WEEKLY NEWS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE WORLD – W/e Nov 7th 2021
In a week when the world leaders arrived at COP26 in Glasgow, we were reminded of how insignificant we all are (all 8bn of us!), as we adjust to the new seemingly irreversible adverse impact climate change. Whilst the news headlines focused on the Queen’s casual reference to her own mortality, the takeaway message was that “we are literally digging our own graves”, with our own mining and excavation. Hopefully the outcomes of COP 26 will be the catalyst for the change we all need.
In a UK context, this week the big news was the Bank of England (BoE) signalling its intention to raise interest rates in the coming months to tackle high levels of inflation. BoE Governor, Andrew Bailey, described the 7/2 decision to hold interest rates for now as a “close call”. In a memorable comment, Bailey said “putting interest rates up, I’m afraid, isn’t going to get us more gas”! Expect interest rates to increase gradually over the coming year, as the BoE assesses the economy’s emergence in the aftermath of the pandemic.
In politics here, we had the “Ulsterisation of Britain” as Newton Emerson described it. The lobbying scandal engulfing Owen Patterson (MP) and his links with 2 companies here in NI (who have done nothing wrong) was like something you would see in an episode of House of Cards! Corruption and cover up has no place in a credible government and voters have little enough faith in politicians, less so when a government attempts to change the law because one of its elite broke it!
In business here, the big news of the week was the reported record profits of the Musgrave Group, of near €100mn. Sales in their Centra and Supervalu stores across NI, ROI and Spain soared to €6.1bn in 2020. This is proof (if we ever needed it) that we all ate and drank our way through the lockdowns of the pandemic!
According to the latest Halifax monthly house price index, the average price of a home in NI has risen to £169,308, 11.3% higher than 12months ago, the strongest growth in 4months. Some 3830 homes were sold in NI during the month of September. The key factors leading to such a buoyant market include that race for space from all market segments; first time buyers being supported by parental deposits and historically low borrowing costs.