Weekly News Bites: Swearing in

Our top picks from this week's Morning Chat

Swearing in: US President-elect Donald Trump will assume office with the lowest approval rating of any President in modern times, seemingly supported by few beyond an ardent base. Polls conducted by CNN and The Washington Post found that just 40% of Americans approved of Mr. Trump’s performance. NBC News and The Wall Street Journal put his approval rating at 44%. These are the lowest ratings ever for an incoming president. It took Barack Obama 18 months in office to slump to 44%; George W. Bush did not fall that low over his entire first term. (19/01)

The Darling Scuds of May: In the days leading to Theresa May's speech yesterday, Sterling hit multi-decade lows – falling below $1.20 – on reports of a likely “hard Brexit” position. As those reports became reality, Sterling rallied by nearly 3%, its biggest one-day rise in decades. The fig-leaf of Parliamentary approval was apparently the reason; as was a general weakening in the US dollar; as was higher than expected inflation numbers earlier, which should hasten rate rises – hindsight clearly is the ideal setting for ex-post rationalising. (18/01)

Chewing the Fatih: The head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, believes global oil prices will witness "much more volatility" in 2017, a most noteworthy comment following a year in the which the year-to-date price of a barrel of Brent crude ended up over 50%, after being down as much as 25%. Furthermore, Mr. Birol believes that long-term investment in new oil supplies is lacking, as low oil prices over the past two years forced the shutdown of numerous major projects. In time, this may result in a significant undersupply situation. Imagine that. (16/01)

This year is Prosecco, Sir: The World Economic Forum in Davos – the ultra-exclusive annual paean to the global uber elite – gets underway this week. The illustrious Belvedere Hotel alone will host 320 parties in five days, serving more than 1,500 bottles of champagne and 1,350 chocolate-covered strawberries (a somewhat weak ratio, one would have thought). But this year will be unlike any other. One reason is that Xi Jinping will be the first Chinese President to attend. Another is the undeniable realisation over the last year amongst many of the attendees of their unpopularity in the wider public. Cheers. (16/01)




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