Market Update

Cost of living soars, Ukraine calls for immediate financial support to ensure the country’s ‘survival’, nearly all remaining Covid restrictions have now ended in the UK and Elon Musk is now the proud owner of Twitter.

Posted: 26th April 2022   |   Share

By Sarah Ryman

... Free speech

Can one put a price on the value of free speech?  It seems that Tesla chief Elon Musk puts it at $44bn as he purchases Twitter stating that “free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy” and described the influential social media platform as “the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated”.


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said this month that the economy has expanded by only 0.1% in February compared with 0.8% in January.  The slowing growth was due to a sharp fall in the production of cars and computer goods but this manufacturing contraction was off-set by growth in the services sector including areas such as tourism and travel.  The economy is 1.5% above its pre-pandemic level of February 2020 however the cost of living has now reached the highest level for over three decades.  Prices rose by 7% in the 12 months to March, up from 6.2% in February. 

Trade between the UK and EU post Brexit remains very difficult with border controls resulting in a steep decline in the number of trading partnerships Britain has with the area.  According to an article in the FT, UK exports to the EU have now recovered to pre-pandemic levels however analysis of the trading data shows that the number of relationships between buyers and sellers has dropped by a third given the administrative complexities of maintaining the movement of goods. 


Macron and Le Pen have had a frantic sprint to the finish line for the French election which took place on the 24th April and resulted in Emmanuel Macron being victorious.  It wasn’t exactly plain sailing for Macron to achieve his re-election with many leaning towards Le Pen’s protectionist economic policies and her brand of anti-immigration, Eurosceptic nationalism.  Macron certainly has his work cut out for him managing the rising cost of living and seemingly still needs to shake off his image as an out-of-touch elitist but he has been granted the opportunity to try to build on his reform campaign and respond to the demands for social justice. 


The Fed are looking to commence reducing their balance sheet assets by $95bn a month in an attempt to curb inflation.  James Bullard, president of the St Louis branch of the Fed has said that the central bank needs to be more aggressive in its efforts to address inflation which has now reached the highest level for 40 years.  His hawkish opinions do not align to all of his peers many of whom favour a ‘neutral’ level of interest rates, that is to say a level that neither fuels nor restricts economic activity, a level that is estimated to be about 2.4%.



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