Businesses complain as 'pingdemic' hurts productivity

23 July 2021

The noise

  • ​Britain spent a record £8.7bn in interest payments on central government debt last month, official figures show. The figure was £6bn higher than at the same time last year largely because nearly half a trillion pounds worth of government bonds are linked to rising inflation.
  • The UK government stopped short of threatening to pull out of parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol on Wednesday as it called for “significant changes” to post-Brexit trading arrangements – but the option has not been ruled out. Brexit Minister David Frost says that “we cannot go on as we are” amid complaints from M&S chairman Archie Norman that a simple sandwich can require three veterinarian certificates to get through the border.

  • More than 600,000 people using the NHS Covid-19 app in England and Wales were sent self-isolation alerts in the week between 8 and 15 July. This is a 17% rise from the previous week, causing an abundance of complaints from businesses that the alerts are causing serious staff shortages and affecting services. Self-isolation for fully vaccinated people pinged by the app as close contacts is due to be scrapped by 16 August, although there are calls for this deadline to be brought forward.

The numbers


The nuance

Earnings season has come in the wake of renewed fears surrounding the Delta variant and the possible impact it may have on reopening economies. This was reflected in a sharp sell-off on Monday of stocks that would stand to benefit from reduced restrictions. Interestingly Tuesday and Wednesday saw a commensurate bounce back as it dawned on investors that, despite a large increase in cases, hospitalisations and deaths had not increased proportionately. In news cycles dominated by shocking statistics around the “pingdemic” and urges to exercise caution, it is worth bearing in mind that previously built-up herd immunity and widescale vaccine rollouts have mitigated the worst impacts of the virus. As this noise rages on in the background, what remains key for us as investors is what earnings companies have been able to deliver.

As is always the case during earnings season, some companies will disappoint and others will deliver stronger results. We believe that our portfolios are of a sufficiently high quality to withstand any selloffs caused by short term investor sentiment.

Quote of the week

"The monster under your bed has tested positive for covid" Matt Cartoons, The Telegraph.

Children and adults beware, the “pingdemic” is coming for you! For those of you who still check the closet for monsters and check under the bed for the bogeyman, there is now a new monster in town, stalking our every move, tracking and tracing us everywhere we go. For those of you who have been bitten, we hope that the ten days fly by, for all others, beware! Source:

Phil Smeaton
Chief Investment Officer

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