Daily Briefing, Friday 29th July, 2022 

Today in Numbers

FED UP: The US economy contracted by a 0.9 percent annualised rate in Q2, according to preliminary estimates from the US Commerce Department in Bloomberg.

This is the second consecutive quarter of decline, meeting the technical definition of a recession.

“The economy has quickly lost steam in the face of four-decade high inflation, rapidly rising borrowing costs, and a general tightening in financial conditions,” said one expert.

 

Political Outlook

Defence secretary Ben Wallace has this morning thrown his weight behind Liz Truss for the Tory party leadership, The Guardian reports.

Wallace said that while Sunak was a “capable cabinet minister”, Truss was “the only candidate with the breadth and depth of experience” to deal with issues like the Ukraine war, the pandemic and inflation.

Sunak gained headlines in a hustings in Leeds last night by vowing to back the return of grammar schools.

Sam Tarry was fired as Labour’s transport minister for conducting interviews “without permission” and inventing “policy on the hoof”, BBC News reports.

Labour leader Keir Starmer sought to hit back at criticism from his own MPs and supporters for allegedly firing the shadow transport minister for joining a picket line for rail workers at Euston station.

Much of the criticism levelled at Starmer was that the Labour party’s foundations lie in union action and banning union support during a workers’ strike defied Labour’s foundational principles.

Rishi Sunak has vowed to block green belt development, Bloomberg reports.

The Tory leadership hopeful has thrown red meat to the true blues vowing to beef up planning restrictions around the green belt in favour of further brownfield development.

The move is being widely viewed as a ploy to claw back votes from the Truss campaign among the Conservatives’ rural heartlands.

 

Economic Outlook

British Gas owners Centrica and Shell have posted enormous profits as energy prices increase, reports BBC News.

Shell recorded Q2 profits of $11.5 billion and Centrica recorded a profit increase of over 500 percent year-on-year to £1.34 billion.

Germany posted a record inflation rate of 8.5 percent in July, reports Bloomberg.

This is despite the European Central Bank’s first base rate increase in over a decade last week, when it raised deposit rates from -0.5 to 0 percent.

Experts predict Italy and Spain will also report fresh inflation records on Friday.

Russian energy supply risks have caused a $751 million hedge fund to bet on the euro reaching 80 US cents, reports Bloomberg.

The dollar has gained in value relative to global currencies as a result of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hikes; it raised rates by 75 bps to 2.5 percent on Wednesday.

 

Housing Market

A ban on new housing development in West London until 2035 is possible as local power grids reach maximum capacity, reports The Financial Times.

The Greater London Authority says pressure on the grid in West London has been particularly acute because a number of data centres have been built nearby in recent years, taking advantage of fibre optic cables that run along the M4 corridor, before crossing the Atlantic.

This will largely affect the boroughs of Hillingdon, Ealing and Hounslow which alone accounted for 11% of London’s new housing supply in 2019-20.

 

Offices

Investment volumes in south-east English offices reached 1.06 billion in Q2, reports React News.

Knight Frank published the results and a spokesperson cited pent-up occupier demand and the “the steady and continued return of occupier confidence in the office market.”

A US games company is paying one of the highest rents ever in London for a Mayfair office, reports React News.

‘Huuuge Games’ is paying £225/sq ft to take a floor at 10 Cork Street, which is close to the current London office record of £277/sq ft.

 

Retail, Leisure & Hospitality

The luxury goods firm LVMH has acquired a 13,800 sq ft Bond Street store for over £150 million, React News reports.

LVMH had previously been renting the property for Dior, a company they own, but jumped at the chance to secure the property and avoid high rent in the future.

Outdoor dining and drinking will be a permanent fixture of Sloane Square after Kensington and Chelsea Council approved the plan, MyLondon reports.

The scheme was initially trialled during Covid-19 restrictions on indoor socialising, but has proved so popular that the council has now extended it by 10 years.

 

Transport & Logistics

Felixstowe workers voted 92 percent in favour of industrial action and are set to strike after trade union Unite rejected a 5 percent pay rise, The Guardian reports.

Dockers at the UK’s largest container port have voted overwhelmingly to strike after they were offered a below-inflation pay rise in the latest industrial dispute.

 

Sustainability

In an insightful piece in Property Week, Balance Out Living’s co-founder Zafar Bhunnoo argues that density is crucial to decarbonisation.

Travel and heating homes account for 63 percent of emissions, for these reasons inner city populations in dense areas contribute substantially less to emissions because they’re more likely to use public transport and live in heat-saving apartments.

A new centre-right climate focused party has been formed that will seek to challenge the conservatives in 119 marginal seats, The Guardian reports.

Launched by former army officer Ed Gemmel, who successfully contested the conservatives to become a councillor in Berkshire, the party will aim to attract right wing voters who feel their climate concerns are being ignored by the Tories.

 

Construction and Planning

A survey by the Federation of Master Builders has found that half of SME developers have seen their profit margins fall in the last three months, Construction News reports.

Their report found that seven in ten SME builders have delayed projects due to material shortages and 61 percent have been delayed by labour shortages.

The Financial Conduct Authority has handed out £870,200 of fines to three former bosses of the collapsed construction company Carillion, Construction Enquirer reports.

The watchdog said: “Carillion recklessly published announcements on 7 December 2016, 1 March 2017 and 3 May 2017 that were misleading and did not accurately or fully disclose the true financial performance of Carillion.”

 

Further Reading

Bernard Cribbins has died aged 93, his agent has confirmed.

Cribbins played the likes of Doctor Who’s companion Tom Campbell in the 1966 film Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 AD and narrated the 1970s children’s programme The Wombles.

Many of his co-stars have paid tribute to Cribbins, including Comedian and actor Matt Lucas, who described him as a “brilliantly talented man”.

The Commonwealth Games started in Birmingham yesterday with the opening ceremony. The sporting extravaganza will take place over the next 12 days.

 

LANDMARK REPORT: Radical Capital

Blackstock’s new report mentioned in the Financial Times, The Sunday Times and the BBC.

Blackstock Consulting is proud to announce the publication of Radical Capital, our landmark new report into the Oxford-Cambridge Arc produced in partnership with Bidwells.

*Download your copy of the report here*

Radical Capital brings together over 60 of the most influential names from industries and organisations across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, harnessing the power of collaboration across academia and the private and public sector. Contributors range from AstraZeneca and Santander UK to Wellcome Sanger Institute and Oxford Science Enterprises.

Our unique ‘capital’ approach, encompassing Knowledge, Global, Natural, Connective, Human and Future Capital, allows us to identify avenues of investment and expertise for the Arc to grow and develop. The report is a landmark of cross-sector collaboration, making key policy recommendations to supercharge the Arc and double its contribution to UK GDP by 2030.

The policy team at Blackstock has worked tirelessly over the last eight months to produce this report. Along with our Life Sciences Innovation report co-authored with Perkins&Will, we offer an unparalleled level of insight into real estate and the built environment.

 

PropCast

Our weekly podcast has been running for nearly four years, engineered by broadcast professionals ensuring high-quality audio and top-class conversation. Informal, but highly informed. We partner with Property Week, who run high-quality articles alongside each audio episode.

We feature one-to-one interviews with company chiefs on BossCast and three-way debates on every imaginable topic.

If you would like to take part or chat to us about hosting your events or providing broadcast media training, do get in touch here with Blackstock founder Andrew Teacher.

The latest episode of BossCast features Canary Wharf Group’s Jane Hollinshead speaking about a crucial but under-discussed topic in real estate: equality, diversity and inclusion.

While Hollinshead acknowledges that there have been some real gains made in recent years, the industry certainly has a long way to go in providing a diverse enough set of role models for the next generation.

Listen via Apple Podcasts or Spotify or SoundCloud.

Previously, Samantha Kempe, co-founder of IMMO and recent winner of the Young Property Personality of the Year Award at Property Week’s Property Awards 2022, explained how her company’s data-driven platform is helping institutional investors access the $50 trillion residential sphere, and why the greenest building is the one that already exists.

Listen via Apple Podcasts or Spotify or SoundCloud.