European markets close lower

And finally (I think), European stock markets have ended lower, as growth worries weigh on stocks.

The FTSE 100 shed almost 38 points, or 0.5%, to end at 7149, away from yesterday’s three-week highs.

Housebuilder Berkeley Group (-3%), online grocer Ocado (-2.5%) and engineering company Weir Group (-2.5%) led the fallers.

European stocks fell back too, with the Stoxx 600 losing 0.5%, having approached record highs yesterday.

David Madden, market analyst at Equiti Capital, says:

It has been a relatively subdued day in the markets even though we saw some interesting economic announcements. US traders returned to work following their long weekend, and it seemed as if their European counterparts were content sit on their hands this morning as they waited for the Americans get involved. European indices are a little lower as stocks handed back some of the solid gains that were posted yesterday. Sentiment in the US is a little weak too as the S&P 500 is 0.3% lower.

China posted strong trade data last night as imports and exports grew by 33.1% and 25.6% respectively. Both reports showed increases on the previous readings so that suggests that domestic and international demand is on the increase. Two months ago, the Chinese central bank lowered the reserve requirement ratio in a bid to encourage business activity, and now that imports are growing at a faster rate, it could be a sign the policy has worked. Typically, when China reveals robust reports it often lifts sentiment in western markets, but that has not been the case today.

The German ZEW economic sentiment reading for September fell to 26.5, the lowest mark since April. In the past few months, there have been mixed updates from Germany, so the ZEW announcement contributes to the view the largest economy in Europe might be moving down a gear.

That’s all for today, we’ll be back tomorrow... GW

Crypto currencies took a big plunge today, before dip buyers stepped in to cause prices to stage an impressive bounce from the lows, writes Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Think Markets.

At one point, Bitcoin was down over 18%, Ether was some 20% lower, Doge had shed 30% and Cardano’s ADA had lost a quarter of its value.

However, at the time of writing, crypto prices had started to rebound. Bitcoin was around 10% off its lows, but still remained well in the negative territory.

Bitcoin’s recovery started when Nayib Bukele, President of El Salvador, tweeted that he’s buying the dip! Apparently 150 new coins were added. Whether this will ignite fresh momentum buying remains to be seen. Bitcoin repeated failure to hold above $50K must be concerning some bullish investors.

It looks like the rebound in bond yields and US dollar is what has hurt cryptos – and precious metals for that matter.

Gold dropped sharply today, before the sell-off came off a bit of a pause around $1795, which is a pivotal level.

Bitcoin, meanwhile, was near the upper end of $46K handle after it had fallen to below $43K handle.

Bitcoin Crashes as El Salvador Adoption Price Pump Falters

And here’s Bloomberg’s take:

Bitcoin plunged as much as 17% to its lowest level in a month amid news El Salvador’s crypto rollout was faltering.

The largest cryptocurrency fell as low as $43,050 in New York Tuesday, tumbling more than 10% in the course of an hour after it had broken above the the closely watched $50,000 level. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, which tracks some of the largest cryptos, lost as much as 19%, while other smaller digital assets also sold off. Dash and Ethereum Classic plunged roughly 20% each.

The retreat Tuesday comes as Bitcoin faces one of its biggest test in its 12-year history as El Salvador became the first country to adopt it as legal tender Tuesday.

NEW: Bitcoin plunged as much as 17% on news that El Salvador’s crypto rollout is faltering

— Bloomberg (@business) September 7, 2021

On today’s bitcoin gyrations, Nayib Bukele, President of El Salvador, tweets that they bought the dip......

Buying the dip 😉

150 new coins added.#BitcoinDay #BTC🇸🇻

— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) September 7, 2021

It appears the discount is ending 🥲

Thanks for the dip @IMFNews. We saved a million in printed paper.

El Salvador now holds 550 bitcoin.#BitcoinDay #BTC 🇸🇻

— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) September 7, 2021

#Bitcoin crashes ~10% as El Salvador’s debut signals sell.

— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) September 7, 2021

Bitcoin tumbles in crypto selloff

Cryptocurrency asset prices have taken a tumble.

Bitcoin crumbled up to 17% at one stage before a minor rebound. It’s currently down around 9% at $47067, a fall of around $5000.

Bitcoin plunged as much as 17% before a slight rebound

— Bloomberg (@business) September 7, 2021

It's not a currency, it's a lifestyle.


— Brian Chappatta (@BChappatta) September 7, 2021

The tumble comes as El Salvador’s become the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender. But the debut was marred on launch day when the government’s digital wallet system crashed.

Sky News has the details:

President Nayib Bukele confirmed that the Chivo Wallet had been taken offline following complaints about installation problems. No time has been given for when it will be online again.

He said that server capacity was being increased - a “relatively straightforward problem to fix”, but one that needs the system to be disconnected.

“Mejor despacio y con buena letra,” he tweeted, an idiom that translates as “slowly and with good handwriting” - meaning that it’s better not to rush.

“Un poquito de paciencia,” he added, meaning “a little bit of patience”.

El Salvador's national Bitcoin system crashes as cryptocurrency becomes legal tender

— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 7, 2021

Ether has also been pummelled, down around 13% this session at $3422.

And some smaller coins are facing steeper losses.

Live Market Update from the CMC dealing desk - Crypto:#Bitcoin 46749.15 -9.98%#Ethereum 3379.84 -14.49%#BitcoinCash 639.59 -18.76%#Litecoin 177.74 -20.05%#Ripple 1.1 -20.86%
Prices are indicative only.$BTC $ETH $LTC $XRP

— CMC Markets (@CMCMarkets) September 7, 2021

Bitcoin drops by 11%
Altcoins drop twice as heavy. Some are close to -30%

Manage your risks, don't go all-in alts.#crypto #bitcoin #ethereum #cryptotrading #sol #ada #dot #xrp

— (@busyjordy) September 7, 2021


Afternoon summary: UK rate rise hint, China's exports surprise

Time for a recap:

A Bank of England policymaker has said that interest rates may need to rise in the next year, if the recovery remains on track and inflation looks more persistent.

Michael Saunders forecast that:

If the economy continues to recover, and inflation shows signs of being more persistent, then it might be right to think of interest rates going up in the next year or so.

Saunders also argued that the Bank should end its QE programme, before inflationary pressures become entrenched. He explained:

I also worry that continuing with asset purchases when CPI inflation is 4% and the output gap is closed - that’s the likely situation later this year - might well cause medium-term inflation expectations to drift higher.

Such an outcome could require a more substantial tightening of monetary policy later and might limit the committee’s scope to respond promptly the next time the economy needs more stimulus.

His warning comes as the supply chain crisis continues to push up raw materials costs, with businesses warning that they will be passed onto consumers this autumn.

Cleaning company McBride added its voice, saying that it has seen raw material costs surge -- with cardboard up 50% and some solvents costing 300% more.

Businesses have criticised the government’s plan to increase National Insurance rates to fund social care and the NHS, warning it will hit growth and cost jobs. The pound dipped against the US dollar and euro.

The disruption to work patterns has also hit trading at TP ICAP Group, the world’s largest inter-dealer broker. It blamed cautious traders working from home, who weren’t able to take as many risks as when in the office.

On the economic front, China reported a surprise surge in exports last month. They rallied over 25%, as manufacturers overcame disruption caused by the surge in Delta variant, and problems at ports.

Analysts suggested that some overseas customers had placed Christmas orders early, in an attempt to avoid supply chain disruption.

JUST IN: China’s trade unexpectedly surged in August despite virus outbreaks and disrupted global supply chains

— Bloomberg (@business) September 7, 2021

Germany painted a mixed picture. Investor confidence fell, on concerns that the supply chain crisis in the car sector and the construction industry will hurt growth.

The ZEW economic research institute said its survey of investors’ economic sentiment fell to 26.5 from 40.4 points in August.

ZEW president Achim Wambach said in a statement:

“Market experts expect the economic situation to improve. Yet the scope and dynamics of the recovery have been significantly reduced,”

“Chip shortages in the automotive sector and scarcity of resources in construction have significantly impacted expectations in those sectors.”

But German factory production returned to growth, indicating that manufacturers are gettting to grips with supply chain bottlenecks.

UK house prices hit a record high, according to the Halifax, as the market keeps rising despite the easing of the stamp duty holiday.

The average cost of a property increased by 0.7%, or £1,789, in August to £262,954, topping the previous peak of £261,642 recorded in May.

Demand for more space amid greater home working, and a shortage of homes for sale, both kept prices high, along with low borrowing costs and consumer confidence rising to pre-pandemic levels.

Takeovers of UK companies by foreign firms have surged to the highest point since the end of 2018, with more major deals under negotiation, including the £7bn sale of Morrisons to a US private equity house.

Mergers and acquisitions conducted by foreign companies of UK firms were worth £27.7bn between April and June, up from £8.3bn in the first quarter, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). That was the highest level since the last three months of 2018, when US cable giant Comcast’s £30bn takeover of Sky pushed the quarter’s total to £33.3bn.

One takeover battle moved closer to completion. British aerospace manufacturer Meggitt is a step closer to a takeover by US company Parker-Hannifin after rival suitor TransDigm said it would not make an offer.

Ohio-based TransDigm said on Tuesday that it was pulling out of the race because it was unclear that it would be able to secure a high enough return on its investment.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has ordered a national security review of a takeover by a Chinese academic of a small Welsh manufacturer of graphene – the thinnest and lightest “supermaterial” known.

Eurozone growth has been revised up - to show the single currency region expanded by 2.2% in April-June, up from 2% previously.

This comes just as the US recovery seems to falter, with the Delta variant hitting job creation last month.

With the latest upside revision to GDP numbers and the downgrade to the US forecast, the eurozone could grow more than the US in 2021. Probably won´t and who cares anyway given it comes from a deeper hole, but some people really like this kind of cute narratives.

— Ángel Talavera (@atalaveraEcon) September 7, 2021

But there’s gloomy news for wine lovers. French wine makers are expected to produce nearly a third less wine this year than usual, after their vineyards were struck by frosts, poor weather and disease during the spring and summer.

The country’s wine output is predicted to tumble by 29% this year compared with 2020, to the lowest level in decades, according to France’s agriculture ministry.

And Britain’s competition watchdog has raised concerns over Sony Music Entertainment’s $430m (£312m) deal to buy AWAL, the artist services company that has released music by artists including Little Simz, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Billie Eilish’s brother and collaborator Finneas.

South Africa’s economy grew 1.2% in the second quarter compared to the previous three months, statistics agency data showed on Tuesday.

That’s a better-than-expected outcome, driven by sectors like communications, agriculture and mining.

Reuters has the details:

In unadjusted year-on-year terms, GDP jumped 19.3% in the second quarter, reflecting a low base last year when the government shuttered much of the economy during a harsh lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Statistics South Africa’s sectoral breakdown showed the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic remained uneven.

Transport and communication activity grew 6.9% quarter on quarter, agriculture 6.2%, trade 2.2% and mining 1.9%. But finance contracted 0.4%, manufacturing 0.8% and construction 1.4%.

#SouthAfrica - Real GDP rises 1.2% q/q in non-annualised terms in Q2

GDP growth sustains and is marginally higher than in Q1

— EmergingMarketWatch (@EmergingMWatch) September 7, 2021

South Africa's economy grew 1.2% in the second quarter compared to the previous three months, statistics agency data showed on Tuesday, a better-than-expected outcome driven by sectors like communications, agriculture and mining.

— Reuters Africa (@ReutersAfrica) September 7, 2021

Sony Music’s £312m takeover of AWAL raises competition concerns, says CMA

Britain’s competition watchdog has raised concerns over Sony Music Entertainment’s $430m (£312m) deal to buy AWAL, the artist services company that has released music by artists including Little Simz, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Billie Eilish’s brother and collaborator Finneas.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the distribution of recorded music in the UK was dominated by three big groups – Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music – and the deal could lead to worse deals for musicians. Had the deal not gone ahead, AWAL could have continued to grow into a significant alternative competitor, the CMA said.

Independent providers of artist and label services, such as AWAL, offer streamlined support and a “DIY platform” for musicians that allows artists to retain ownership of their music and a greater percentage of royalties.

“We’re concerned that this deal could reduce competition in the industry, potentially worsening the deals on the table for many artists in the UK, and leading to less innovation across the industry,” said Colin Raftery, the senior director of mergers at the CMA.

“The music industry forms an important part of the UK’s flourishing entertainment sector, and it is essential that distributors continue to compete to find new and creative ways of working with artists.”

Stocks have moved a little lower on Wall Street...

Bit jittery out there#DOW 35134.69 -0.66%#SPX 4517.27 -0.40%#NDX 15622.4 -0.19%#VIX 18.15 +1.74

— IGSquawk (@IGSquawk) September 7, 2021

Here’s Professor Costas Milas of the University of Liverpool Management School on Michael Saunders’ warning of UK interest rate rises:

There is a lot of talk on whether the Bank needs to reverse Quantitative Easing (QE) and or raise interest rates in light of rising inflation.

The talk by MPC member Saunders re-visits this issue. For what is worth, since the start of QE (in March 2009), UK inflation has been below 1% some 22% of all times and above 3% ‘only’ 18% of all times. I am focussing on the 1% and 3% thresholds that trigger an explanation letter by the BoE Governor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

So MPC members can reasonably argue that there has been a slight bias in favour of undershooting the target and, therefore, since they view inflation as only transitory, they can allow for some overshooting bias before tightening policy. I am surprised they are not using this very argument.

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Wall Street this month.
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Wall Street this month. Photograph: Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

Wall Street has made a subdued start to the week, as trading begins after Monday’s Labor Day break.

The Dow Jones industrial average has dipped by 201 points, or 0.55%, to 35,167 points.

The broader S&P 500 index is down 0.3%, while the tech-focused Nasdaq has crept to a new record high.

On the Dow, investment banks JP Morgan (+1%) and Goldman Sachs (+0.7%), credit card firm Visa (+0.7%) and tech giant Apple (+0.55%) are leading the risers.

Manufacturing conglomerate 3M (-2.1%), pharmaceuticals group Merck (-2%) and biotech company Amgen (-2%) are leading the Dow fallers.

Nasdaq registers all-time intraday high early Tuesday; Dow, S&P slip

— MarketWatch (@MarketWatch) September 7, 2021

Investors may be worrying that growth is slowing, after last week’s disappointing US payrolls report, and the news that Goldman Sachs has trimmed its forecast for US GDP this year.

Pound dips as employers warn national insurance hike will cost jobs

The pound has fallen back against the US dollar and the euro after Boris Johnson outlined plans to lift national insurance contributions to pay for social care costs and the NHS.

Under the PM’s controversial plan, national insurance will rise by 1.25 percentage points -- increasing the tax burden on both employers and employees.

Tax on share dividends will also be increased by 1.25 percentage points, in a move expected to raise £600m.

Much of the revenue initially will be devoted to cutting waiting lists in the NHS, with social care receiving only £5.3bn of the £36bn expected to be raised over the next three years. Here’s the full story:

Sterling has dropped by half a cent against a stronger US dollar, to $1.378. It’s also slipped to a seven-week low against the euro, before recovering some losses.

Pound extends day's losses after UK announces tax hikes

— Reuters UK (@ReutersUK) September 7, 2021

Business groups have warned that the plan will hit the economy and cost jobs.

Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of manufacturers group Make UK, said putting a tax on jobs and workers at a time when Government is pulling the furlough scheme is “ill-timed as well as illogical”.

“Economic history tells us that job cuts are most likely when the economy starts to open again after a downturn because firms need the capital to reset. After witnessing large scale redundancies at the height of the pandemic and the plug being pulled on the furlough scheme, Government should be putting in place measures to protect jobs and incentivise recruitment.

An increase to NI would have the opposite effect. As such Government must examine others streams of raising revenue ; we need to nurture growth not put an anchor on recovery.

The Institute of Directors has also blasted the plan, with chief economist Kitty Ussher saying:

“This is an extraordinary time to be adding additional burden to business and the cost of employing staff, just as it looks to recover from the pandemic. It smacks of political opportunism, exploiting public sentiment at the expense of some of the most productive and entrepreneurial segments of the economy.

“The surprise new tax on dividends will yet again target small company directors. Incorporated sole traders and other owner-managers, who relied on dividend income, were the only group of workers that were not supported by government during the pandemic.

If the plan does weigh on the economy, it could make it harder for the Bank of England to raise interest rates as soon as some expect....

Markets' expectations that the MPC will raise Bank Rate in Q2 2022 look way off the mark, now that households are going to be hit by a tax increase in April that will reduce the average workers' tax-home pay by 1.2%.

— Samuel Tombs (@samueltombs) September 7, 2021

Expect the tax rises just announced to raise about £12 billion a year, about 0.5% of GDP.

Remember that's on top of £25 bn of tax rises announced in the Budget.

This is a huge year for tax rises: a permanent increase of 1.5% of national income to highest in peacetime

— Paul Johnson (@PJTheEconomist) September 7, 2021

Something like this was always going to happen, pandemic or no pandemic. The rises are permanent and reflect the long term costs of ageing through health and social care.

This was known at the election, before the pandemic

— Paul Johnson (@PJTheEconomist) September 7, 2021

Latest hikes, on top of those unveiled in March (corporation tax, freezing personal allowances) means gov will be taking an £36bn/ year out of household and company’s earnings by 2025 to pay for pandemic fallout & social care. Typical household may face extra bill of near £500

— Dharshini David (@DharshiniDavid) September 7, 2021


UK budget and spending review set for October 27

Heads-up: UK chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver a three-year spending plan and a budget statement on Wednesday October 27, the Treasury has said.

Sunak, who has ramped up public spending to protect the economy against the hit from the coronavirus pandemic, had previously said he would announce the latest official economic forecasts on that date (via Reuters).

Another big Government announcement: the Chancellor will deliver a three year Whitehall-wide Spending Review AND the Budget on Wednesday October 27. Big day.

— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) September 7, 2021

...NOTE: departments are being asked by the Treasury to find 5% "savings and efficiencies" from their day-to-day spending budgets

— Ben Chu (@BenChu_) September 7, 2021

The news comes as Boris Johnson confirmed his government will impose a manifesto-busting £12bn-a-year package of tax increases from next April to tackle NHS Covid backlogs and overhaul social care.


TransDigm pulls out of Meggitt takeover battle

Just in: US aerospace company TransDigm has dropped its attempt to take over UK defence rival Meggitt.

TransDigm says that “after careful consideration” it does not intent to make a firm offer for the historic UK firm, which was in a two-way takeover battle.

Last month, TransDigm announced it was considering a 900p-a-share takeover bid for Meggitt, which would have trumped a 800p-a-share offer from US rival Parker Hannifin.

Today, though, TransDigm Chairman W. Nicholas Howley says.

“We have long admired and studied the Meggitt business and believed that a combination between the two companies could provide value to investors of both companies. However, based on the quite limited due diligence information that was made available and the resulting uncertainties, TransDigm could not conclude that an offer of 900 pence per Meggitt share would meet our long-standing goals for value creation and investor returns.

TransDigm and our advisers put substantial time, effort, resources and expense into evaluating a potential transaction. We reached a memorandum of understanding with the Meggitt Pension Plan trustees, arranged the necessary financing for the acquisition which we anticipated would position us roughly in the range of leverage levels that we have used historically for larger acquisitions, and communicated our willingness to make commitments to HM Government comparable to those offered by the other bidder for Meggitt.

However, consistent with our disciplined approach to capital allocation, we make acquisitions only when we see a clear path to achieving our investment return goals with a reasonable degree of certainty.”

Shares in Meggitt have tumbled 12% to 733p, from 839p last night.

Meggitt tumbles as TransDigm says it won't make an offer

— (@Sharecastcom) September 7, 2021

Meggit makes wheels, brakes, sensors, valves, fuel tanks and other components for commercial and military aircraft, such as F-35 and Typhoon fighter jets, and big civilian planes made by Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier.

The UK government said last month it is taking an “active interest” in Parker Hannifin’s approach, amid concerns over its impact on British jobs and investment.

Parker has made a series of commitments to the UK government, including honouring contracts, ensuring the majority of the board are UK nationals, and increasing research and development spend in the country by 20 % the next five years.

But most of Parker’s legal commitments are binding for only one year (apart from five-year R&D pledge), and there are fears jobs could be cut in areas of overlap between the two businesses, such as central corporate and support functions.


TP ICAP: working from home dampens risk-taking

TP ICAP Group, the world’s largest inter-dealer broker, has blamed the move to home working and Brexit for a drop in trading volumes that hit its profits in the first six months of 2021.

In its half-year results today, TP ICAP says the markets have continued to be “uncommonly quiet” in the first half of this year.

It pins some of the blame on the pandemic, which forced its clients to work remotely with “reduced risk limits”. It also cites the government and central bank stimulus packages which have flattened yields, and efforts to comply with post-Brexit trading rules.

TP ICAP, which brings together buyers and sellers in the financial, energy and commodity markets, says:

  • The resurgence of COVID-19 that continued to impact our clients, with traders working from home and effectively having to limit their risk appetites;

  • The disruption due to Brexit, which was especially notable at the EMEA region during the first few months of the year, as market participants sought to ensure full trading compliance with the prevalent rules in an ever-changing environment; and

  • General government actions designed to support the wider economy, through low interest rates and large quantitative easing programmes.

The traders that generally would be taking more risk have not been really able to take as much risk, said Joanna Nader, TP ICAP’s global head of strategy, via Bloomberg.

“They’re working from home, it’s not as easy to supervise them -- and so banks have generally taken the view that they want them to have lower risk limits.”

“Hopefully, when people start returning to the office we start to have a more normal type of environment,” she said.

“When asset managers come back to the office and start taking more views on the markets and on their funds, then that translates into more dealer activity.”

Real risk-taking happens in the office. That’s the view of the world’s largest interdealer broker, TP ICAP

— Bloomberg (@business) September 7, 2021

TP ICAP reported a pretax profit of £28m for the first half of the year, down from £78m in H1 2020.

Shares are down 9% so far today, the worst performer on the FTSE 250, to their lowest since last November.


The City is taking Michael Saunders’ comments about future rate rises in their stride - with little market reaction.

As Bloomberg points out, he is the Bank’s most hawkish member - and he’s only hinted at limited rate rises today:

The Bank of England’s most hawkish policy maker says even if interest rates rise in the next year, it’ll be a limited shift.

Michael Saunders, the Monetary Policy Committee’s sole dissenter at the U.K. central bank’s August meeting, said that if the economy evolves as forecast, it might be right to think rates will go up in the next year or so. The BOE’s current policy stance risks “persistent inflation overshoot versus the 2% target” due to pressure from global costs and domestic capacity pressures, he said.

Still, if the key rate does rise, it won’t be by much, given that the bout of above-target price growth this year is expected to be temporary, and that the neutral level of interest rates has fallen significantly over the past 20 years, he said.

“It’s not clear we would even need to get back to neutral,” he told an online briefing.

BOE’s Saunders says any rate rise in the next year will be limited via @lizzzburden

— Zoe Schneeweiss (@ZSchneeweiss) September 7, 2021


Jesús Cabra Guisasola, associate at Validus Risk Management, says today’s upgraded eurozone growth figures could encourage some hawkish policymakers at the European Central Bank to consider slowing their stimulus package.

“The eurozone economy continued showing signs of a strong recovery with growth of 2.2% Q/Q in Q2. Additionally, the employment rate rose 0.7% Q/Q for the same quarter vs -0.2% in Q1 and these numbers come one week after the Euro CPI raised to the highest level in nearly a decade (3.0%). While euro-area central bankers have been mostly united behind the measures taken to sustain the eurozone through the Covid-19 recession, the return towards normality is splitting the consensus with the hawkish central bankers starting to raise their voices for a scaling back of the stimulus.

“The Governing Council will need to assess on Thursday whether the spread of the Delta variant continues to be a threat or if a slower pace of the bond purchases is needed to get inflation under control. Nevertheless, risk continues to be on the table as the pandemic is leaving a legacy of high debt and weak balance sheets, and a scaling back of the stimulus could disrupt the funding market and the unveven recovery of the eurozone.

“EURUSD traded higher after the release of the data and is approaching to the 1.19 physiological resistance level.”

More deal news... The Times are reporting that 888 Holdings has won the race to acquire William Hill’s European operations after outbidding Apollo Global Management with an estimated bid of more than £2bn.

More here.

EXCLUSIVE: 888 Holdings wins William Hill auction with £2 billion-plus bid, beating Apollo to the line.
Story to follow on @TimesBusiness shortly

— Dominic Walsh (@walshdominic) September 7, 2021


Speaking of takeovers....Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has ordered a national security review of a takeover by a Chinese academic of a small Welsh manufacturer of graphene – the thinnest and lightest “supermaterial” known.

In a rare move, Kwarteng instructed the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to review the planned takeover of Perpetuus Group by Taurus International or any companies associated with Dr Zhongfu Zhou.

Zhou, who is listed as “chief nanotechnology scientist” on Perpetuus’s website, has business interests in China and has spent years working on the wonder material.

Perpetuus, which has three sites in south Wales, makes graphene and carbon nanotubes, materials that are hoped to have useful applications in an array of industries ranging from electronics and defence to medicine and making super-strength condoms.

The materials are extraordinary electrical conductors and can be stronger than steel.

Here’s the full story:

Foreign takeovers of UK firms hits highest level since late 2018

Takeovers of UK companies by new foreign owners spiked between April and June, led by increased interest from North America, PA Media report.

Inward mergers and acquisitions (M&A) - which means foreign companies buying UK firms - increased from £8.3bn in the first quarter of 2021 to £27.7bn in the second.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that inward M&A reached its highest point since the last three months of 2018 - when Comcast’s £30bn takeover of Sky pushed the quarter’s total to to £33.3bn.

By comparison, inward M&A reached just £35.3bn in the whole of 2017, which was higher than at any point between 2011 and 2015.

Value of UK takeovers by foreign companies
Value of UK takeovers by foreign companies Photograph: ONS

Between April and June this year there were two big deals, both run in part out of North America.

Intact Financial Corporation of Canada teamed up with Scandinavian insurer Tryg to buy London’s RSA for £7.2bn.

And in April, US company Allied Universal beat Canada’s GardaWorld in the race to buy London-listed security company G4S for £3.8bn.

But a series of more recent deals, some of which have been agreed but have yet to complete, and others that are still in the bidding process, are not included in this data.

This includes the potential £7bn sale of Morrisons to a US private equity company, and the controversial £1bn deal for cigarette giant Philip Morris to buy inhaler-maker Vectura.

Bids are also in for two defence contractors - Ultra Electronics has agreed to be bought for £2.6bn, while Meggitt has received a bid for around £7bn.

John Laing has accepted a £2bn from US private equity companies, while CVC has agreed a £767m takeover of Stock Spirits.

According to data from Refinitiv, buyout companies across the world have been heavily targeting UK firms, putting around 10% of their total spend here over the first six months of the year.

According to the ONS data, outward M&A - UK companies buying foreign firms - reached £6bn in the second quarter, up from £1.7bn the quarter before.

Domestic M&A - UK firms buying other UK firms - hit £10.6bn, up from £4.5bn.

Value of domestic mergers in the UK

#Eurozone econ grew more than initially estimated in Q2 2021. GDP expanded by 2.2% from prev quarter, Eurostat said as it reported its third & final estimate for the period. According to 2nd estimate, econ had grown by 2.0%. This expansion follows a QoQ drop of 0.3% in Q1 2021.

— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) September 7, 2021

Eurozone recovery stronger than thought

The eurozone economy recovered more rapidly than thought from its winter lockdowns.

Updated GDP figures show that the eurozone expanded by 2.2% in April-June, up from a first estimate of 2%.

Consumer spending drove the recovery. Household final consumption expenditure increased by 3.7% in the quarter, as people returned to shops, hospitality venues and leisure sites.

Government spending also boosted growth, through stimulus packages and health measures to fight the pandemic.

Euro area #GDP +2.2% in Q2 2021, +14.3% compared with Q2 2020

— EU_Eurostat (@EU_Eurostat) September 7, 2021

Ireland (+6.3%) recorded the sharpest increase of GDP compared to the previous quarter, followed by Portugal (+4.9%), Latvia (+4.4%) and Estonia (+4.3%).

Small declines were observed in Malta (-0.5%) and Croatia (-0.2%).

In contrast, the UK expanded by 4.8% in Q2, while the US grew by 1.6% - recovering its pandemic losses.

The euro-area economy expanded faster than previously reported in the second quarter, bolstered by a surge in consumer spending

— Bloomberg (@business) September 7, 2021

German investor morale falls as shortages hold back recovery

Shortages of semiconductors and building materials have hurt investor confidence in Germany.

The ZEW economic research institute has reported that its gauge of economic expectations fell to 26.5 in September from 40.4 in August, a larger fall than expected.

ZEW President Achim Wambach said in a statement that markets experts still expect the economic situation to improve, but not as strongly as before.

“Global chip shortages in the automobile sector and the shortage of building materials in the construction sector have caused a significant reduction in profit expectations for these sectors, dampening economic expectations”.

The German #ZEW Indicator, reflecting expectations of future economic growth, fell to 26.5 in September. While this was lower than expected, the chart also shows that the level remains elevated compared to the long-term average.

— jeroen blokland (@jsblokland) September 7, 2021

Historically, the German #ZEW Index has been closely correlated with the year-on-year change in the #DAX Index.

— jeroen blokland (@jsblokland) September 7, 2021


Michael Saunders’ suggestion that interest rates could rise in the next year are interesting, but it’s worth remembering that he’s on the hawkish end of the monetary policy committee.

So says analyst Neil Wilson of

Interesting comments from the Bank of England’s Michael Saunders this morning, who said it might be right to think of rates going up in the next year or so. He indicated that the economy was already about the same size as it was before the pandemic, that inflation has been stronger than expected, and that the country does not need as much stimulus as previously.

However, it should be noted that Saunders is about the most hawkish on the nine-member MPC so does not speak for the central consensus. I don’t think it tells us much we don’t already know but it underscores the conundrum facing central banks today as to when to ease off the gas.

Saunders makes an important point in noting that continuing asset purchases when inflation is 4% might cause medium-term inflation expectations to drift higher, which could cause a more severe monetary policy response down the road. If central banks don’t get a grip on it now, they could be faced with bigger problems later – but they are all deeply paranoid about choking off recovery too soon.

The pound tried to rally against the US dollar after Saunders comments hit the wires, but “quickly reversed to hit its weakest since 2nd September” at just over $1.38, Wilson adds.


Bank of England's Saunders: interest rates could rise next year

A Bank of England policymaker has suggested that UK interest rates could rise in the next year, if the recovery continues and rising prices lead to ‘more persistent’ inflationary pressures.

Michael Saunders, a member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee which sets rates, told an online session this morning that the economic outlook would determine when interest rates will rise from their current record low of 0.1%.

Saunders explained:

If the economy continues to recover, and inflation shows signs of being more persistent, then it might be right to think of interest rates going up in the next year or so.

He added “that’s not a promise”, as any rise in borrowing costs will depend on economic conditions.

Saunders also predicted that any rise in interest rates in the next year or so should be “relatively limited”, given that the neutral level of interest is much lower than it used to be [this is the point where rates are neither stimulating the economy nor restricting growth].

It’s not clear that we would even need to get back to neutral in that period, Saunders added, in an online event hosted by accounting software package QuickBooks.

Inflation dropped back to the Bank’s 2% target in July, but is expected to surge to around 4% by the end of this year.

Raw material costs having risen sharply since the pandemic disrupted supply chains -- as cleaning firm McBride warned this morning.

Business leaders have warned that households face a rise in living costs this autumn, with household energy bills and food prices both set to rise.

Saunders also explained why he voted to cut short the Bank’s QE bond-buying stimulus programme at last month’s MPC meeting (but was outvoted by the other committee members).

My own view at the August meeting was that with the recovery in the economy, and inflation back to target, we no longer need as much monetary stimulus as previously.

Saunders fears that with the current policy stance, the UK faces “a persistent inflation overshoot versus the 2% target”.

He points to rising price pressures globally, greater domestic cost and capacity pressures, and a rapid drop in unemployment over the coming quarters.

He also fears that pressing on with the £895bn QE programme will push inflation expectations higher, forcing a more vigorous tightening of policy.

I also worry that continuing with asset purchases when CPI inflation is 4% and the output gap is closed - that’s the likely situation later this year - might well cause medium-term inflation expectations to drift higher.

Such an outcome could require a more substantial tightening of monetary policy later and might limit the committee’s scope to respond promptly the next time the economy needs more stimulus.

Saunders insists that ending the current asset purchase programme would still leave a “very supportive monetary stance in place”, and probably not derail the welcome recovery in the economy.

He compares it to easing off the accelerator, rather than applying the brakes.

Reuters’ Andy Bruce has more details:

BoE's Saunders 🦅
* May be right for rates to rise over next year
* More QE risks boshing price expectations
* Inflation drivers transitory
* UK economy probs at Q4 2019 level
* Brexit, via slower capital stock growth and labour supply, may have bigger long-term impact vs COVID

— Andy Bruce (@BruceReuters) September 7, 2021

Here you go Shaun - it's a YouTube live thing

— Andy Bruce (@BruceReuters) September 7, 2021

BoE's Saunders
- Inflation has risen fasted than expected
- It might be right to think of rates going up in the next year or so, depending on economic conditions

— DailyFX Team Live (@DailyFXTeam) September 7, 2021


Cleaning firm McBride looks to pass 'unprecedented cost increases' onto customers

cleaning products

Cleaning product maker McBride has warned that the prices of its products will rise, as it passes on a surge in raw material costs that have eaten into its profits.

McBride, which issued a profit warning last month, told investors this morning that it has faced “exceptional input cost inflation”, due to the severe challenges seen across industries from supply chain shortages caused by Covid-19.

This has led to a “rapid and exceptional” surge in prices of key materials such as cardboard and solvents.

McBride, which makes domestic household and professional cleaning and hygiene products, says:

The size of cost increases in materials including plastics, cardboard and surfactants is unprecedented and is coupled with challenges with freight availability and costs adding further inflationary pressures.

Compared to one year ago, cardboard is priced more than 50% higher, Ethylene is 50% up impacting on plastics and surfactants and certain solvents over 300% higher. On average, the Group is predicted to see the peak of these raw materials in the autumn this year with the most impacted division, Liquids, seeing raw materials nearly 20% higher than one year ago.

These input cost rises have ultimately sealed the fate of two sizeable German competitors who have filed for insolvency, McBride warns.

McBride’s range includes Surcare washing products, Oven Pride cleaners, Clean N Fresh bleach, Actiff disinfectant and healthcare cleaning range Hospec.

Chris Smith, chief executive officer, says McBride is continuing to try to implement price increases in response to its surging costs:

“This year has been one of two halves, with a strong first half followed by a more difficult second. In our recent trading update we highlighted the supply side cost inflation being felt due to rapidly increasing raw material costs and freight capacity.

The £10m of savings expected in the current financial year leave us well placed to meet these challenges and our efforts to recoup input cost rises from customers continue.

Cost of cleaning products set to rocket, warns manufacturer

— Premier Radio Wrexham (@RadioWrexham) September 7, 2021

European markets have opened lower, though.

The FTSE 100 index is 18 points lower at 7168, down 0.25%. Healthcare and financials are the worst-performing sectors, followed by industrials and consumer-focused stocks.

Packaging firm DS Smith are the top riser, up 2.1%, after an upbeat trading statement. It reported that trading has improved despite rising costs for paper, due to “notable increases in the cost of energy and transportation”.

World markets at record high

Global stock markets have touched a fresh record high today.

Investors remain hopeful that the economic recovery will continue, and that the US Federal Reserve will resist slowing its asset purchase stimulus programme soon.

World shares, measured by MSCI’s gauge of 50 markets, inched up by 0.1% to record their eighth consecutive day of record highs.

World shares at record high as investors count on Fed largesse

— Reuters (@Reuters) September 7, 2021

China’s unexpected surge in exports in August has bolstered confidence in the recovery, pushing its CSI 300 index up by 1.5% today.

Japan’s stocks continued their rally, with the Topix hitting a 30-year high on hopes that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will launch fresh economic stimulus measures -- after PM Yoshihide Suga pledged to step down last week.

The benchmark Nikkei rallied by almost 1%, rising over the psychological barrier of 30,000 for the first time since April.

Plus, investors are betting that the sharp slowdown in US job creation in August means the Fed will resist tapering for a little longer.

Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avatrade, says:

Financial markets are upbeat because investors interpreted Friday’s disappointing jobs report as a reason for the Fed to postpone its tapering of bond purchases.

The Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell, stated that the labor market’s health remains a strong factor influencing their tapering decision, and that the central bank will closely monitor economic data in coming months to avoid making any impulsive decisions.

A shortage of houses on the market is helping to drive prices up.

Halifax’s latest house price index shows how the stock of homes on the market has dropped steadily over recent years.

Halifax house price index
Halifax house price index Photograph: Halifax

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, says the supply of properties looks ‘increasingly tight’:

Much of the impact from the stamp duty holiday has now left the market, as highlighted by the drop in industry transaction numbers compared to a year ago. However, while such Government schemes have provided vital stimulus, there have also been other significant drivers of house price inflation.

“We believe structural factors have driven record levels of buyer activity – such as the demand for more space amid greater home working. These trends look set to persist and the price gains made since the start of the pandemic are unlikely to be reversed once the remaining tax break comes to an end later this month.

“Moreover, the macroeconomic environment is becoming increasingly positive, with job vacancies at a record high and consumer confidence returning to pre-pandemic levels. Coupled with a supply of properties for sale that looks increasingly tight, and barring any reimposition of lockdown measures or a significant increase in unemployment as job support schemes are unwound later this year, these factors should continue to support prices in the near-term.”

UK house prices hit record high despite cut in stamp duty break

The average UK house price reached a fresh record high in August while annual inflation cooled to a five-month low, after the partial end of the stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland.

Halifax, one of the country’s biggest mortgage lenders, said the average cost of a property increased by 0.7%, or £1,789, to £262,954, topping the previous peak of £261,642 recorded in May.

The annual rate of house price inflation slowed to 7.1%, the lowest since March and down from 7.6% in July. However, compared with June 2020, when the housing market began to reopen after the first Covid-19 lockdown, prices remain more than £23,600, or 9.9%, higher.

Prices have jumped the most in Wales, up 11.6% year on year and the only double-digit rise recorded in the UK during August. The south-west also recorded strong growth at 9.6%, probably reflecting the ongoing demand for rural living within the region, Halifax said. Annual house price inflation in the north-east rose to 8% and Northern Ireland picked up to 9.3%, while price growth in Scotland slowed to 8.4%

More here:

ING: welcome signs of life in German industrial production

The 1% jump in industrial output in July has brought the long-awaited rebound of German industry, says Carsten Brzeski of ING.

But.... today’s data shows sign of life rather than a performance explosion, he cautions, as supply chain frictions remain a bigger threat to the German industry than the pandemic.

Brzeski writes:

Remember that, despite a lifting of restrictions around the world, German industrial production disappointed in the second quarter, dropping every month between April and June. Supply chain frictions such as the blockage in the Suez Canal and semiconductor delivery problems affected key sectors of German industry and more than offset the positive impact from lifted restrictions. Supply chain frictions have not disappeared but at least in July, the pipeline pressure from filled order books and low inventories was simply too strong not to see industrial production surging.

And he rather deliciously compares supply chain disruption to a blocked ketchup bottle...

We have mentioned before that German industry is waiting for the “ketchup bottle effect”. Remember the glass ketchup bottle that you shake and tap all you want with no result until suddenly it all comes flooding out and your food is smothered in ketchup? Given that supply chain frictions are likely to continue clogging industrial activity for some time yet, today’s industrial production data might not have been the start of the ketchup bottle effect but rather a very welcome catching up.

Sign of life rather than a performance explosion in German industrial production in July | Snap | ING Think - Catching up a little bit. After a disappointing second quarter, industrial production has finally offered some long-expected signs of life.

— Carsten Brzeski (@carstenbrzeski) September 7, 2021

German factory output beats forecasts

Workers assemble enclosures at the factory of German caravan and trailer maker Knaus-Tabbert AG at their headquarters in Jandelsbrunn near Passau, Germany
Workers assemble enclosures at the factory of German caravan and trailer maker Knaus-Tabbert AG at their headquarters in Jandelsbrunn near Passau, Germany Photograph: Andreas Gebert/Reuters

In another boost, German factories have overcome supply shortages and lifted their output in July.

Industrial production in Europe’s largest economy beat forecasts, growing by 1.0% in July, despite the struggle to obtain raw materials and parts.

Manufacturing output grew by 1.3%, lifted by a 3.2% jump in production of heavy-duty capital goods (such as machinery and equipment).

That follows a 1.0% drop in industrial output (which includes energy and construction) in June.

The turnaround may show that factories are slowly overcoming the supply bottlenecks that have hurt the economy.

On an annual basis, factory output was 5.7% higher than in July 2020 -- although also around 5.5% lower in than before the pandemic.

#Production in July 2021: +1.0% on the previous month

— Destatis news (@destatis_news) September 7, 2021

Reuters has more details:

“After the decline in industrial production in the second quarter, the third quarter got off to a friendly start,” the economy ministry said.

The mighty automobile industry increased its output by 1.9% and the machinery and engineering sector hiked production by 6.9%, the ministry said.

“Even if the supply bottlenecks with semiconductors, which have slowed down production, are likely to persist for a while, the output figures suggest that industry could have overcome its low point,” the ministry added.

More details and reaction to China’s trade data:

A whopping $58 billion is China's surplus on trade in products in August. It points to a yearly $550 billion, that would be a new all-time high achieved for two or three years in a row (I need to check it later. It is preliminary data, not uploaded yet at Bureau of Stats)

— Rafael Jimenez (@RafaJBuendia) September 7, 2021

China's export and import both rose last month despite delta demand concerns and severe port congestions. #Crudeoil imports reached a 5-mth high at 10.5m b/d and iron ore a 4-mth high at 97.5m tons. #Coal imports slowed while copper held steady

— Ole S Hansen (@Ole_S_Hansen) September 7, 2021

China's #ironore imports in August picked up for first time in 5 months, rising 10.1% M/M, although demand remained lacklustre amid #Beijing's #steel output controls. #China brought in 97.49 mn T of iron ore last month vs 88.51 mn T imported in July, but down 2.9% Y/Y

— Neha Anand (@Neha_1007) September 7, 2021

Chinese data today shows imports from Australia hitting another record - US$18.1 billion in August. Once again, likely mostly driven by iron ore, which also hit another record (by value).

— James Mayger (@JDMayger) September 7, 2021

Introduction: China's export growth surges in boost to economy

A crane loads a container onto a truck at Lianyungang Port in Lianyungang in China’s eastern Jiangsu province today
A crane loads a container onto a truck at Lianyungang Port in Lianyungang in China’s eastern Jiangsu province today Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

China’s exports have surged unexpectedly, as strong overseas demand helped the world’s second-largest economy overcome the impact of fresh Delta variant outbreaks.

Exports jumped 25.6% in dollar terms in August, compared to a year before, to reach $294.3bn. That’s an acceleration from July, when exports rose 19.3% year-on-year -- and rather faster than expected.

Imports were also strong, jumping over 33% year-on-year to $236bn, leading to a trade surplus of $58.3bn for August.

This better-than-expected trade data will calm some worries that China’s economy was entering a sharp slowdown, as Beijing clamps down on technology giants and the education sector, and tightens restrictions on its real estate sector.

Some overseas customers may have brought forward their orders for products to sell in the Christmas and Thanksgiving season -- worried that supply chains will struggle to cope with demand. Export growth of machineries and hi-tech products were strong.

Bloomberg says:

“The hot season for Christmas came earlier than previous years,” said Xing Zhaopeng, senior China strategist at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Shanghai. New products from Apple Inc. created demand, while delta virus outbreaks in Southeast Asia probably caused orders to be diverted to China, he said.

“It will remain strong before November,” he said.

The top three exports by value were electronics, high-tech products, and clothing and clothing accessories, while the top imports were electronics and high-tech products, the data showed.

JUST IN: China’s trade unexpectedly surged in August despite virus outbreaks and disrupted global supply chains

— Bloomberg (@business) September 7, 2021

China’s manufacturers had to overcome disruption at ports due to the pandemic.

Ningbo, the world’s third-largest port, was partly closed for a time last month after an employee tested positive for coronavirus, leading to delays in getting good in and out of the country.

Reuters says:

Zhang Yi, Beijing-based economist at Zhonghai Shengrong Capital Management, said China’s exports may sustain its strong growth into the fourth quarter, with overseas demand for Chinese goods over the Christmas season possibly exceeding expectations.

“We believe the main constraint facing China’s exports right now is the very stretched international shipping capacity.”

China's total imports and exports expanded 23.7% YoY to 24.78 trillion yuan ($3.84 trillion) in the first eight months of the year, official data showed Tuesday.

— Modern China (@PDChinaBusiness) September 7, 2021

Data last week showed China’s service sector contracted in August, due to pandemic restrictions, but exporter seem to have fared better.

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA, says the trade data will alleviate slowdown fears:

Although the numbers are less rosy in Yuan terms and base effects slightly flatter, the data is still impressive, coming against a background of sporadic delta variant closures, port congestion, supply chain bottlenecks and higher commodity prices.

Asian equities are breathing a sigh of relief, and oil prices have moved higher post-data.

In the UK, meanwhile, the supply chain crisis continues to gather pace.

Yesterday, one of Britain’s biggest builders’ merchants warned of shortages of materials as the UK construction industry struggles under mounting pressure from the deepest supply chain crisis in decades.

Jewson has told customers that prices for a range of goods – including timber, wheelbarrows, insulation and adhesives – will rise by as much as a fifth this month amid growing evidence from across the construction sector of severe and sustained disruption linked to Covid and Brexit.

The warning came as building firms reported slower growth, and car sales dropped in the struggle to obtain semiconductors.

European markets are expected to open slightly lower, as traders wait for Wall Street to return after Monday’s Labor Day holiday.

European Opening Calls:#FTSE 7168 -0.27%#DAX 15912 -0.13%#CAC 6738 -0.08%#AEX 798 -0.05%#MIB 26267 +0.01%#IBEX 8871 -0.13%#OMX 2392 -0.10%#STOXX 4240 -0.14%#IGOpeningCall

— IGSquawk (@IGSquawk) September 7, 2021

The agenda

  • 7am BST: Halifax index of UK house prices in August
  • 7am BST: German industrial production for July
  • 10am BST: Updated eurozone growth figures for Q2
  • 10am BST: ZEW survey of German and EU economic morale in September
  • 10.30am BST: South Africa’s Q2 GDP figures



Graeme Wearden

The GuardianTramp

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