Weekly Digest: U.K. Double-Digit Inflation, Bank Job Cuts


4 minutes read

Apr 21, 2023

Bank of England building in London with the UK flag

22/04/2023: U.K. inflation stays at 10% as food prices keep soaring, big banks are cutting jobs to curb costs, Macron is facing turbulence over his drive to win China’s backing for Russia-Ukraine talks. And more.

💡Quote of the week

“The post-pandemic economy is like the Mona Lisa. Each time you look, you see something different.” The Economist

Investment news

1 kilo and 50g PAMP Suisse gold bars on a blue background with a curve

Gold steadies. Gold prices rose on Thursday after hitting a more than two-week low the previous day, as investors worried about more interest rate hikes by central banks.

Spot gold rose 0.1% at $1,994.83 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were unchanged at $2,006.30. According to a Reuters poll, the Fed will raise rates one more time in May and then hold them steady for the rest of 2023.

😮 Surprise, surprise! U.K. inflation unexpectedly remained in double digits in March due to soaring food and energy prices. (CNBC)

According to the Office for National Statistics, consumer prices rose 10.1% over the past year, above economists' consensus projection of 9.8%. It's a slight dip from the unexpected jump to 10.4% in February, which snapped three straight months of declines since October.

🏦 Banking turmoil and cost cuts. Sources close to Deutsche Bank said the bank plans to reduce its executive board to nine members from 10 and cut some jobs in infrastructure and private banking to save money. (Reuters)

Germany's largest bank, which is due to present its first-quarter results on April 27, refused to comment on the plans.

Earlier this week, Barclays joined the layoffs bandwagon, cutting 100 jobs in investment banking.

💡Here's what you need to know about the current banking crisis.

🛑 New tech layoffs. Meta started laying off technical employees on Wednesday as part of its latest round of job cuts. (CNBC)

According to a Meta employee, Wednesday's layoffs also hit product-facing teams, and the company plans to cut business-facing roles, like finance, legal, and HR, starting in May.

Meta is spending billions a quarter on metaverse technology, a huge and risky bet on a nascent market that hasn't cracked mainstream yet, even as its core business is struggling.

🤖 Bloomberg GPT. Bloomberg uses AI and its vast database to build an unprecedented financial research and analysis tool. (Forbes)

BloombergGPT was trained using PyTorch, a popular Python-based deep learning package. The new financial tool uses weighted proportions of financial news, company financial filings, press releases, and Bloomberg News content, all curated and collected by Bloomberg over decades.

The entrance to the Tesla store

🚗 Falling revenues. Tesla's net income and earnings dropped more than 20% year-on-year. Elon Musk's EV maker has slashed prices several times since last year to boost sales. (CNBC)

According to Tesla's shareholder deck, "underutilization of new factories" caused margin pressure, along with higher raw material, commodity, logistics, and warranty costs, and lower revenue from environmental credits.

🍏 Savings. By Apple. Apple has launched an Apple Card savings account with an annual percentage yield of 4.15%. (Press release)

Apple said it does not require a minimum deposit or balance, and users can create an account through the Wallet app on their iPhones. Users must have an Apple Card to open the savings account.

📸 Image of the week

A meme mocking ECB and Fed chairs, Christine Lagarde and Jerome Powell, for knowingly concealing a looming recession will be harsh.


💵 What de-dolarization? “Dollar hegemony is beneficial for the US, its government and most of its citizens — and is likely to last for the foreseeable future.” (Bloomberg Opinion)

“How far is the talk of de-dollarization going to proceed? Probably not very. The US has the world’s deepest and most liquid financial markets, and they remain relatively open, in spite of some restrictions on Chinese investment in industries sensitive for national security,” writes Bloomberg’s Tyler Cowen.

What else is happening

The 17th summit of International Organisation for Francophonie

🇫🇷 Angry allies. French President Emmanuel Macron's push to enlist China's help for possible talks between Russia and Ukraine has been criticized by allies who say it's premature and could undermine European unity. (Bloomberg)

“Macron is dealing with exactly what a Western leader should not be dealing with. Where does he get the fact that China can be trusted as an honest mediator in the current situation?” Marko Mihkelson, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Estonia’s parliament, said.

🇹🇷 Turkish finance hub. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday opened a giant financial center in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city that's long been overlooked by global finance giants. The center is being pitched as a future hub for finance in the region. (Bloomberg)

In critic's eyes, the opening is just another campaign stop for the president, who's trying to boost his popularity ahead of the May 14 elections.

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 The overtake. India is about to become the world's most populous nation, edging out China, with almost 3 million more people by mid-2023, UN estimates. (Reuters)

India's population is estimated at 1.4286 billion by mid-year, 2.9 million more than China's, according to the United Nations Population Fund's (UNFPA) "State of World Population Report.”

And finally…

motor cortex
Source: Reuters

🧠 It’s all in your brain. Researchers have found that parts of the brain region called the motor cortex that regulate body movement are connected with a network involved in thinking, planning, pain, and control of internal organs, as well as functions such as blood pressure and heart rate. (Reuters)

They discovered a previously unknown system within the motor cortex manifested in multiple nodes that are located between areas of the brain already known to be responsible for movement of specific body parts - hands, feet, face - and are activated when a lot of different movements are done simultaneously.

Researchers called it the somato-cognitive action network, or SCAN, and documented its connections to brain regions involved in goal-setting and action-planning. 


 See you next week!


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