2 August 2019

@sayhisalowe

2 August 2019

Good morning,

When I first moved to Glasgow to attend university, there were ominous whispers about the rivalry between my new home base and Edinburgh. I had a hard time believing that two cities, only a 45-minute train ride apart, could juxtapose each other so strongly. 

Yet the tribalism was in part fuelled by deep-seated stereotypes: team Glesga’s reputation grew from industrial roots in the nineteenth century, its convivial inhabitants generalised as ‘diamonds in the rough’ with legendary hospitality. Conversely, residents of Auld Reekie, which was of course home to the Enlightenment, tended to be pigeonholed as a bit bookish and posh, primed for intellectual debate but insistent that ‘you’ll have had your tea.’  

Not wanting to step on any toes, I’ve kept it a carefully guarded secret that I’ve been living in Glasgow and commuting to Edinburgh this summer. Lest I be charged with municipal treason, promise me this never leaves the world wide web. 

Can you believe it all started over a loaf of bread?  

The rivalry rages on as Edinburgh makes gains on Glasgow as a hub for technology and innovation. Online food delivery company Deliveroo announced yesterday that it is opening its first technology base outside of London, and the location is set to be none other than Scotland’s capital.  

The decision came after Deliveroo acquired Edinburgh software consultancy Cultivate, which had already been working with Deliveroo for three years on developing the platform’s payment system.  

Deliveroo’s three-year goal is to hire 50 highly-skilled tech experts in Edinburgh, which more than triples the current workforce. The Scottish operation will focus on optimising Deliveroo’s software to give delivery riders useful information on earnings to help them manage finances.  

The acquisition news broke just a few days after food delivery services Takeaway and Just Eat announced they were in the advanced stages of a $10 billion merger, a consolidation meant to tackle Uber Eats and Amazon’s attempted $575 million investment in Deliveroo (currently blocked and being investigated by a competition watchdog).   

So, it seems like Glasgow and Edinburgh aren’t the only ones with a heated rivalry. The showdown between Uber Eats, team Just Eat/Takeaway, and Amazon-backed Deliveroo is getting hotter than an order of phaal.  

News

North Korea has fired two more short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan, making this its third weapon test in eight days. Officials assume the continued tests are a reaction to planned military exercises between the US and South Korea. After a meeting at the UN Security Council, the UK, France and Germany said international sanctions needed to be fully enforced until North Korea dismantled its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.  

A new royal decree from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ruled that women in Saudi Arabia can apply for a passport and travel abroad without the permission of a male guardian. The same decree states that all citizens have the right to work without discrimination of gender, age or disability. Women now also have the right to register child birth, marriage and divorce.  

Thousands were evacuated from Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire after part of a reservoir wall collapsed, and officials feared that floods would swamp the town. While engineers pump water from the 300-million-gallon Toddbrook Reservoir, the town’s 6,500 residents were told to gather in a school with their pets and any necessary medication. The Environment Agency reports 85% of Whaley Bridge residents have left their homes. 

The Liberal Democrats’ win in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election was hailed by Jo Swinson as a blow to a no-deal Brexit. Jane Dodds beat incumbent Conservative Chris Davies by 1,425 votes, overturning an 8,038 majority. Officials say it is the quickest by-election defeat for any new prime minister since World War II. 

Business & Economy

Donald Trump announced that the US would place a 10% tariff on $300 billion of additional Chinese goods, thus escalating tensions and the trade war between the US and China. The announcement has shaken financial markets, with the 10-year US Treasury bond yield falling to its lowest level since 2016. (£)  

The Bank of England has warned that the pound will fall, inflation will rise, and growth will tumble if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Officials have also warned that even with a deal, there is a one in three chance that the economy will still shrink or its growth will stall due to business investment being paralyzed and US-China trade war hits exports. If the UK and EU manage to strike a deal, the Bank of England’s Governor Mark Carney estimates that business investment will recover and household spending will pick up, ‘broadly in line with robust real income growth.’  

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government plans to create up to 10 free ports spanning the UK after Brexit. Outside of normal tax and customs rules, the new ports will allow firms to import goods and re-export them. Johnson said he believes these zones may help create jobs in ‘left behind areas.’ Both seaports and airports will be able to apply for free port status after 31st October. 

Markets

What happened yesterday?

After President Trump announced his plans to impose new tariffs on Chinese imports, US stocks took a sharp downturn and bond yields extended their decline. The S&P 500 also suffered after the announcement, dropping nearly 0.9% after having been up nearly 1.1% in the morning. The Nasdaq Composite’s 1.5% gain turned into a 0.8% loss, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also traded 1.1% lower. 

Gold rose over 2% to $1,443 per troy ounce. The dollar came off its 15-month strong streak and experienced a 0.2% decline, after investor predictions that officials will take an aggressive stance on future rate cuts, in reaction to potential fallout from the US-Sino trade war. 

At one point yesterday, the pound slumped to its lowest since January 2017 at $1.2085, but managed to push back up to $1.21 at closing. The FTSE 100 closed at approximately 7,584, changing little at only 1.9 points lower. The biggest gainer of the day was for the company that owns the London Stock Exchange, which rose 7% after announcing it would buy financial data company Refinitiv for $27 billion.  

The FTSE 250 closed at 19,634, 32 points lower. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Index were around 1% higher in the US. 

What's happening today?

Interims 
AIREA 
BT 
Essentra 
International Airlines 
Jardine Math.sr 
Jardine Str. 
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels 
Royal Bank of Scotland 

Trading Announcements 
Pets At Home 
Royal Bank of Scotland 

AGMs 
Adm Energy 
Etalon S            
Highbridge Gbp 

UK Economic Announcements  
(09:30) PMI Construction 

Int. Economic Announcements 
(10:00) Producer Price Index (EU) 
(10:00) Retail Sales (EU) 
(13:30) Balance of Trade (US) 
(13:30) Non-Farm Payrolls (US)  
(13:30) Unemployment Rate (US) 
(15:00) Factory Orders (US) 
(15:00) U. of Michigan Confidence (US) 

Columns of Note

The Independent’s Dave Maclean argues that despite Joe Biden’s position as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, the latest debate shows that the politician does not have what it takes to compete and should withdraw. Maclean points out that blows from Kalama Harris are hitting Biden hard, making him look too uncomfortable for such an early stage in the race. Biden’s decision to abstain from debate brawls with his rivals makes him look weak, counterintuitive to his possible intention to appear statesmanlike. The author also argues that this, combined with his lack of aggressiveness on the debate stage and oversaturating his role in the Obama administration, makes him a weak candidate. 

Alex Hern from The Guardian details all the ways in which technology is advancing at a drastic rate. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg invested in a successful experiment that allowed a brain implant mind-reading device to record answers to nine set questions from a list of 24 possible responses. Machines can sharpen blurry images and insert detail that was never captured from the sensor. Our kitchens, cars, watches and phones are constantly monitoring our conversations, subsequently uploading recorded data. Google’s Duplex service can call up a restaurant or hairdresser, and its automated voice sounds exactly like a human’s, right down to the ‘umming’ and ‘ahing.’  Hern asserts that we’re living in a very different world from even a few years ago, outlining some of the benefits and risks that this entails.  

Did you know?

Earth used to be covered with giant mushrooms that were 24 feet tall and 3 feet wide, instead of trees. 

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons
In recess until 3rd September.
 
House of Lords
In recess until 3rd September.
 
Scottish Parliament
In recess until 2nd September.