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Get your haircut, down the pub: Weekly Roundup 4 July 2020

The big news this week(end) is of course that we can now all get a haircut and head out to the pub. With haircuts starting at midnight and the pubs open from 6am (yes 6am!), it certainly looks like a long day for some on Saturday.

All of this is, of course, about coaxing the UK economy back to life. With the economic fallout continuing this week, and with the worst economic contraction in 41 years it is needed.

On average businesses are waiting to be paid £150k and with rents now due, you can see the pressure everyone is under to get the wheels of commerce turning again.

The housing market continues to be under pressure. This week house prices were reported as continuing to fall and there has been a 90% fall in home loans. This is all significant for the sector.

During the week the FCA did confirm proposals to extend the payment holiday scheme for credit cards and overdrafts. Many have taken advantage of these schemes, with the assurance that their credit bureau report would not be impacted. For many, this will result in additional interest charges, and some voices are now being raised that even with no CRA impact this could affect a future ability to borrow or get a loan.

And, of course, we are not out of the danger zone yet. We have seen some resurgence of cases in Europe as lockdown has eased and this has been even more aggressive in countries such as the USA and Latin America. Interestingly the resurgence in cases in parts does seem to have a lower mortality rate this time around. The theory is this is linked to a lower incidence in care homes this time around. Either way, with any new lockdowns we will certainly be more prepared.

In related news, a couple of interesting articles;

Lastly a couple of other emerging trends.

  1. Fraud in Business. The wirecard accounting fraud was widely reported, however, Lookers was also in the news this week. Is this another sign of economic stress?
  2. Automation and digitalization. It continues. HSBC wanted to double their mobile user base footprint, however some commentary on how this needs to add value to customers to really succeed.

Have a good weekend everyone…. @chris_w_tweet

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Week 15 lockdown: Lockdown forgotten?

This week we had some great summer weather, the beaches were packed and it was announced the bars/pubs will open; the daily COVID press briefing has now been cancelled and even Joe Wicks’ daily PE workout has scaled back… no more fancy dress Fridays…. Lockdown is in the process of being forgotten it seems – the virus, patently not gone away – so a time of change and caution. Observations for this week.

  • Are more people wearing glasses during lockdown? Noticed my eyesight for one has definitely got worse… maybe it is all the looking at the screen, although it could just be age…!
  • As the volume of work has gone up, so has my biscuit consumption (again)… we are all snacking more apparently… my pain au chocolat attempt turned out well – although with a pack of butter in each batch the word of the week will be moderation for sure
  • Workwise, I gave a presentation at a virtual conference this week. Fascinating how the format has changed, adapted and how well too. Global sessions, discussion and information access, all an enhanced capability from lockdown I think

Monday tomorrow and another week… have a good one everybody… @chris_w_tweet

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Too relaxed, too quickly?: Weekly Roundup 26 June 2020

The relaxation of lockdown has continued globally, and in the UK with hot summer weather this week, it has appeared to prompt a mass migration to the beach. There were so many people in some locations a major incident was declared. All of this is of course against, if not strict government pandemic guidelines, certainly common sense.

It is, however, the summer, we have all been couped up for over 3 months and with 8 million people on furlough, not working but being paid there are a lot of people with spare time. Not surprisingly it is hard to control.

The concern though is whether we have become too relaxed too quickly. There was an interesting article on the impact of early relaxation in Bloomberg, which has had consequences on Coronavirus in the USA (cases from worldometer shown). In the UK is not mentioned, but clearly whilst the situation is currently better here, the dangers are still evident.

COVID19 infection rates are, of course, not an opinion but a matter of science and maths. Just being optimistic, hoping for the best, whilst it may make you feel better, will not really make much positive difference. In actuality it could make things worse if we all let our guard down.

However, accelerated relaxation continues and with pubs due to open on the 4th July all of this will be a test for the economy. Consumers will need to return to keep these businesses afloat and pay wages. If they do not and there is no furlough support they will be in trouble.

With the Furlough scheme to more formally end in October, all of this is starting to crystalize the expected economic impacts.

It remains a tricky time, shares are rattled and we continue to see some fallout, even in fintech companies. Expect to see yet more economic impact in terms of unemployment and economic stress. It is already time for businesses to prepare, if not already.

Still life goes on, and a trip to the beach, sit in the sun or in the park may just be what we all need. Let’s just all be careful.

This is the week that was…. try to have a good weekend everyone…. @chris_w_tweet

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