Tuesday, 10th April: A positive sentiment at the US close last night was replicated in Asia markets and set the tone for European indices. London’s blue chip rose over the day as investors digested news of Chinese economic reform plans with President Xi Jinping announcing a “four-point plan”. A notable absence of concessions to US President Trump didn’t go unnoticed, although there was a softer tone after recent escalating trade wars between the two largest economies from the Chinese President. Sterling made steady gains following bullish comments from BoE policymaker Ian McCafferty over upcoming rate rises. GBP rose to 3 week highs against the Euro, while a 2 week high was reached against the dollar. More muted gains were on the board at the time of writing. The softened trade war rhetoric was also felt in the oil price as Brent Oil rose >3% and back over $70/bbl. Recent tensions over the conflict in Syria has raised potential disruptions to the Middle Eastern region’s oil industry.
2018 has so far failed to bring much sunshine and warmth it seems. Well, to rub salt in the (cold) wound, British Gas (Centrica), are set to raise energy prices by an average of 5.5%/£60 a year. The UK’s largest energy supplier has said this will affect 4.1m of its customers, with the price rise set to come in to affect from 29th May, when it may hopefully be slightly warmer.
Waitrose has long been a friend of ours. Situated across the road from the Vertem office in Jesmond, often our bins are filled with coffee cups as we enjoy the complimentary free hot drink (with any single purchased item). However, come the Autumn, these disposable coffee cups will be no more as Waitrose have today announced plans to remove all paper cups. The hot drinks service isn’t going anywhere though; customers will simply have to provide their own reusable cup. Nine stores will initially lose their disposable cups by the end of April, while everyone else will be phased out by the end of the Autumn. The decision comes as there are further calls for a “latte levy”; a charge on disposable cups.
At the close major European indices ended higher with the FTSE closing +1% as miners dominated the top spots of the index (Anglo American +>5%). US indices are also heading for a strong close to Tuesday’s session. The Russian rouble continued to slide as the dollar gained a further 3.4%.