Recollections of 2014

CHRISTMAS WEEKLY COMMENT 20-12-2014

By Barry Edwards

Recollections of 2014

As we approach the winter solstice, the shortest day if the year Christmas is upon us and the New Year beckons. The theme of this final comment for 2014 is to summarise some of the main events that have occurred during the year and discuss their implications.

Internationally there have been some dramatic unexpected events; the main surprise was the sudden annexation of Crimea by Russia which caught everyone off guard leading to the further fighting in Eastern Ukraine which has still to be resolved satisfactorily.  As a result of that action the sanctions imposed on Russia and their import restrictions are having a serious economic effect on the country which is not likely to lead to a resolution soon unless Putin starts to remove his troops from Eastern Ukraine. The fall in the oil price is the main problem forcing his hand but it is not easy to predict how he will react. read more

Syndicate Room, Crowd Funding

WEEKLY COMMENT 11-12-2014

By Barry Edwards

Syndicate Room, Crowd Funding

Last Tuesday I attended a gathering for Syndicate Room (SR) sponsored by BDO, the accountants, which was an evening with Dr Andy Richards and four company presentations. It was a very interesting event and I am sure it is the way forward for equity investment and support for fast growing young companies.

The main difference between SR and other equity crowd funders is that every company has to have some finance in place before it can use the platform to raise the balance. This means that all the companies that use the platform have interested investors who make sure that the company implements the business plan and work with the directors to assist with the development of the business. This inspires reassurance and confidence for the follow on investors attracted by the proposal. You can have a look at the site if you click on the link below; read more

The Autumn Statement

WEEKLY COMMENT 4-12-2014

By Barry Edwards

The Autumn Statement

The main new change in the Autumn Statement was the stamp duty rates being phased in as you move up the scale. Otherwise there was nothing very special to get anyone excited about and any dramatic proposals will be left for the budget next year. There are many small sums being allocated for research and development with various SME financing improvements. If you wish to have a look at the official document, click on the link below which highlights all the changes in green. read more

The EU Investment Plan for Europe

WEEKLY COMMENT 27-11-2014

By Barry Edwards

The EU Investment Plan for Europe

Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, has announced the details of an investment plan to boost the economy of the EU. It is intended mainly to help the southern countries that have struggled to achieve any growth over the last five years but will support all qualifying projects wherever they are based in the EU. If you would like to read the complete document explaining how the plan will work and where the funds will come from, click on the link below, it is 20 pages long; read more

Consequences of the UKIP by-election win

WEEKLY COMMENT 20-11-2014

By Barry Edwards

Consequences of the UKIP By-election Win

The by election at Rochester and Strood has delivered another win for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) giving them two seats in the UK parliament. Commentators were predicting a landslide victory but the result was not as convincing as many people were expecting.  Below are the by-election results in full;

Mark Reckless (UKIP) 16,867 (42.10%)

Kelly Tolhurst (C) 13,947 (34.81%, -14.39%)

Naushabah Khan (Lab) 6,713 (16.76%, -11.70%) read more

Should the ECB Adopt Quantitative Easing? By Barry Edwards at Txtreme Solutions Ltd

WEEKLY COMMENT 13-11-2014

By Barry Edwards

Should the ECB Adopt Quantitative Easing?

The European Central Bank (ECB) is concerned that the Eurozone is possibly moving into a period of deflation where prices decline instead of rising gradually with inflation; currently inflation is 0.7% annually and looking as though it could fall further. The standard target for inflation is 2%, which is the economic model most countries accept as the most advantageous course to follow. Japan is the only major country where deflation has happened for some time in recent history and their policy has been to adopt quantitative easing to force their economy into an inflationary cycle to encourage growth of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). read more

Text Beats Mobile Marketing Apps Hands Down

Smartphones are fast becoming the digital gateway for consumers, replacing desktops and laptops as the preferred way for people to get online. Consequently, there’s a lot of hype around smartphone apps as a mobile marketing tool for retailers. But the growing preference for smartphones doesn’t mean apps are the best choice for mobile marketing. In fact, the evidence shows that text messaging is a far more effective choice.

A retail marketing strategy built around apps is dependent on users downloading and using the app. But a recent study found that 65% of smartphone users don’t download a single app during a given month. And while it’s true that people spend a lot of time interacting with their installed apps, it turns out that most of that time is spent focused on the user’s favourite app – It was found that users spend 42% of their total app time focused on their most-used app, e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. read more

EU Immigration and Immigrant Unemployment

WEEKLY COMMENT 6-11-2014

By Barry Edwards

EU Immigration and Immigrant Unemployment in the UK

David Cameron has managed to upset most of the EU leaders by behaving in a particularly undiplomatic manner over the payment of the increased contribution to the EU budget and immigration changes that contravene the basic right of freedom of movement by all citizens. As each day goes by, more EU leaders announce their faith in this freedom of movement and express their unwillingness to even consider changing this fundamental right. A new study has made David Cameron’s outbursts about immigration look especially ill-informed. read more

The ECB Asset Quality Review

WEEKLY COMMENT 30-10-2014

By Barry Edwards

The ECB Asset Quality Review

The European Central Bank (ECB) instigated the Asset Quality Review (AQR) in March 2014 as part of the comprehensive assessment of the largest banks in the Eurozone; this is a major step forward to the operational start of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) on the 4th of November 2014; it is the name given to the process of regulating the biggest banks. A quote from the introduction to the report states ‘’It constitutes an exercise of unprecedented scope, and the publication of its outcomes provides a significant improvement in the depth and comparability of the information available on the condition of the 130 participating banks’’. The full report was released last weekend; it contains 178 pages of detail which you can look at if you click on the link below. It is worth reading the executive summary which is only 3 pages; read more

UKIP and the EU Surcharge

WEEKLY COMMENT 23-10-2014

By Barry Edwards

UKIP and the EU Surcharge

The European Commission informed the UK government that it must pay an additional €2.1 billion surcharge on top of the net annual contribution of £8.6 billion to the EU budget. The Commission also told the Netherlands to pay an additional €642million and Italy €340million, while Germany receives a rebate of €779million as well as France €1billion and Poland €316million. All EU members are involved and these are the largest adjustments, the full list is available if you click on the link below; read more

The Faltering World Economy

 

WEEKLY COMMENT 16-10-2014

By Barry Edwards

The Faltering World Economy

The recent adjustment in stock markets around the world has unnerved investors who are now looking more closely at the real economic problems that Europe and developing countries are experiencing. While the markets were at record highs this did not seem to bother most investors who were happy to believe that the world economies would recover and start growing again during 2015. The announcement that the USA retail figures did not grow as expected seems to be the reason for this sudden change of heart. read more

The UKIP Challenge

WEEKLY COMMENT 9-10-2014

By Barry Edwards

The UKIP Challenge

The challenge from the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has started with the convincing win by Douglas Carswell in the Clacton-on-Sea by-election created by his resignation from the Conservative Party. UKIP also nearly won the other by-election held at Heywood and Middleton just losing to Labour by 617 votes. This is one of the biggest changes in the political scene for many years making the forthcoming general election in May a totally open contest since it is very likely that neither of the two main parties will achieve an overall majority. read more