The state opening of parliament will see Prince Charles take the reins of the Queen Speech, where it is expected that 38 new bills will be announced. It is anticipated that the speech will focus on the economy and the ‘levelling up’ agenda, while seven bills will be related to trying to produce post-Brexit opportunities. A Public Order Bill is also expected to propose establishing a 12-month maximum sentence for “interfering with key national infrastructure” – in an attempt to address protestors who are bocking runways, motorways and railways. Nevertheless, the Liberal Democrats’ Home Office spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael said that this bill would be ineffectual as the police already have sufficient powers to stop such protests and that it was merely a façade to take attention away “from a failing Government that is running out of steam”. This will be Boris’ first set piece since the local elections which saw Sinn Féin take the greatest number of seats in Northern Ireland, the SNP extend their vote share by 1.8 percentage points to 34.1% in Scotland, and the Conservatives suffer significant loses in London.Across the 200 councils up for election, Labour took 74 (extending their seats by five), the Conservatives take 35 (loosing 11) and the Lib Dems take 16 (up three).
Equities, Oil and Bitcoin Take a Tumble
In the equities market, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Index fell by around 2.3% and 3%, respectively after the opening bell yesterday. Much of this investor sentiment came from a continued focus on the prospect of further tightening of monetary policy around the globe in addition to growing concerns about the slowdown of economic activity in China. In Europe, the STOXX 600 fell 2.8% yesterday, while the DAX 30 – the German blue-chip index – slid 2.1%. It was a similar story in the UK where the FTSE 100 dropped 2.3% yesterday closing at 7,217pts – the lowest level since mid-March with UK listed resources companies had an especially poor day, as investors weighed on a slowdown in global growth. Asian stocks also took a tumble with Japan’s Nikkei index dropping 2.5%
With such investor sentiment, oil saw a significant depreciation with Crude and Brent falling by around 4.9% and 4.5% respectively yesterday. Sticking with the oil, following Brussels’ announcement last week that the EU would ban the importation of Russian oil in what Ursula von der Leyen called a “orderly fashion”, tension is continuing to manifest itself amongst EU member states. Namely, Hungary and Slovakia are expressing particular concerns about the socio-economic implications of banning Russian oil imports. While the former imports 58% of their crude oil from Russia, the latter imports 96%. In contrast, in 2021 Germany received 35% of its crude from Russia, though this has now dropped to 12% following developments in Ukraine. Hence, as factions emerge, Brussels will need to ensure that they maintain an image of unity in front of Putin’s aggression.
Bitcoin also saw considerable depreciation yesterday dropping below $31,000 – meaning that the Crypto currency has fallen more than 50% since its peak in November 2021. Bitcoin currently accounts for around 1/3rd a third of the cryptocurrency market with a market cap of around $570bn, however again, given market sentiment around the tightening money supply, it has lost some 20% of its value in the last week.
Macron’s “Political European Community”
Speaking at a conference on the Future of Europe in Strasbourg yesterday, Emmanuel Macron proposed the idea of establishing a new “political European community” which would include both EU and Non-EU countries that can embrace, exercise and expand “European core values.” The speech was a nod showing support and unity with Ukraine, and while Macron conceded that Ukrainian EU membership would take several years (even after their candidate status had been established), the French President Ukraine “is already a heartfelt member of our Europe, of our family, of our union”.
Following sharp declines in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar, over the weekend President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a halt in interbank lending and lending between private companies with immediate effect. Reports suggest that the black market is now trading between 300 and 400 Zimbabwean dollars for each US dollar – a monumental increase from around 200 Zimbabwe dollars at the start of the year. Mnangagwa’s policies (which included the further taxes on FX transfers) saw the Zimbabwean dollar tumble even further yesterday, and the drive-in black-market rates (used for most financial transactions within the economy) is the primary driver behind surging inflation which stood at an annualised rate of 96.4% in April.
Have a great day.