Short overview of 5 things on August 10

The struggle of UK home buyers

Russia is scouring the globe for weapons

Perilous winter in Europe

Elon Musk sells Tesla shares  Coming up..

Years of Pain

First-time home buyers in the UK are stretching themselves as they struggle to purchase property, with more people taking on mortgages that will take longer than ever to pay off. The average term of a home loan for a first-time buyer in June hit a record 30 years, according to data compiled by UK Finance. That compares with 25.5 years in 2005 when the industry lobby group began compiling the data. Soaring demand for houses during the pandemic has pushed prices to levels that are more unaffordable than ever. Meanwhile, the Bank of England is raising interest rates as it predicts the economy is heading for a recession lasting more than a year. Mortgage approvals fell in June by more than forecast.

Sourcing Weapons

European intelligence officials said a merchant ship under US sanctions carried military vehicles to bolster President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. The ship’s journey underlines the Kremlin’s efforts to tap resources for the invasion that’s now in its sixth month. While Ukraine has received billions of dollars of weapons from the US and Europe, Russia must rely on its own resources to support frontline forces. North Korea may become an unlikely new source of artillery as it has systems of a decent quality and last month recognized the Kremlin-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics in eastern Ukraine as independent.  

Seriously Cold Winter

Northwest Europe is facing a perilous winter with historically low amounts of diesel, a fuel that powers vast swaths of the economy. The region’s stockpiles of road diesel, heating oil and other diesel-type fuel are set to shrivel this November to the lowest level in data that goes back to the start of 2011, according to Wood Mackenzie. That means there’s a smaller-than-usual supply cushion as the continent braces for a potentially severe winter energy crisis. Meanwhile, the UK is planning for several days over the winter when cold weather may combine with gas shortages, leading to organized blackouts for industry and even households.

Elon Backtracks

Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion of shares in Tesla — the billionaire’s biggest sale on record — just months after saying he didn’t plan to sell any more stock in the electric-carmaker. Tesla’s CEO offloaded about 7.92 million shares on Aug. 5, according to new filings. As speculation mounted over the reason for the disposal, Musk responded in a series of late night tweets, saying he wanted to avoid a last-minute selloff of the electric-car maker’s shares in the event he is forced to go ahead with his now-pulled deal to buy Twitter.

Coming Up…

European shares are tipped to follow their overseas peers lower as investors await a crucial US inflation report that could offer clues on the path ahead for monetary policy. Regional Fed presidents Charles Evans and Neel Kashkari are due to make comments at separate events. Data include German CPI, Dutch manufacturing production and Swedish household consumption. Disney is expected to add 9.8 million new subscribers to its flagship streaming service when it delivers third-quarter results. Manulife Financial, Prudential and Vestas are among other companies scheduled to report earnings.

(Source: Bloomberg August 10-2022)

Short overview of 5 things on August 11
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