Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

The end of an era?

Written by Li-Ann Chin, associate 
Edited by Kevin Pringle, partner
24 June 2021

Good morning,

A keen sense of loss rippled throughout Hong Kong and across the globe last week when local tabloid Apple Daily was forced to shut down, following the arrest of key company executives for allegedly violating the national security law and the freezing of company assets by Beijing authorities.
 
Founded in 1995 by Jimmy Lai and originally known for its sensationalist articles and bold headlines, Apple Daily evolved over time into the city’s largest pro-democracy news outlet, and one of the rare few unafraid to be openly critical of the Chinese state.
 
It is a loss I can empathise with. Like most Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia is not known for its freedom of the press. A majority of our mass media outlets are owned directly or indirectly by the government. Independent journalists are often subjected to persecution and harassment. Some have faced death threats. It is hard to fully articulate what it feels like growing up in a heavily censored state, but I know very well how it feels like to be powerless – and voiceless – against an autocratic government.
 
Many now fear that the loss of Apple Daily signals the death knell for press freedom in Hong Kong. The pro-democracy paper is emblematic of the more open and freewheeling spirit of news reporting that used to be associated with the former British territory. Citizens will be hard-pressed to find another publication as big and vocal as it was willing to be. Apple Daily was the personification of Hong Kong at its best – brash, boisterous and independent.
 
Media freedom is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy. Unfettered journalism is vital in building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders to account and speaking truth to power. As Hong Kong’s autonomy is gradually usurped by Beijing, citizens worry that it will soon be a city they do not recognise.
 
A young journalist told the Financial Times, “Hong Kong was a beacon of freedom. My primary school teachers taught me to be proud of our rights: the freedom of speech, freedom to protest, and freedom of the press. It’s hard to accept that city no longer exists.” 
 
This might just be the end of an era.

News

Travellers arriving from to the UK from Malta, the Balearic Islands and parts of the Caribbean from Wednesday onwards will no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days. Speaking to Radio 4’s PM programme today, Dr David Nabarro, a World Health Organisation expert, warned England against lifting all restrictions on a particular date, particularly in light of the emergence of new variants.
 
According to government rules laid out on Tuesday, quarantine rules in England are expected to be waived for executives at large multinational companies if they are deemed to be bringing significant economic benefit. The announcement received a backlash from opposition MPs and business groups representing excluded, smaller companies. (£)
 
Research from the ZOE Covid symptom study app, a not-for-profit initiative led by King’s College London, suggests Covid symptoms might differ for vaccinated individuals, with unexplained sneezing likely to be a common sign of infection. Notably, a persistent cough no longer ranks as a top indicator of Covid in those fully inoculated.

Business and economy

The UK is today expected to set out plans for a “simple and nimble” post-Brexit state aid scheme which the government will use to turbo-charge selected industries. It has been confirmed that the new system would “start from the basis that subsidies are permitted if they follow UK-wide principles — delivering good value for the British taxpayer while being awarded in a timely and effective way”. (£)
 
The Times reported that all trials involving the Ajax armoured light tanks have been placed on pause since mid-June, after troops reported suffering from hearing loss during trials. Ministers believe senior officers in the army may have hidden the extent of the problem with Ajax to prevent it being axed as part of this year’s Integrated Review of Global Britain’s security and defence. (£)
 
The Guardian revealed that the UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab’s private mobile number has been available online for the last 11 years, raising questions over cybersecurity threats posed by rogue states weeks after the prime minister’s was also reported to be accessible to anyone. The web page showing the number has since been removed.

Columns of note

Westminster politics went into a tailspin last weekend as a scandalous video of health secretary Matt Hancock was leaked and his resignation announced 12 hours later. Former chancellor Sajid Javid has since then stepped up in replacement. This is, in a way, a good thing, William Hague argues. A cabinet reshuffle for Boris Johnson’s government is long overdue. “In any enduring government, fresh blood has to circulate. Just a little, but fairly often”, he writes in The Times. (£)
 
I’ve been to the office a few times since lockdown restrictions were eased in England. And while it was wonderful to see my colleagues, I admittedly found the experience of working alongside other people too distracting for me to get any serious work done. In her piece in the FT, Sarah O’Connor explains why it is time for employers to rethink the open plan office.

Cartoon source: The New Yorker

Markets

What happened yesterday?

London stocks eked out a positive finish on Tuesday, as fresh data revealed an increase in house price growth, and mortgage approvals beating expectations.
 
The FTSE 100 was 0.21% firmer at 7,087.55, while the FTSE 250 closed the session up 0.04% at 22,542.17. Sterling, on the other hand, ended in the red, last trading 0.27% lower against the dollar at $1.3846, and losing 0.1% from the euro at €1.1630.
 
In the US, Wall Street stocks ended in the green on Tuesday after the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index surged to its highest level since the beginning of Covid-19 and the likes of Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan increased their dividends.
 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were both up 0.03% at 34,929.29 and 4,291.80, while the Nasdaq Composite rallied, up by 0.19% at 14,528.33.
 
In company news:
 
Declan Kelly, chair and chief executive of Teneo, the global communications company, tendered his resignation days after allegations emerged of drunken misconduct at a fundraising event.
 
Didi, China’s ride hailing app, announced plans for a New York Exchange listing. The company aims to raise $2.9bn at a valuation of $64.7bn.
 
Uber staff will now be able to work half of their hours from wherever they want as part of the company’s revamped back-to-office strategy.

What’s happening today?

Finals
Aminex
Civitas Social Housing
Dixons Carphone
Non-standard
OptiBiotix Health
Stagecoach
Studio Ret

Interims
Harworth Gp
Velocity Comp

Trading Announcements
Serco

AGMs
4basebio Uk So.
Afentra
Africa Opp.
ANGLE
Asa Int
Asiamet Res
Bacanora Lithi.
Block Energy P.
Cobra Resource.
Cornerstone Fs
Creo Medical
Deepmatter
Eden
Fireangel
Getech Grp
Good Enrg
Gulf Marine Services
Gusbourne
Hurricane Energ
Immotion Group.
Ingenta
Inspired Energy
Int Diag Hld
Kefi Gold
Kingfisher
Kropz Plc
Longboat Energy
Lookers
Metal Tiger
Metals Exploration
Midatech Pharma
National World.
Octopus Ap
Panther Securities
Pathfinder Minerals
Petropavlovsk
Phoenix Global Resources
Plaza
Primorus Inv.
Provident Financial
Rockfire
Savannah Resources
SpaceandPeople
Surgutneft.adr
Tata Steel
Tower Resources
Tp Grp
Victoria Oil & Gas
W Resources
Zegona Com
Zephyr Energy

UK economic announcements
(00:01) BRC Shop Price Index
(07:00) Current Account
(07:00) Gross Domestic Product
(07:00) Nationwide House Price Index

Int. economic announcements
(08:55) Unemployment Rate (GER)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(14:45) Chicago PMI (US)
(15:00) Pending Homes Sales (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

The territory of Hong Kong is made up of more than 200 individual islands. Some of which are uninhabitable and unreachable.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Wales
 
Prime Minister’s Question Time
 
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Flexible Working – Tulip Siddiq, Labour
 
Estimates Day
Estimates Day (2nd Allocated Day): Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Proposed subject for debate: Official Development Assistance and the British Council)
 
Adjournment
Financial Conduct Authority and the collapse of Blackmore Bond plc – Peter Grant, SNP

House of Lords 

Oral questions
Various
 
Legislation
Environment Bill – committee stage (day 4) – Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park

Scottish parliament 

No business scheduled

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