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  • richard evans

What a start to 2024!

Good morning and welcome to the first report of the new year.

 

It’s fair to say 2024 hasn’t kicked off completely as I’d have hoped or expected.  I got just two days into it before I started feeling rotten and I’ve been in bed pretty much ever since.  Turns out it is Covid.  I say ’is’, although I did test negative yesterday just a few days after my positive test.  However while I’m clearly feeling well enough to type this, my underlying feeling is ‘when can I go and lie down’.

 

I read an official statistic that said 6-10% of all Londoners have Covid.  However, unless you take a Covid test supplied by NHS you are no longer allowed to report it.  Therefore those statistics cannot include the likes of me, and indeed many other people I know who have also come down with this particularly unpleasant strain.  And no, before you ask, we were not all together at any stage over Christmas and the New Year, these are completely separate cases.  Therer is a hell of a lot of it going around, together with other seasonal flu/respiratory illnesses just to help things along.

 

Still, I don’t know why I am saying this given the official guidance is ‘get back to work if you can, don’t worry about isolating’.  Mind you I was laid up in the spare room for the best part of a week so isolation was pretty much assured anyway, save for the odd supply of tea, biscuits and the occasional hot meal as and when I felt up to it. 

 

So what have I missed?  Well the last few days is really something of a blur but the standouts as far as I remember was that all 297 passengers and crew managed to escape the plane they were on that turned into a fireball on landing in Japan.  When I first saw the images I have to admit I had little hope for anyone on board.  Unfortunately I know five people on another plane were killed by the death toll could have been so much greater. 

 

Then we had darts, where the plucky young 16 year old narrowly failed to win a world championship, just falling short at the final hurdle.  Still, a tremendous effort and one that really got the whole country interested in darts for a moment. 

 

Conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza are still ongoing, neither showing any sign of coming to an end.  I’m not sure if I dreamt this but I think I also saw some report of North Korea firing some missiles towards South Korea.  That’s the last thing we need.

 

To the markets, and if I’m honest I’ve not really managed any more than the odd glance at prices and on the face of it I’m not sure I missed much.  GBPUSD is now 1.2700, just where it was when I wrote my last report on 22nd Dec.  However that’s ignoring Friday, where GBPUSD saw a range of 1.2610-1.2770 in the hour or two after the US nonfarm payroll data.  GBP wasn’t alone, EURUSD saw a range of 1.0875-1.0970 (now 1.0935), while USDJPY traded up to almost 146.00 before slipping back to 143.85 (now 144.50).

 

That 1.2610 area in GBPUSD is becoming increasingly important.  From 5th-13th Dec is provided resistance and then when it finally did break up, that area turned to support which has been tested several times since mid-Dec but still remains firm.  Well worth watching.  Elsewhere, GBP has gained against the single currency, now 1.1605 having traded as low as 1.1475 into the turn of the year. 

 

When I went off to my sick bed a week or so ago there were amber warnings for rain and floods, never a good thing living in an area called ‘Three Rivers’ with a river (well, a canal) at the end of your garden.  We seem to have got away with that, unlike some other areas which have seen some devastating floods.  I know we’ve had a lot of rain but there does seem to be more flooding these days.  Many reasons for that I’m sure, but one of my neighbours has lived in her house for some 70 years and she remembers seeing dredgers a couple of times each year clearing out the canal and local rivers.  I’ve been here over ten years now and haven’t ever seen one.  A bit of work could surely see capacity of rivers greatly increasesd. 

 

Anyway we’ve gone from potential flooding to a potential cold snap.  All the more reason for me to go and curl up again in bed.  Wake me up when spring is here.

 

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