Today’s BoE meeting is the penultimate of Mark Carney’s reign, and though we’re expecting no change, it is possible that we’ll get a few dissenters that vote in favour of a rate cut – which would push the probability of a cut in 2020 higher. Mark Carney said earlier in the week that the likelihood of a hard Brexit has reduced, but those words probably mean less now that Boris has put it back on the table.
Mark Carney’s tenure probably won’t go down in the history books as being the most progressive. He’s come under fire in the past for his forward guidance strategy and during his time in office interest rates have moved from 0.5% down to 0.25% and back up to the dizzy heights of 0.75%! He has managed to keep markets calm under periods of stress though – the morning of the 24th June 2016 springs to mind – and overall he’s pretty well regarded.
One thing that might derail this is a story broken overnight by The Times that the Bank of England’s backup audio feed for its press announcements is being sold to traders by the company that manages it! the backup feed is in case TV channels fail during the announcements, but being audio only it is delivered five to eight seconds ahead of the main audio-visual feed. A few seconds to a hedge fund is pure gold and has probably allowed for millions if not tens of millions of pounds to be made over the time that this has been going on.This has now been reported to the FCA but is a huge embarrassment for the Bank.
The state opening of Parliament is later today, but it will be a more low key affair than the usual pomp and ceremony. The queen will set out Boris’ agenda with more than 20 bills announced over the course of the proceedings. Brexit items are the big ones for the market, but Boris will make his NHS spending pledges legally binding and is also going to cut business rates by 50% for small firms – very welcome for the high street.
Over in the US; Donald got impeached. He’s only been impeached by the House of Representatives and it was all but a formality given that it’s Democrat controlled. The next step is to get this to trial in the Senate but Nancy Pelosi has delayed delivering the articles of impeachment over fears that there wont be a fair trial (of course there won’t be, it’s a Republican controlled Senate!) Trump was back in his safe space – a campaign rally- where he was repeating his ‘witch hunt’ mantra.
There’s an interesting article in the Global Times that says Trump’s impeachment won’t change anything on trade talks. The article goes on to say that China’s stance on the US will remain whoever is in office as they see it as a matter of US policy to try and constrain China’s economic and technological rise.
Trade tensions are weighing heavily on the Fortune 500: Analysis of the 488 Q3 earnings calls that companies undertook showed that tariffs or trade tensions were mentioned 1,150 times in 188 of the calls! The sectors most concerned were retail and manufacturing, whilst 40% of construction companies are highly concerned of aluminium tariffs having a detrimental impact on their businesses.
It’s not just the US that’s pumping in a load of money ahead of the Christmas break. China’s central bank has added the most cash to the system since January as they gear up for liquidity crunches. China will need to carry the operations on for longer, as their New Year comes around at the end of January.
Today is looking like a busy day all round and tomorrow has got plenty of data due to be released to, so it looks like the market will be going all the way through. We’re open on the 23rd, 24th, 27th, 30th and 31st and then back to it on the 2nd Jan to get 2020 off to a flying start.
We’ll try and get in a round up of 2019 and the decade that we’re closing the door on. All being well this will be with you between Christmas and New Year – a welcome diversion from Turkey sandwiches and left over nut roast!