It's interminable. It's tedious. Get used to it

Posted by: Paul Donovan

22 Mar 2019
  • The EU agreed to an automatic two-week extension to the UK-EU divorce. Do not be fooled by deadlines. This is an interminably tedious process because it is interminable (and, obviously, tedious). The UK Parliament is unlikely to pass the government's withdrawal agreement, which suggests a lengthy delay (and participation in the European elections, with possibly a UK election too).
  • The media are excited about 2 million signatures on an online parliamentary petition to reverse the divorce. Geographically, most of the UK is not signing (including most of Scotland. Northern Ireland has the lowest signing rate). Outside London and a few other cities, the country does not seem to care.
  • US-China trade talks also have a hint of interminable tedium. The US agriculture secretary was complaining that China does not want to commit to buying more US food. Part of the problem may be that trade taxes have made the US an unreliable supplier. The USD 12bn US farmer bailout will not be repeated next year.
  • Assorted business sentiment opinion polls are out. Most of these have a low five-year correlation with reality, but pricing power is generally better correlated. That is worth monitoring as labor costs rise.

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