Tough job for UK’s new PM
Putin denied nuclear threat
The bank of Japan
Musk completed his Twitter deal
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt are taking no options off the table, including windfall taxes on banks and energy firms, as they consider how to plug a £35 billion ($41 billion) budget shortfall. Hunt is preparing to give an Autumn Statement on Nov. 17 and has pledged to get the public finances back onto a sustainable footing, a task that in his words will involve “decisions of eye-watering difficulty” on tax and spending. It highlights the bind the government is in as it toes the line between balancing the books and avoiding deterring investment. Meanwhile, Sunak’s commitment to fight global warming is being questioned after he demoted two climate ministers and decided not to attend the annual United Nations climate change summit next month.
President Vladimir Putin lashed out at the US and Europe over his war in Ukraine, heaped praise on Saudi Arabia and reiterated support for China’s claim to Taiwan as he sought to cast Russia as a champion of conservative values against Western liberalism. In an annual meeting Thursday, he accused the US and its allies of seeking global domination by pouring weapons into Ukraine and denied intending to use nuclear weapons. US and European defense officials said this week that a claim by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that Ukraine may use a so-called “dirty bomb” may be an indication the Kremlin is planning such an operation.
Low, Ultra Low
The Bank of Japan stood by its ultra-low interest rates, pushing back against lingering market speculation it will adjust policy as it continues to predict inflation will cool below 2% next year. Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and his board left their negative rate, 10-year yield cap and asset purchases unchanged at the end of a two-day policy meeting Friday. Kuroda continues to hold firm as the last anchor of low global rates just a day after the European Central Bank went ahead with another jumbo rate hike. But the governor is walking on a tightrope as his dovish stance risks putting further downward pressure on the yen despite billions of dollars spent by the government to support the currency.
Elon Musk completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, according to people familiar with the matter, and the social network will now operate as a private company. Among Musk’s first moves: changing the leadership. Departures include CEO Parag Agrawal; Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal, policy and trust; CFO Ned Segal; and Sean Edgett, who has been general counsel at Twitter since 2012. The completion caps a convoluted saga that began in January with the billionaire’s quiet accumulation of a major stake in the company, his growing exasperation with how it’s run and an eventual merger accord that he later spent months trying to unravel.
European stocks are set to follow their Asian counterparts lower as investors absorb with mixed US economic data and soft results from tech giants. They’ll have more earnings to parse through today with VW, Equinor, Sanofi and Exxon among a flurry of names reporting. Telecom Italia’s board will probably grant more time to CDP and Macquarie to prepare an offer for the carrier’s landline network when it meets later today, people familiar said. On the data front, watch for CPI inflation figures from France and Spain, plus retail sales for Finland and Sweden.
(Source: Bloomberg, Oct. 28-2022)