With the US off for Thanksgiving, trade volumes fell off a cliff yesterday and as such we go into the last session of the week pretty much unchanged. In theory the US is open today, but as always the main trading being done is on retail websites rather than stock exchanges, because it’s Black Friday! There’s been a trend over the last couple of years of these deals starting much earlier than the actual day itself and this year has seen much more of that than ever before, so it’s unclear what pent up demand there will be for deals to be done today. Discounting this year will be a mixed bag, with so much increased demand for home improvements and consumer electronics to keep people entertained over lockdown, it’s unlikely that retailers will feel the need to go all in on discounting, nor will the manufacturers need to subsidise the retailers promotions. High Street retail is probably one to look at, though they’ll also be keen not to give too much away in tems of margin because with lockdown (sort of) ending, they’ll be hoping for the same sort of resurgance that we saw back in July.
The three tier system in the UK has been simplified, because everybody only needs to know the difference between tier two and tier three now! 99% of the country will be in these categories come Wednesday and that’s causing plenty of complaint – particularly in Tunbridge Wells (if you’ve got BBC breakfast on you’ll note this is all they’re talking about!), which has particularly low infection levels, but because it’s in Kent where other parts of the county have much higher levels, they find themselves in in tier 3.
The upshot is that more than 60% of people in the UK are in a higher tier than they were before the national lockdown. This isn’t sitting well with a lot of Boris’ party and he’s likely to have to rely on Labour when this goes to a vote in the Commons. As yet Labour are undecided on how they’ll vote, so it’s not a done deal, but Boris is insisting that this is the only way to avoid a New Year lockdown. It’s interesting that the ‘economic consequence’ argument against a lockdown is being made by a number of MP’s who are fine with a hard Brexit!
Europe are set to hold an emergency meeting of fisheries minsters today, with the hope that Michel Barnier can convince them to take less of a hard-line. Talks are set to resume in the UK next week, but there is a chance they get stuck in early and make use of this weekend to try and resolve their differences.
There’s a Times article that’s talking about a last minute dash by UK firms to stock up on EU goods ahead of the end of the year. Their stockpiling efforts are driving customs services prices sky high.
If you weren’t able to join the Brexit webinar we ran yesterday, here’s the link. We covered a few practical tips on what you need to look into and hopefully it was a reasonably useful 30 minutes!
There’s a good piece in the Telegraph today about a new unit within the Competition and Markets Authority, called the Digital Markets Unit. This will be tasked with trying to make the internet a fairer environment for smaller players and stop the dominance of the big four tech giants. There’s a lot they can do that doesn’t involve breaking them up and it’s good to see something specifically charged with doing something about the current quadropoly (?) – a couple of stats from the article: Facebook’s revenue per customer is ten times that of its competitors and Google and Facebook got 80% of the UK’s digital ad revenue last year.
Today we’re staring at a pretty blank economic calendar and this is typically a very quiet day – the only possible curve ball we might see is bigger trade volumes than in the past, as people are working from home and might just log on instead of taking the day off.
Have a great weekend.