEW: Powell: Economy is in ‘favourable place’
It looks like Jerome Powell has stuck to his guns, defending the current state of affairs and saying the Federal Reserve will act as and when it is needed.
Losses on non-China stocks limited
European stocks have levelled out somewhat, the FTSE 100 finding positive territory again — under 0.25pc currently. In the US, stocks indices are suffering more, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq down 0.8pc.
Overall, it looks like investors are waiting to take a cue from Jerome Powell.
Mr Powell’s speech is confirmed as closed, so there will be no questions afterwards, and we should get the full text on the hour.
About ten minutes until Jerome Powell speech
The Federal Reserve chair will begin his speech at Jackson Hole in just over ten minutes. I’ll start bringing you details as soon as we get them — there’s a likelihood the speech will be released in full when he starts talking, but he might well react to today’s trade was escalation.
Analyst: China tariffs are ‘mild, proportionate response’
Agathe Demarais from the Economist Intelligence Unit has weighed in on China’s tariff announcement. She notes:
— China’s plans to impose additional tariffs against $75bn of American imports does not come as a surprise. These tariffs come in retaliation to the recent US decision to gradually impose tariffs on $300bn of US imports from China starting in September.
— China’s new tariffs represent a mild, proportionate response to the latest US tariffs. Their schedule exactly mirrors the most recently announced American tariffs: they will also be imposed in two batches, effective on September 1st and December 15th. China will also resume its 25pc tariff on US car imports.
— China has presented its decision as a “forced move to deal with US unilateralism and protectionism”, making it clear that this development only represents a proportionate reaction to perceived US aggression. The recent rise in nationalist, patriotic behaviour in China means that it would have been impossible for the Chinese government not to react to the latest US tariffs.
Wall Street falls as open
Stocks in New York opened down, with the S7P 500 losing 0.44pc, the Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.5pc and the Nasdaq 0.55pc.
Triple-whammy for Woodford as fund supervisor confirms fund will stay closed
As if the one-two punch of Eddie Stobart suspending trading and having a holding valuation marked down wasn’t enough, the supervisor administering Neil Woodford’s top equity income fund has announced it will stay frozen. My colleague Harriet Russell reports:
It’s a hat trick of issues for embattled fund manager Neil Woodford today.
First, one of his main investments, Eddie Stobart Logistics suspended trading in its shares after admitting it needs to delve into a possible accounting issue.
Then, his Woodford Patient Capital investment trust marked down the valuation of a controversial stake in cold fusion developer Industrial Heat, which was previously listed on the Guernsey stock exchange. The mark down was made on the instruction of Link, Mr Woodford’s fund supervisor.
Link then also announced that trading in his flagship equity income fund will remain closed until the end of the year, confirming last month’s announcement.
The shuttered income fund remains subject to a rolling 28-day review. Mr Woodford slammed the door on investors on June 3 after an increasing number of people tried to pull their money.
For the remainder of the fund’s suspension, investors will no longer be able to see what the top ten holdings in the fund are, while Mr Woodford battles to offload assets in a bid to improve the fund's liquidity.
Billionaire David Koch dies aged 79
US billionaire David Koch, a philanthropist and divisive promoter of libertarian politics, has died aged 79.
Mr Koch, who is survived by his brother and business partner Charles, was one of the world’s richest people. The brothers made their money via a wide portfolio of business interests held through their Wichita, Kansas based company Koch Industries.
The Kochs are divisive figures, known for their extensive influence on US politics by funding conservative and libertarian causes.
His family said in a statement: “While we mourn the loss of our hero, we remember his iconic laughter, insatiable curiosity, and gentle heart.”
G7: Johnson expected to push for George Osborne to take IMF role during summit of leaders
China has certainly put the cat among the pigeons. The latest trade war escalation — which has made a mega splash across the previously-calm global markets — will disrupt proceedings over at Jackson Hole and at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France this weekend.
Speaking of the G7, here’s an interesting story: Boris Johnson is preparing to use the summit to push for George Osborne to take the top job at the International Monetary Fund. My colleague Chris Johnston reports:
The prime minister will lobby leaders of the world's richest countries including President Trump in a bid to get the former Chancellor back in the frame for the job, an insider told Bloomberg.
It was revealed early last month that Mr Osborne had given “serious thought” to putting his name forward for the role.
- The full piece is here: Boris Johnson goes in to bat for George Osborne's IMF dream at G7 summit
Now the Fed can show their stuff!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
The President has long been calling for an interest rate cut, and now seems to be calling for Jerome Powell — who is set to speak in under an hour — to turn dove and endorse monetary easing. That would make borrowing more affordable, which in turn (should) stimulate the economy.
How tariffs currently stand
Chad Bown, from the Peterson Institute, an economics think tank, has tweeted this graphic showing how Chinese tariffs on US goods currently stand:
BREAKING: China announces retaliatory tariffs on $75 bn of US exports— Chad P. Bown (@ChadBown) August 23, 2019
Note: Products NOT currently hit by China's retaliatory tariffs - ie, GREY bar minus RED bar ($, billions):
Autos and parts = 14.3
Aircraft = 14.1
Elec machinery = 10.2
FTSE flips negative, oil erases weekly gains
The FTSE 100, which had been the last European blue-chip holding gains after they went into reversal on China’s announcement, is now in the red, despite the pound weakening.
As the aftershocks ripple through global markets, the price of oil — which is exposed to reduced demand if there is a global slowdown — shed 3pc almost immediately, wiping off the gains it had made earlier this week.
How the tariffs will be split
China’s $75bn of newly-announced tariffs will range from 5 to 10pc. They will be coming in two waves, the relative sizes of which have not yet been disclosed:
- 1st September: First wave of tariffs, all in 5–10pc range.
- 15th December: Second wave of tariffs in 5–10pc range, plus 25pc tariff on automotives and 5pc tariff on auto parts.
US stock futures dive
Wall Street is preparing for a drop at open after China’s tariff announcement. Look at that reversal:
“China’s imposition of tariffs is a forced response to the unilateralism and trade protectionism of the United States,” said the state-run Global Times.
Tit for tat: #China hits US w/tariffs on $75bn worth of goods, reinstates auto levies. Levies will range from 5-10% & be put in place in 2 rounds, on Sept1 & Dec15, same dates on which Trump’s latest tariffs on $300bn in China goods slated to take effect. https://t.co/mvBJ4xUdohpic.twitter.com/EpF1AKaLcp— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) August 23, 2019
Trump aide: Tariffs ‘not material’ to growth
White House economic adviser Peter Navarro has been speaking to Fox Business. He said the traiffs that were just announced will “absolutely not” slow growth, adding:
The amount of money being tariffed is not material in terms of macro growth
Here’s some reaction from analysts and economists on twitter:
#China announced retaliatory trade action on $75 billion of US products. Stock futures immediately fell. It amazes me that market consensus hasn’t yet grasped that (i) the most likely short-term outcome is an escalation of #trade tensions, and (ii) the upside is a temp ceasefire. https://t.co/Ce7pYX8rw9— Mohamed A. El-Erian (@elerianm) August 23, 2019
Powell, on seeing the China news, realizing he now has to rewrite his entire speech pic.twitter.com/MtqxYAn25A— zerohedge (@zerohedge) August 23, 2019
Snap take: China lashes back at US with new tariffs
Jerome Powell may need to re-draft that speech.
China has announced it will introduce a 25pc levy on automotives and retaliatory tariffs on $75bn of US goods, in the latest escalation of the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
Levies will be introduced in two batches. The first will kick in at the start of September, coinciding with an escalation in US charges announced by President Donald Trump earlier this month. In mid-December, when all the US’s planned tariffs will be in place, China will begin tariffing US autos at 25pc.
The announcement, made by China’s Ministry of Finance, sent a shockwave through markets — pushing down equities and trade-linked commodity prices, and knocking emerging market currencies.
European markets shed their gains immediately as investors fled from risk.
Oil and copper prices tumble as China prepares new tariffs
Commodity prices exposed to a trade war are starting to feel the pain. The Chinese government has announced it will introduce 5pc–10pc tariffs on some US goods from the start of next month, and bring in a 25pc tariffs on US automotives from mid-December.
Breaking: China set to ramp up tariffs
It looks like that threat may be quickly coming to fruition: Bloomberg reports that China is set to levy retaliatory tariffs on an extra $75bn of US goods. Let’s see where this goes...
The pressures on Powell
Donald Trump is awake and tweeting, and it looks like economics is once again on his mind. Today, he’s accusing the media and his political opponents of conspiring to convince people a recession is coming.
..willing to lose their wealth, or a big part of it, just for the possibility of winning the Election. But it won’t work because I always find a way to win, especially for the people! The greatest political movement in the history of our Country will have another big win in 2020!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
There is at least some level of irony here, because if this were true (it’s not), it would probably improve Mr Trump’s chances of getting the 1pc interest rate cut that he wants.
Instead, Mr Powell finds himself pummeled however he moves — resist, and face further excoriation from the White House; begin cutting, and be seen as a pushover.
Meanwhile, it looks like the trade war is about to escalate again. Here’s the editor of the Chinese-state-owned Global Times with some tough talk:
Based on what I know, China will take further countermeasures in response to US tariffs on $300 billion Chinese goods. Beijing will soon unveil a plan of imposing retaliatory tariffs on certain US products. China has ammunition to fight back. The US side will feel the pain.— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) August 23, 2019
Jackson Hole: Four things you need to know
Jackson Hole, location of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual retreat, might not be the most obvious spot for a major economic symposium. Chosen by former Fed chair Paul Volcker for its high-quality fly-fishing, the Wyoming valley has became an increasingly crucial part of the calendar for central bankers.
After an opening reception last night, Fed chair Jerome Powell will kick off proceedings with a keynote speech today.
This year, Mr Powell is in the spotlight: his speech, due at 3pm London time, is expected to offer a defence of the Fed’s decision to make a 0.25pc cut to US interest rates at the end of last month. That decision — controversial even within the Fed itself — and the way it was positioned as a “mid-cycle adjustment” made Mr Powell few friends.
What he says could today could end up majorly dictating how nervous US markets move.
The conference, which is on the theme of ‘Challenges to Monetary Policy’, will host speeches by major figures from the worlds of academia and central banking, under a series of broad themes. Today, after Mr Powell speaks, attendees will hold a discussion over three papers:
- Monetary policy divergence
- Monetary policy spillovers to advanced and emerging market economies
- What does it mean to be a data-dependent central banker?
Bank of England governor Mark Carney will then round things off with his Luncheon Address.
Tomorrow, the conference will pick up again with several more general discussions, including ones on the state of the markets, and tackling commodity price shocks. The main event is likely to be an afternoon panel, featuring Philip Lowe, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, and Amir Yaron, governor of the Bank of Israel, and Gita Gopinath, chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.
Who will be there?
Though the slew of international governors are the biggest hitters in attendance, there will also be a mass of US and foreign central bankers in attendance. That includes all four other Fed governors alongside Mr Powell, and all but one of the US’s reserve bank presidents.
They’ll be joined by policymakers, economists and several government officials. And academics — lots of them.
Who won’t be there?
Notable absences from the meeting include European Central Bank chair Mario Draghi, and Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda.
Also not attending is anyone from the Trump administration — for the second year in a row.
What will happen?
Right now, that is anyone’s guess. There’s been an increasing sense of unease from central banks lately, with Federal Reserve moving timidly around a hectoring Donald Trump, and the ECB worried investors are losing confidence in its ability to prop up the eurozone economy.
The most solid carrot Mr Powell could dangle is that a second rate cut is coming this year: that would likely send equities shooting up, unless investors are already too nervous.
Deutsche Bank analysts say:
If Powell sticks to the old language, as is most likely, it would affirm that he is still confident that the strength of consumption, in combination with modest Fed easing, will be sufficient to keep the recovery broadly on track.
Powell speech will ‘set the tone for weeks’ on currency markets
Building up to Jerome Powell’s highly-anticipated speech at the gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole that is underway, SaxoBank’s John Hardy says the Federal Reserve chair’s speech will like set the tone for trading in the weeks to come, writing:
We suspect that Powell won’t indicate an inclination to ease more than the market has already priced in, risking further USD upside. But how risk appetite behaves in the wake of whatever he has to say may be the most important for other currencies.
He adds that the pound could well rally further if positive signals emerge from the G7 summit in Biarritz, which has got underway today. Boris Johnson got in early by meeting European leaders in recent days: the weekend is likely to be dominated by topics such a trade tensions and Hong Kong.
Deputy economics editor Tim Wallace has looked at what Jackson Hole means for the global economy:
Scarred by the financial crisis, economists, policymakers and businesses have been on high alert for the past decade.
Central banks have built up big new departments focusing on financial risks, scouring the world for hazards and potential bubbles that could cause trouble. Government departments, banks and big businesses are the same.
As a result, warnings of the dangers of years of ultra-low interest rates have been almost constant. Economists have watched shares, bonds and property rocket in value, fuelled by cheap debt, and warned that a crash back to Earth is inevitable when interest rates rise.
- Here’s his full piece: When you’re in a (Jackson) Hole… central bankers try to avert a new slump at Wyoming pow-wow
Hong Kong protesters plan return to international airport this weekend
Hong Kong International Airport faces fresh disruption this weekend, as demonstrators prepare to return to the site as they rally against a proposed extradition law.
Tensions in the city, with have been boiling for months, reached their highest level so far during a sit-in at the start of last week, which took the finance hub’s biggest airport out of action for two days.
The Airport Authority published a half-page notice in newspapers urging young people to “love Hong Kong” and said it opposed acts that blocked the airport, adding that it would keep working to maintain smooth operations.
Hong Kong’s high court extended an order restricting protests at the airport. Some activists had apologised for last week’s airport turmoil.
After clashes between protesters and police turned violent, the city’s pro-democracy movement staged a large, peaceful protest as a show of strength. Since then, marches and demonstrations have been taking place every day.
Meanwhile, in Westminster...
After this morning’s slight flurry, it’s back to business as usual for the UK — which mean markets are likely to stay fairly subdued until Jerome Powell takes to the stage at Jackson Hole in about four hours’ time.
Following meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, Boris Johnson has given his ministers the task of finding alternatives to the Irish backstop. With 69 days until the UK is due to leave, they certainly don’t have long.
- You can follow the latest political updates here: Brexit latest news: MP behind backstop solution says German figures are willing to listen to alternatives
Hammerson seizes ground amid Brexit relief
Bullring-owner Hammerson, one of the UK’s biggest retail landlords, is up 5pc today amid a broader relief rally for Brexit-exposed stocks.
The company, which has seen its share price wane steadily as it feels the impact of pressures on the high street, has been a fairly popular target for short sellers, who are circling large firms that mainly operate in the UK.
It has lost a chunk of value since it rejected a takeover bid by rival Klepierre last year.
On Wednesday, the company announced former AIG executive James Lenton would become its new chief financial officer.
PPI: Here’s how to make a claim before the deadline next week
Loan customers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance have six days left to claim for compensation.
Up the the end of June, £36bn has been paid out to customers who were victims of the UK’s largest mis-selling scandal, with Lloyds shelling out the most of any lender.
The insurance was supposed to pay out in the event that the policyholder lost their job, became ill or died. However, few checks were ever made against customers’ other policies, leading to many people being sold cover they already had elsewhere.
This morning, the Competition and Markets Authority has criticised RBS and Santander over how they handled informing customers who may have been victims.
Could you have been a victim? If so, there isn’t long left to make a claim. Telegraph Money’s Sam Meadows and Sam Barker have explained what you should do:
Greggs plans vegan versions of top products after sausage roll success
Greggs is investigating creating vegan version of all its best-selling products as it tries to recreate the massive success of its meat-free sausage roll.
The bakery chain pinned a rise in revenues earlier this year on the product’s popularity, though many investors are still nervous that “peak Greggs” has been reached.
Its boss Roger Whiteside told LBC radio this morning the company is now looking at how it can get more vegan products into its stores. He said they are working on a product which remains under-wraps, but added:
...we are plugging away at seeing if we can come up with a vegan version of all our top-selling lines. Obviously people want a vegan option.
If we can succeed in doing that and produce something that tastes just as good as the meat version, then that will sell very successfully. That's what's been shown with the vegan sausage roll.
- Here’s our interview with Mr Whiteside earlier this year: How I sold Greggs to the middle classes
Computacenter climbs after raising sights for end of year
FTSE 250-listed IT company Computacenter is up more than 3.4pc today, after saying it expected its full-year profit growth to hit record levels.
The company, which supplies equipment to private- and public-sector organisations in Europe and the US, saw its revenue for the first six months rise to £2.43bn, from £2.01bn the year before — a 20.8pc increase.
Chief executive Mike Norris said:
Whilst the performance of the first half of 2018 presented a very difficult challenge to beat, the opposite is true of the second half. The Board expects that the full year 2019 profit growth, in monetary value, will be the best in the company's history. This performance will be predominantly achieved without the aid of acquisitions, however we expect to see a more significant contribution from our acquired business in the USA during the second half.
Some analysts are more sceptical. Berenberg analyst Benjamin May called the results “mediocre”, while UBS’s Michael Briest suggested strong growth was based on public sector spending, which may have weakened since.
Woodford shares drop further as holding is revalued
Neil Woodford has developed an uncanny ability to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in recent months, with ongoing problems at his Woodford Equity Income fund compounded by issues in several parts of his portfolio.
The struggling former star trader’s FTSE 250-listed vehicle Woodford Patient Capital Trust is the biggest faller among mid-caps today, down 6.15pc having fallen as far as 13pc down — to record lows — earlier on.
The latest pressure on the company is two-fold: as well as new doubts over the future of its stake in haulage firm Eddie Stobart, shares in which have been suspended, Woodford said this morning that its stake in IH Holdings would be reduced. IH is the parent of Industrial Heat, a high-tech energy firm based in North Carolina.
The Board has been notified by Link that it intends to reduce the valuation of the Company's holding in IH Holdings International Limited. This is expected to impact the Company's net asset value by approximately 3.4 pence per share
Here’s how Woodford’s shares are doing (use the range selector to see the drop over a longer period of time):
Pigs can fly: Peppa owner soars after takeover announcement
Peppa Pig-owner Entertainment One is leading risers on the FTSE 250 today, up 29.45pc after the film and television company was bought from £3.3bn by Hasbro, the American toy giant. Christopher Williams reports:
The all-cash deal represents a premium of 31pc of Entertainment One’s share price over the last month, and more than three times an aborted takeover attempt by ITV three years ago.
It unites Peppa Pig, which has become of Britain’s biggest media exports in recent years, with one of the world’s biggest owners of toy brands. Hasbro, valued on Wall Street at $14.4bn (£11.8bn), makes the board game Monopoly, the action figure GI Joe and Play-doh, among other children’s favourites.
- You can read his full report here: Hasbro acquires Peppa Pig owner Entertainment One for £3.3bn
Pounds ‘remains deeply troubled’
Despite some happy-looking gains yesterday, the pound has dipped again today, languishing in the red against other major currencies.
Sterling jumped after Prime Minister Boris Johnson held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. The PM is trying to push forward his policy of getting a Brexit deal that does not include the Irish backstop.
SpreadEx’s Connor Campbell says the pound’s drop shows the currency cooling off after its fierce run on Thursday:
Perhaps concerned that yesterday’s surge was a tad overdone — after all, all Macron and Merkel did was make positive noise about a deal; nothing more substantial than that was announced — sterling slipped 0.4pc against the dollar and 0.3pc against the euro. And while, yes, it still means the currency has had a decent couple of weeks, in the wider context of the last few months it remains deeply troubled.
Oanda’s Craig Erlam adds:
Ultimately, it’s all talk right now and we'll see over the coming weeks if there's any substance but for now, sterling has been given a lift. Of course, that lift is always helped by the fact that it has been beaten black and blue since March and Thursday’s gains are tiny in comparison.
Eddie Stobart shares suspended
Shares in haulage company Eddie Stobart have been suspended amid an accounting fiasco, as its chief executive Alex Laffey steps down with immediate effect. My colleague Michael O’Dwyer reports:
The haulage and logistics company, known for its distinctive trucks, said it was applying to suspend its listing on London’s junior Aim market from 7.30am on Friday “pending clarification” of the impact of a number of accounting issues.
The company said it would take a “more prudent approach to revenue recognition” and indicated that it would re-assess whether it was likely to be paid some of the amounts owed to it following a review of its interim results, carried out in conjunction with its auditors PwC.
The decision is yet another blow to beleaguered trader Neil Woodford, whose funds own almost a quarter of the company.
- You can read a full report here: Fresh blow for Neil Woodford as Eddie Stobart’s listing is suspended
RBS and Santander rapped over PPI failures
The UK’s competition watchdog has taken action against Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland after mistakes in their handling of payment protection insurance reminders.
The Competition & Markets Authority has told the lenders they should appoint auditors to assess their PPI processes after notices were sent out late, or with inaccurate information.
RBS failed to inform 11,000 customers who may have been mis-sold PPI that they has potentially been affected. The lender has since written to the customers, and has paid out over £1.5m in refunds. Santander provided incorrect information to customers between 2012 and 2017.
It is the second time the banks have received a warning, after similar action in 2016.
The CMA’s Adam Land said:
It is unacceptable that some banks aren’t providing PPI reminders — or are sending inaccurate ones — 8 years after our Order came into force. The legally binding directions we’ve issued today will make sure that both RBS and Santander now play by the rules.
These are serious issues that, in the future, may result in fines if the Government gives us the powers we’ve asked for.
For now, we expect RBS to repay all affected customers quickly, and for both RBS and Santander to make sure that similar breaches do not happen again.
FTSE posts gains at open
European stocks have opened upbeat, shaking of some of yesterday’s losses. The FTSE 100 is being helped by weakness in the pound, which has shaken off some of yesterday’s strengthening.
Jackson Hole: What’s on the agenda?
Federal Reserve chair has a unenviable job today: forced to outline the central bank’s thinking, knowing that hewing to conventional wisdom will earn him one of his not-infrequent public dressing-down from US President Donald Trump.
Mr Powell is the keynote speaker at the Jackson Hole economic summit in Wyoming, His speech is first thing in the morning over there, which will translate to 3pm British Summer Time — early enough that we will likely see the impact on European markets if he says anything particularly surprising.
There’s plenty for Mr Powell to react to: since the Fed issued the US’s first rate cut in a decade earlier this month, tensions in Hong Kong have escalated, the trade war between the US and China re-ignited, and the US two-year/10-year yield curve has repeatedly inverted. Mr Powell labelled the 0.25pc cut as a “mid-cycle adjustment” — but the cycle may not be were the Fed thought it was.
Also making an appearance at the event is Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who is giving the ‘Luncheon Address’ at 8pm London time.
- You can read the full event schedule here.
Pound’s gains under pressure
Its been a good week for the pound after apparent progress in Brexit talks. Can it end the week on a flourish?
Sterling is down a touch against the euro, 0.11pc, at €1.1043, while it's down 0.25pc against the dollar at $1.2220.
The FTSE 100 is called to open up 0.7pc at 7,157.
All eyes on Jackson Hole
Good morning. Wall Street stocks were mixed on closing yesterday ahead of a key Federal Reserve address. Fed chair Jerome Powell will be giving a speech at Jackson Hole later today.
In the past, central bankers have used the Wyoming summit to announce major policy shifts and many are expecting Powell to walk back through some of his commentary from last month’s post-rate decision press conference where he said the rate reduction was merely a “mid-cycle adjustment”.
5 things to start your day
1) Hasbro has acquired Peppa Pig owner Entertainment One for £3.3bn. The all-cash deal represents a premium of 31pc of Entertainment One’s share price over the last month, and more than three times an aborted takeover attempt by ITV three years ago.
2) Germany is examining plans to prohibit banks from imposing negative interest rates on savers, threatening to leave lenders in an impossible position and greatly complicating the job of the European Central Bank as it prepares fresh stimulus.
3) The boss of computer giant HP is to step down after four yearsdue to family health reasons. Dion Weisler will be succeeded by company veteran Enrique Lores from November 1. Mr Lores, who has worked at the printer maker for 30 years, currently heads HP’s imaging printing and solutions unit.
4) Scotland’s huge deficit means that numbers for independence don’t add up. Momentum is gathering behind First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP’s renewed push for independence, but the huge budget black hole raises serious questions.
5) Profits at Bauer Consumer Media, Britain's biggest magazine publisher with titles including Take a Break, TV Choice, Heat and Grazia, tumbled last year as sales continued to slide. Pre-tax profits for the privately owned German company fell £7m to £3.7m on an £8.4m drop in turnover to £120.3m.
What happened overnight
Asian markets headed into the weekend on a cautious note on Friday ahead of the key speech by Mr Powell, while the pound held the previous day’s rally through the evening — fuelled by rekindled hopes for a soft Brexit.
The pound has dipped slightly, but is still sitting around three-week highs after French President Emmanuel Macron echoed German Chancellor Angela Merkel in allowing Britain to find a solution to the Irish border that has dogged negotiations since 2017.
Still, Asia's main indexes were in positive territory in the morning. Tokyo went into the break 0.2pc higher, while Hong Kong added 0.2pc, Shanghai gained 0.1pc and Sydney rose 0.3pc.
However, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei and Wellington were all in the red, with Manila more than 1pc lower.
On currency markets, high-yielding, riskier units were broadly lower as traders move into the relative safety of the dollar.
Coming up today
An appearance by Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell at the Kansas City Fed’s annual Jackson Hole economic symposium will be a key opportunity for further insight. “Historically, this has been used to signal shifts in the Fed’s thinking,” said Investec’s Victoria Clarke. “But this year may well take on additional importance given that it is likely to be Jerome Powell’s first public comments since the latest round of tariffs were announced.”
Interim results: Computacenter, Henry Boot
Economics: New home sales (US)