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Article | 06 August 2021 | Investments
No 1 in second place
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and world’s richest man, and his Blue Origin rocket were beaten into space by Richard Branson aboard a Virgin Galactic rocket. Lift off coincided with his stepping down as CEO of Amazon. The company faces challenges on both sides of the Atlantic on pricing and the misuse of competitors’ data. Amazon also faces issues about working conditions, a key red flag for ESG investors, despite having recruited 500,000 people since the pandemic began. Perhaps this new world perspective could help Bezos achieve his aim to make Amazon ‘Earth’s best employer’.
Not dead yet?
A key challenge for global central banks remains the sharp spike in inflation. Driven by used cars, travel and lodging, US inflation shot up by 5.4% in June. That’s the highest for 13 years. If higher inflation takes hold, the US Federal Reserve might have to act aggressively to slam the overheating economy into reverse. It’s described by a Bank of England economist as an ‘economic handbrake turn’. The head of Germany’s Bundesbank warned against discounting inflation as a risk. He recalled the Galapagos giant tortoise, which reappeared despite having been classed as extinct for 100 years.
Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride hailing giant, hit a major road bump shortly after its New York listing. The stock had barely opened before China’s regulators launched an investigation into the company, on grounds of public data security. Didi was removed from China’s app stores and the share price plunged. A lucrative pipeline for US investment banks has now dried up, with planned Chinese listings diverted to Hong Kong. Around 250 Chinese companies already trade in New York, their value hitting $2 trillion. But the roadmap now appears set for further ‘financial decoupling’ of the world’s two biggest economies.