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Foreign firms get all tangled up | The office is alive and well |

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Today's big stories

  1. Foreign firms in China have watched their profits take a nosedive this year
  2. There are signs that the housing market is about to slow down, but could it suffer an all-out crash? – Read Now
  3. A record number of companies are renting their first London office space

Unmade In China

Unmade In China

What’s Going On Here?

Data out on Monday showed that the profits of foreign industrial firms based in China have tanked this year.

What Does This Mean?

China’s decision to lock down the economy has been weighing heavily on industrial companies, killing demand and slowing – if not altogether halting – production. And look, there are signs of a bounceback: profits in the sector were down “just” 6.5% in May from the same time last year – a notable improvement from April’s 8.5%. Trouble is, it looks like foreign firms will take a while to recover: their profits fell 16% between January and May from the same time last year, even as state-owned firms posted a 10% uptick. That’s probably because they don’t have access to the same resources and insider knowledge that their counterparts do, and can’t rely on big-money government contracts even when times are bleak.

Why Should I Care?

The bigger picture: Abandon ship.
No surprises, then, that more and more foreign firms are reassessing whether to keep investing in their Chinese businesses at all: survey data out last week showed that almost a quarter of European companies in the country are thinking of relocating their current or planned investments – the highest proportion in a decade (tweet this). And when you consider that the Chinese government isn’t wavering from its zero-tolerance Covid strategy, that proportion could be set to get even bigger.

For markets: China’s a bargain.
Foreign businesses might be thinking about leaving the country, but investors are heading back in: Chinese stocks are up nearly 30% from mid-March, thanks in large part to easing lockdowns and supportive government policies.  And with a key valuation metric showing that Chinese stocks are currently much cheaper than those in the US, a growing list of investment managers and banks are thinking about piling even more into the country.

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Analyst Take

Are Home Prices About To Crash?

Are Home Prices About To Crash?
Photo of Stéphane Renevier

Stéphane Renevier, Analyst

Covid really brought out the best in the global housing market.

Homeowners with more cash to spend, lower mortgage rates to pay, and a newfound remote-working freedom lined up to move into bigger and better things.

But there are finally signs that its run of form is starting to lose its puff, as rising interest rates and slowing economic growth drag the market down.

So we can probably agree that a downturn seems to be on the cards. The question now is whether we’re likely to see a 2008-style crash.

That’s today’s Insight: is the housing market about to crash?

Read or listen to the Insight here


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London Calling

London Calling

What’s Going On Here?

Data out on Monday showed a record number of companies signed leases for major London office space for the first time.

What Does This Mean?

The arrival of the pandemic brought with it the dizzying revelation that you can do your job just as well without spending two hours on a train every day. So employers, the theory went, wouldn’t want city-based HQs at all, opting to open satellite offices instead. But according to analysis from UK real estate company Cushman & Wakefield, that’s not the case: a record number of businesses signed their first major lease in London last year. A third of those were businesses relocating from outside London, while the rest were wet-behind-the-ears startups. There’s apparently still a lot of demand for modern high-spec space too, with Google, TikTok, and more still willing to pay eye-watering rent for prime sites.

Why Should I Care?

The bigger picture: Landlord have mercy.
It’s true that overall occupancy rates are expected to stay well below the pre-pandemic average, as companies continue to let staff work from home for at least some of the week. But this data will still come as a relief to London landlords: it means workers will be incentivized to stay within commuting distance of the office, which should help prop up demand for properties to rent and buy.

Zooming out: Productivity pays.
London’s appeal to startups and Big Tech is part of the reason that the city’s productivity – that is, the economic output per worker – is so much higher than it is elsewhere in the UK. But the city still can’t bring up the overall average to match the US, where an hour of work is estimated to generate around $70 compared to the UK’s $60. That matters because productivity drives long-term economic growth, which is why UK economists all agree that improving the figure is crucial to get the country’s economy back on track.

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💬 Quote of the day

“Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.”

– Tallulah Bankhead (an American stage and screen actress)
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🌍 Finimize Live

🎉 Coming Up This Week…

🏗 How To Build a Well-Balanced Crypto Portfolio: 1pm June 28th
🇺🇸 How To Prepare For A Recession: 1pm June 29th
🏠 Blockchain And Real Estate: What’s Next?: 6pm June 29th

🥳 And then after that…

🤷‍♀️ What To Do With Your Cash, Gains, And Letdowns: 12.30pm July 4th
💰 Managing Your Pension In A Cost Of Living Crisis: 12pm July 6th
📚 Your Guide To Staying Safe In Web3: 1pm July 7th
😊 How Not To Panic In A Bear Market: 5pm July 7th
😎 The Benefits Of On-Chain Transactions: 1pm July 8th
🏡 Shelter Your Portfolio With Premium Real Estate: 12pm July 12th
🔮 The Psychology Of Risk Management: 10am July 13th

🎯 On Our Radar

  1. Who needs an imagination anyway? Ikea’s new app will delete your furniture for you.
  2. Say no to (high-priced) drugs. Mark Cuban’s making them cheaper.
  3. Long live the liver. It survived three days outside a body.
  4. Got $35 million to spare? The Crown Prince of Dubai’s yacht is for sale.
  5. Mayday, mayday. How two men survived a plane crash in Hawaii.
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