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Morning Update

Macro Monday, reports on helicopter crash that killed Iranian president, house prices continue to rise in the UK, new president sworn in for Taiwan, and what's happening this week.

Macro Monday
According to the ONS there were an estimated 28.2 million households in the UK in 2022.
This marked a 6.1% increase from in 2012 equivalent to around 1.6 million households.
In 2022, the average number of residents per household stood at 2.36, more or less unchanged from 2012.

Iranian President Killed in Helicopter Crash

Iranian state media are reporting that the country’s president Ebrahim Raisi has been killed in a helicopter crash in north-west Iran. The President was killed along with several others including the Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian when the helicopter crashed in dense fog over the mountains.

As the BBC reports, Ebrahim Raisi was “a hard-line cleric close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei”. Raisi came in to the office of the Presidency following an election which saw numerous liberal and reformists candidates banned from running. Raisi came into office effectively unchallenged with many Iranian’s boycotting the rigged election.

His time in office was subsequently underpinned by dealing with popular protests and anti-government demonstrations alongside rising inflation, growing geopolitical tensions and the foreign policy implications of the conflict in Gaza.

According to Politico’s Gabriel Gavin and Christian Oliver, he was “responsible for decades of vicious crackdowns against his own people’s aspirations for greater personal freedoms and democracy, arresting, torturing and executing tens of thousands of the Islamist regime’s opponents”.

Before becoming the President, he served in the judiciary and was the Deputy Prosecutor and Prosecutor of Tehran in the 1980s and 1990’s. In 1988, he was one of four in the prosecution committee – often referred to as the “death committee” – who sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death. Such actions led to many refer to him as the ‘butcher of Tehran’.

Special rapporteurs of the United Nations subsequently accused him of crimes against humanity and he was sanctioned by the US.

In 2004 he became Deputy Chief Justice – a position which he held for a decade – ahead of becoming the Attorney General between 2014 to 2016 and Chief Justice from 2019–2021, positions which were characterised by further repression.

An election is now set to take place in the next 50 days while in the meantime Mohammad Mokhber – the country’s First Vice-President will assume many of the president’s roles.

UK House Prices

UK house price data from Rightmove, out this morning has shown that prices continue to rise, hitting a new record average price of £375,000. House prices were up 0.8% on last month but only up by 0.6% on the year, having dipped last autumn.

House prices continuing to rise, despite interest rates at 15-year highs, is the perfect indicator just how imbalanced supply and demand are in the UK property market!

Sales for the first four months of the year are up 17% compared to the same period in 2023, which is being put down to pent up demand from uncertainties over the direction and velocity of interest rate changes over the last 18 months.

Taiwan

Earlier Today, Lai Ching-te was sworn in as Taiwan’s President. In his inauguration speech he said that “China’s threats to annex Taiwan will not simply disappear” and that “Taiwan needs the world, just as the world needs Taiwan”. As Vice-President, Lai Ching-te is toed a tougher line on China and accused Beijing of unprecedented interference in Taiwan’s elections. Attention now turns to how he will continue the relationship with China amid rising tensions in the region.

The Week Ahead

On the primary data front, this week’s main events include the release of UK CPI at 0700 on Wednesday where markets are expecting to see CPI subside to 2.1% and the publication of the FOMC’s minutes at 1900 on Wednesday. This will come in addition to PMI data released from the Eurozone, UK and North America throughout Thursday ahead of UK retail sales on Friday.

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