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  • richard evans

'Safe' in Belarus?

Good morning

Well of course the big news over the weekend was the Russian ‘mutiny’ which, as nice as it may be to see Putin under a bit of pressure, hasn’t really led to much after some sort of agreement allowed Prigozhin, head of the Wagner group, to leave his army and run off to Belarus. Surely there is no way he’ll be safe there, or anywhere. There is some theory that he took US money to support his coup and has then run off with it. Either way, Putin or the CIA are not going to let this go.

Regardless, the only hope really is that Putin’s support is weakened enough for people to question the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but despite the weekend press it would seem that a change of leadership there any time soon is highly doubtful. Still, we must be careful what we wish for, the old saying ‘better the devil you know’ springs to mind. Not sure Prigozhin would be the kind of man you’d want in charge and of course China have stated their support for stability in Russia so if things get bad we could see them getting involved. Could be very messy.

BoE has been raising rates and looks like it can do so again. ECB officials seem to be turning slightly more data dependent, although a July rise of 25bps still looks most likely. Fed as we know have paused but they are expected to resume rate rises at their next meeting. I do have my doubts about that but we’ll investigate further nearer the time. For now, GBPUSD is 1.2730, EURUSD 1.0900 and GBPEUR 1.1675, not unfamiliar levels.

USDJPY is 143.20, it did get near to 144.00 Friday but perhaps it was comments from Japanese officials that prevented the pair from rising further, this time it was Kanda who said they were not ruling out intervention and will act to prevent rapid and one-sided yen weakness. GBPJPY at 182.35.

Rate rises are obviously in the headlines, but do spare a thought for the Turkish people who saw their central bank raise rates from 8.5% to 15.0% last week, a move of some 6.5%. This seems to have put an end to Erdogan’s ‘must have low interest rates’ policy but it has done nothing to help the beleaguered Lira, which now sits at 25.35 against USD, 27.77 against EUR and around 32.50 against GBP. I presume Turkey must be seeing an influx of holidaymakers with the Lira so low.

China reopened after its three day holiday, USDCNY fixed at 7.2056, the highest in this cycle and not far now from the Nov 2022 highs which saw a peak fix of 7.2555. China opened weaker after the break, most indices were around 1.5% lower.

ECB’s banking conference begins today in Sintra, Lagarde will be making the opening remarks. I’d imagine she’d go along the lines of ‘inflation still high, further action likely to be needed’. Otherwise it’s a fairly quiet calendar today

I hope you all enjoyed the splendid weather over the weekend. I certainly did although on Friday I ‘popped’ up to Liverpool to sort out my youngest son’s passport. I mentioned a while ago that it needed renewing and that I’d looked to complete the application online. Of all the things the government may be doing wrong, their website for passports, driving licences, even tax returns is pretty good. However I was met with warnings that we could be faced with a 10 week delay so my only alternative was to make an appointment for a fast track application. No problem, I’ve done those before. But the only passport offices with spaces were Durham, Belfast or Liverpool. I duly chose Liverpool.

I’d thought of getting a train, but for two people it would have been close to £250 return. So much for getting cars off the road. So we popped in the car, had a lovely afternoon and evening in Liverpool and then headed home via some stunning roads in the Peak District on Saturday. I have said it before, but our countryside is hugely underrated. It is truly stunning. The only issue we had was that it was raining in Liverpool and I’d only dressed for warm, sunny times. It wasn’t exactly cold mind you so proved to be no major issue. Anyway for anyone who hasn’t been, Liverpool is a great place to visit. If anyone needs a new passport inside 10 weeks, it is my pick of the passport offices. The staff were incredibly friendly, it wasn’t busy, the woman processing my application even took time to explain where I should visit and gave me a map. I certainly didn’t get that service the last time I went to the London passport office.

- 09.00 German IFO

- 09.15 BoEs Dhingra speaks

- 11.00 UK CBI retail sales

- 18.30 ECBs Lagarde speaks

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