14 August

@SueArthur

14 August

Good morning,

Former US President Barack Obama delivered some of his most powerful speeches in the wake of tragic events – perhaps most memorably in 2016 when he wept openly as he recalled the tragic deaths of 26 people, including 20 children, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. 

As heartbreak strikes America again, it’s difficult not to make comparisons between President Trump’s leadership style and that of his predecessor.

On Saturday, protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, ended in tragedy when a car was driven into a group of anti-racist protesters, killing Heather Heyer, a 32-year old paralegal.
 
The protestors were rallying in opposition to members of the Ku Klux Klan and other far right organisations who had gathered to protest against the city’s decision to remove a statue commemorating Civil War general Robert Lee.
 
Trump’s decision to condemn the violence in general terms, rather than specifically denouncing the far right organisations involved, has provoked a wave of outrage from critics who believe he did not go far enough. The White House stepped in on Sunday morning in an attempt to calm the growing political row, and vice president Mike Pence assured people Trump has “clearly and unambiguously” condemned the violence.
 
More troubling for Trump, though, is the suggestion that he is quick to condemn those who cross him – only last week we saw his “fire and fury” threat to North Korea – but reluctant to cross a benefactor or those within his support base.
 
Meanwhile, Barack Obama responded to the weekend’s events via twitter, by quoting Nelson Mandela in a series of tweets, the first of which says it all: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion”.

NEWS

Backbench Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg has set out his vision for electoral success for the Conservative Party in The Telegraph. He believes that stamp duty should be cut “as a matter of urgency” as part of a return to Conservative values, while making the case for cuts to income tax. Although he has denied speculation that he is preparing to challenge Theresa May for the leadership position, his article does more to confirm suspicions than detract from them. Add to this the fact that he did not rule out that he would stand as a candidate, and this makes his protests that the stories are down to August “silly season” ring hollow.
 
Rail unions are planning protests at stations across Britain on Tuesday in advance of what are expected to be the biggest increase in rail fares in five years. Annual inflation figures for July will be released tomorrow, which will dictate by how much regulated fares will rise in 2018. Economists forecast that inflation will come in at 3.5 per cent for July – the highest reading since 2011.
 
Usain Bolt bid farewell to professional athletics as he performed a final lap of honour at closing of the World Championships at the London Stadium last night. Bolt was presented with a framed section of the track on which he won three of his eight Olympic titles during the London 2012 Games. Bolt’s last race ended prematurely on Saturday evening when he collapsed in agony during the 4x100m relay, due to an injured hamstring.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

The merger between Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life is set to complete today, after the deal cleared its final hurdle on Friday when the Court of Session in Edinburgh gave it the green light. Martin Gilbert sets out in The Telegraph why the new entity will be better equipped to provide a more dynamic approach to savings and investment. 
 
Nuclear industry giants have been called into talks with the UK government to present plans for small modular reactors, which are a fraction of the size and cost of major nuclear power stations such as the controversial Hinkley Point project. The government has been criticised for a lack of action on these plans after signalling a key role for the technology two years ago. Renewed interest in the technology is a boost for the nuclear industry.
 
Leading economist Kenneth Rogoff, professor of economics at Harvard University, has said that negative interest rates will be required in the next recession, and suggested that central banks should do more to prepare for this. Rogoff believes negative interest rates are more effective than the favoured policy of quantitative easing, and has suggested that economists’ concerns that cutting interest rates below zero would stop the flow of cash is outdated in an era where we rely on electronic payment systems.

MARKETS

The week ahead
The battle of words between North Korea and the US saw markets jittery last week, and the ongoing uncertainty and unpredictability of both leaders will continue to cause trepidation for traders.
 
This week sees a host of UK economic releases, including inflation data, retail sales, and jobs data, and market watchers will be looking to see how the pound fares.
 
In the US, the Federal Open Market Committee minutes will keep the dollar in focus amid tentative signs of a resurgence. US high street retailers including Gap, Walmart, Home Depot and Urban Outfitters release their numbers this week, while FTSE 100 companies reporting include Balfour Beatty, Kingfisher, and insurance provider Admiral.

Finals
Real Good Food

Interims
Akers Biosciences, Bovis Homes, Clarkson, Caledonia Mining Corporation

 

AGMs
Albion Venture Capital Trust, Vedanta Resources, Zananga Iron Ore

International Economic Announcements
(11:00) Industrial Production (EU)

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

In The Sunday Times, Kevin Pringle urges Donald Trump to tread carefully on Korea for fear  of nuclear war, and argues that the “madman theory” approach to international relations Trump seems to be exercising has been proved ineffective.
 
Al Gore was in the UK last week to launch a new film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to PowerThe Conversation asked Gore about his motivation for producing the sequel and his view on what’s needed to solve the climate crisis.

DID YOU KNOW?

The 14th August is Pakistan Independence Day, which commemorates the day the country was declared a sovereign nation following the end of the British Raj in 1947.

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

House of Commons
In recess until 5th September

House of Lords
In recess until 5th September

Scottish Parliament
In recess until 5th September