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Will India succeed where Russia failed?

Good morning

It’s been quite a while since my last report, a holiday to Italy and then a few client meetings got in the way, but your inboxes weren’t safe forever.

I won’t bore you with the details of the holiday but suffice to say after Venice, Rome, Pisa, Lucca and Florence we’re all agreed Italy is a pretty cool place, although my youngest did point out that some of the beautiful streets in one town could have been ‘copied and pasted’ to the next. I have to say the rail network in Italy is quite something as well, fast and cheap which is always a good combination, one train we took regularly reached 150mph. Not quite the same in the UK, not quite as fast and rather prohibitively expensive, certainly for a family of five. I can’t say the rest of Italy is good value although to be fair most places in the world are expensive, especially with five pretty much adult mouths to feed.

So what’s happened over the past three weeks or so. A quick look at the currency markets shows USD has pushed slightly higher since I went away, with GBPUSD now 1.2740 from 1.2850, EURUSD 1.0890 from 1.1025 and USDJPY 145.35 from 142.00. GBP is a tiny bit stronger against EUR, at 1.1705 from 1.1670. AUD has had a torrid time, first RBA surprised the markets when they left rates unchanged back at the start of August, some weak data since then has continued to push AUD lower. GBPAUD which had been 1.9225 when I left is now just a few points short of 1.9900 and that big psychological level of 2.00 is within touching distance.

AUD also hindered by an increasingly severe looking China slow down. China authorities have been working hard to prevent CNY depreciating too far, the overnight fix of 7.1987 was far below reasonable expectations. China have been trying to push the BRICS group of emerging markets to rival the G7, likely to want to move away from the USD. BRICS nations will meet later this week.

We did have some UK inflation numbers while I was away, the headline shows a slight decline although the Core CPI, without food and energy, came in a touch above expectation, which, together with some better than expected GDP data, will keep the BoE on their toes, further rates rises are still expected although we have seen some slight lowering of peak rate forecasts from 6% to 5.75%.

England womens football team unfortunately failed at the last hurdle in the world cup final, beaten by I’d say the better team although of course some of Spains time-wasting antics were a bit frustrating. In the Premier League, Spurs had a decent win against Man Utd, perhaps there is life after Kane after all. I know its highly unlikely, but it would be just typical for Kane if Spurs went on to win something this season. Anyway, as we know its far too early to talk of winning after just a couple of matches.

Russia’s moon landing mission has failed, its Luna-25 craft crashed over the weekend, leaving India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission with the potential to be the first to ever land on the south pole of the moon. The landing craft, Vikram, is in its last stage of the mission, trying to find a suitable landing spot. It is thought the south pole area could contain frozen water and precious elements. We’ll know soon whether they have been successful. Russia are yet to blame the West for their mission failure although I’m sure they’re thinking about it.

Saudi Arabia are continuing to buy up football, signing many players on extremely high transfer fees and wages. Neymar was flown out to Saudi Arabia on a Boeing 747 privately owned by a Saudi Prince, he’ll be on salary in the region of £2.5m/week. With attempts to buy golf and now football, they are also undertaking some vast building projects such as the Line, a city built in a single line, 200 metres wide, 500 metres tall and some 75 miles long. Despite its size, the idea is that you’d never be more than 5 minute walk away from everything you need. Its all pretty exciting and amazing stuff, however it remains marred by reports of Human Rights abuses including the killing of hundreds of migrants along the border with Yemen.

I could go on but probably best I leave it there for now as I have plenty of bits I need to catch up on. Its good to be back in the hot seat, I look forward to catching up with many of you soon.

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