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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Russia Prospers, I Hate Cash, More Brexit Bonanzas

Russia prospers economically from its war

The problem is that the more Russia reduces its exports of oil and gas, the higher the price and the more money it makes. That's it in a nutshell. So while I am pretty sure that countries like Japan and Germany are respecting the western sanctions on Russia, they do still need oil and gas and even if they buy far less, they are still spending more money with Russia! 

In some ways, economically, Russia is in a no-lose position until we have completely killed our addiction to fossil fuels.

Source: New York Times

Yet again, the answer is a faster shift to renewables. We can save the planet and castrate Russia at the same time.

I Hate Cash

During the Pandemic, cash was virtually banned because of potential transmission issues and replaced with electronic payments everywhere. I saw this as progress; cash does not leave a trace and is favoured by criminals, fraudsters. It takes longer to handle (often causing queues) and is more expensive for businesses to process. I have been surprised this year with the speed with which it has returned; people don't appear worried about catching something from their own coins and dirty notes. So Cash is Back, no doubt about it, although I am sure it has a smaller market share than in 2019.

Of course, the ease of use of contactless card payments and the increase in maximum limit is part of the shift to digital payments. It's so much easier and quicker to touch a card against a merchant terminal or a transport turnstile than to fumble in your pocket or purse for coins and notes and then wait for change. And cheques have virtually disappeared. When did you last write a cheque and why did you? My children, who are in their early thirties, have never had a cheque book. 

That really says it all: the future is cheque-less and cashless

More British Brexit Bonanzas

  • Paris overtakes London as Europe's most valued Stock Exchange in 2022
  • Amsterdam ousts London as the largest trading centre in Europe (based on total value of traded shares) in 2021
  • UK is the only G7 country whose economy is still smaller than before the pandemic (as at November 2022)
  • UK is the worst economic performer of the G20 apart from Russia
  • Despite the extra £350m per week for the NHS promised by Boris and his Bus, the NHS is widely acknowledged to be facing an existential crisis this winter with tens of thousands of people facing 12 hour+ waiting times at A&E, and with Nurses threatening to strike for the first time ever
  • Trade between the UK and the EU is substantially down, particularly hitting smaller businesses
  • The number of illegal migrants coming in boats has increased to the highest number ever, 40,000 so far this year
  • Since EU citizens are no longer allowed to come to work in the UK, the severe staff shortages in many industries including healthcare, agriculture and hospitality are curtailing business activity and pushing up prices even further
  • Brittany Ferries reports a 60% reduction in the number of French passengers on its lines and a massive reduction in the number of school groups
  • Whilst struggling with exceptional pandemic payments and massive energy support payments UK government debt rises to unprecedented levels meaning that, alongside the Brexit settlement payment of £42 billion, we are paying more in interest payments than the entire cost of the NHS
  • A study by the London School of Economics said that rule changes for items going across the border had pushed food prices up by 6%, or £5.84bn overall
No wonder it feels like the UK is going down the pan. That's because it is! And that's largely due to the incompetence of our governments over the last years.

“Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful”
― Warren Buffett

"Now is that time" Adam Sidbury 2nd November 2022

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