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Morning Update

This morning saw the Reserve Bank of Australia raise rates by a further 25bpts, bringing the base rate to 3.6% after ten consecutive rate hikes.

This morning saw the Reserve Bank of Australia raise rates by a further 25bpts, bringing the base rate to 3.6% after ten consecutive rate hikes. With headline inflation currently at thirty-three-year highs of 7.8% the RBA’s interest rate now stands at its highest level since May 2012. The RBA expect inflation average around 4.75% before easing to 3% over 2024, given household consumption slowing down for much of this period. Moreover, given the vast commodities sector and its relationship with demand from China, the nature of the Chinese ‘reopening’ from Covid lockdowns will also have a significant impact on demand in Australia and thus demand side inflationary pressures.

Tooth Fairy Gets Hit by Inflation

Last week, National Tooth Fairy Day was celebrated in the US and according to Axios and Delta Dental, inflationary pressures have not merely hit households, but the Tooth Fairy too. The poll recorded that a lost tooth payout has surged 16% over the course of the last year, hitting a record high of $6.23. Given last year’s recent inflationary surge, the Tooth Fairy’s pay-out has increased 379% since record began in 1998. This means that if the existing trajectory continues, the Tooth Fairy may have to fork out $30 by 2048. Interestingly, the study also found that the average value of a first tooth is $7.29 – illustrating the premium that households put on it.

This afternoon, markets will be chiefly focused on Powell testifying before Congress. Here, the Fed’s chair will give a broad overview of the US economy, and the Fed’s monetary policy ahead of their next interest rate decision on 22nd March. Markets are also anticipating on whether Powell may make use of the term disinflation and give markets greater confidence that the Central Bank’s fight against inflation may be subject to a pivot in the not too distant future. Presently, the general market consensus is weighing on the Fed conducting another 25btp hike to bring the base rate to 5% – edging closer to what markets have priced in as a terminal rate of 5.3%

Starbucks Announces 100 More Stores

Yesterday, Starbucks announced that they would open 100 new stores in the UK, ending speculation that they may sell-off non-franchise operated coffee shops in the UK, of which there are 318. The plan to open another 100 shops forms part of a £30m investment into the UK, which will see new stores try to further integrate technology into the system. Starbucks currently have 1,066 shops in the UK making it the country’s fifth largest coffee chain by number of shops and the Seattle-based company appear keen to reinvest into the UK, especially now that its revenue has rebounded above pre-pandemic levels.

In the UK, Brits drink around 95m cups of coffee a day with this figure having grown by 25m cups since 2008. However, the UK does not even make it in the top 10 when it comes to average coffee consumption. According to Statista, Finland consumes the world’s most coffee per capita at 12kg per person per year. It perhaps comes no surprise, given that Finish law allows for workers to be provided with two coffee breaks per day. Finland is followed by Luxemboutg (11.1 kg pppa), The Netherlands (8.2 kg pppa) and Sweeden (7.7 kg pppa) demonstrating the Nordics and Benelux’s penchant for drinking coffee.

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