Today Andy Silvester talks to Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets. They pick apart the arguments for a windfall tax on BP, discuss potential rate rises from the Fed and Bank of England, and go through the impact that China’s zero-Covid policy has had on manufacturing in the country.
And in other news — there’s been a mixed response from investors to break up HSBC, a fat-finger error from a Citibank trader last week almost triggered a flash crash, and Europe continues to deliberate over whether to ban Russian oil and gas.
Episode transcript (auto-generated)
Andy Silvester 0:08 Hello and welcome to City A.M.’s daily podcast The City View — I’m Andy Silvester editor here at City A.M. I hope you had a wonderful bank holiday and a back to the grindstone today big news out of BP this morning and indeed lots to talk about in the world of central bank economics. I’ll be discussing both in just a minute with CMC markets Michael Hewson, but in the meantime, here’s what else is going on today. mixed response from investors to calls over the weekend to break up HSBC shares up a little in London and a little in Hong Kong in response to the Chinese insurance giant ping and going more public with its calls for the bank to split its Asian operations from its rest of the world operations. The bank, of course, still HQ in London been here for 30 years or so since it took over Midland Bank. But most of the profits generated in Asia lots of controversy recently as well over hspcs relationship with the Chinese Communist Party and with Hong Kong’s leadership so that one is going to run and run in bank news. Also Citibank today admitting that a fat finger from a trader almost triggered a flash crash last week indeed cause all sorts of chaos on the stock exchange. Elsewhere, Pfizer’s first quarter ribs have exploded in comparison with last year setting in stone, it’s avoided the much feared COVID-19 cliff edge the decline of COVID-19 and indeed the number of vaccines given out by Pfizer going down Hance spooks investors. But the pharma giant appears to have used its money wisely 20 point 4 billion in revenue in the first quarter of the year 77% increase on last year, all of that buoyed by the anti viral pill packs loaded BrewDog the embattled brewers to hand out shares worth around 120,750 staff over the next four years, launched the first ever profit sharing scheme in its history, and is looking to move on from a rift with disgruntled former employees founder and chief exec James want never too far from the headlines responding to a very damning BBC documentary in the middle of last year, which accused him of generally a pretty miserable culture at the firm. you’ll all remember of course, that open letter from former employees accusing a lot of publicity stunts, and much worse anyway, he’s giving away a stake and will he hopes bring workers on site to mark the group’s 15 year anniversary. Elsewhere. Good news for card factory all those delayed pandemic weddings resulting in a boom for the greeting card industry. Boris Johnson has reportedly been called in to try and twist the arm no pun intended of arm, the Cambridge based semiconductor firm to list in London rather than in New York. And of course, continue around in Europe over whether or not the continent is to borrow Russian oil and gas in the near future as war in Ukraine continues to rage. But much of the discussion today and indeed for the rest of the week. It will be about the energy companies the rest of the discussion will no doubt be about rate rises and talk about both of those with me is CMC markets. Michael Hewson back for his fortnightly slot news from BP today, Michael, I think it’s fair to say that this is one of those corporate results stories that dropped at 7am. This morning, as I rolled over to check my iPhone. I mean, you’re already up on about in your laptop. But as I rolled over to check my iPhone, it looked very much like a business story that was seemed to get caught in the political crosshairs. And by about 10 past eight on the Today programme this morning on the radio, it was obvious that it had lots of chatter about windfall taxes, lots of chat about bumper profits. But it wasn’t really a day of bumper profits for BP.Michael Hewson 3:52 Now, I think if you if you’d read the headlines from the mainstream media, the focus would have been on the underlying replacement cost profit of $6.2 billion for the first quarter, which was up from $2.6 billion this time, four months ago. But that overlooks the not inconsiderable fact that BP said to take a $29.3 billion write down on its Rosneft stake and any of any and all the other assets that it’s exposed to in Russia. So actually, the profit or loss attributable to BP shareholders was a loss of nearly $20.4 billion. So I’m not sure what these politicians think they’re going to be imposing a windfall tax on Yes, BP did announced they were going to do another two and a half billion dollar buyback and you could certainly criticise them for that. And you could certainly criticise them for the fact that their capex over the first quarter was $2.9 billion, which is considerably But below the number in q4 as well as the number 12 months ago, but to suggest that they’re making obscene profits overlooks a not inconsiderable important fact that they posted a huge loss.