Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Tuesday.
Britain is plunging towards an economic nightmare and it isn’t just because of Brexit. On Monday morning, Markit released its latest set of data on the state of the UK’s construction sector, and to say things didn’t look good would be an understatement. The sector slipped into contraction for the first time since April 2013, registering a reading of 46.o (anything above 50 signals growth, below contraction). That’s a shock fall from an already poor base last month and the biggest single month fall since 2009.
But Britain will scrape by without a full-blown recession over the next two years as a weaker pound cushions the Brexit shock and panic subsides, Standard & Poor’s has predicted. Jean-Michel Six, the rating agency’s chief economist for Europe, told The Telegraph: “We’re not in the Armageddon camp. Devaluation acts a shock absorber. It stimulates exports and makes the London Stock Exchange more attractive to foreign investors.”
The pound is slipping back to 31-year-lows. Sterling is down 0.27% to 1.3251 against the dollar at the time of writing (6.20 a.m. BST/1.20 a.m. ET).
Standard Life Investments suspended dealings in its £2.9 billion ($3.85 billion) UK Real Estate fund yesterday after investors rushed to withdraw their cash in the wake of the Brexit vote. The Times reports that Standard Life said in a statement: “The decision was taken following an increase in redemption requests as a result of uncertainty for the UK commercial real estate market following the vote. The suspension was requested to protect the interests of all investors in the fund.”
The head of taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland has warned that the sale of the UK government’s stake in the bank could be delayed for at least two more years by the Brexit vote. The BBC reports that CEO Ross McEwan said the vote had been “a real hit to the bank” and would affect the government’s sale of its remaining shares in the bank. He told LBC Radio: “This will be a setback, let’s be honest. I think at least a couple of years it will be pushed back.”
Asian shares are mixed. Japan’s Nikkei is down 0.81% at the time of writing (6.20 a.m. BST/1.20 a.m. ET), China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite is up 0.53%, and the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.80%. The pull-back follows a 5-day rally in Asia.
Oil prices are diving after banks turned bearish on its prospects. Brent is down 1.08% to $49.56 (£37.38) a barrel at the time of writing (6.20 a.m. BST/1.20 a.m. ET) and US crude is down 1.61% to $48.20 (£36.34) a barrel. Both Barclays and JPMorgan warned clients in notes this week that uncertainty around global growth will hit already shaky demand for the black stuff.
It’s flash PMI day in Europe. Preliminary service sector and overall economic growth estimates for June are due from Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Britain, and the eurozone as a whole from 8.15 a.m. BST (3.15 a.m. ET) onwards. CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson writes of British service sector numbers in an email on Tuesday morning: “We need to see a decent June number here or we could well see a situation that sees the UK economy potentially stagnate in Q2. A slow down from 53.5 to 52.8 is expected.”
Mark Carney is speaking. The Bank of England Governor will deliver an address at 11.00 a.m. BST (6.00 a.m. ET), shortly after the publication of the latest Financial Stability Report. Hewson says: “Here Mr Carney is expected to outline in further detail some of the measures he announced last week with a boost to the funding for lending scheme to make sure banks don’t tighten up credit conditions too much.”
Goldman Sachs Partner Andrea Vella, now co-head of Asia investment banking, sent an email to former salesman Youssef Kabbaj in 2008, giving advice on how to interpret clients’ needs and deal with internal politics. The email was cited by lawyers for the Libyan Investment Authority, which is litigating a dispute with the bank in a London court. In the message, sent after a trip to Libya, Vella tells Kabbaj that clients “often don’t know what they want or need” and it is the job of the bank to “interpret their confused words.”