Weekly Client update – 7th July 2023

Market Overview

US markets: The US stock market closed lower on Friday, as investors digested strong labor market data and looked ahead to the Federal Reserve’s next policy meeting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 129.83 points, or 0.4%, to 34,288.64. The S&P 500 lost 0.79% to 4,446.82, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.82% to 13,791.65.

European markets: European stocks closed higher on Friday, as investors took heart from signs that inflation may be peaking. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.94% to 429.91 points. France’s CAC 40 index gained 3.30% to 6,229.76 points, Italy’s FTSE MIB index climbed 3.75% to 22,397.13 points, and Germany’s DAX index increased 2.01% to 13,304.54 points.

Asian markets: Asian stock markets were mixed on Friday, as investors digested the latest economic data from the US and China. The Nikkei 225 index in Japan fell 0.45% to 26,487.09 points, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong rose 0.91% to 22,221.06 points, and the Shanghai Composite index in China gained 0.09% to 3,259.43 points.

Overall, the international markets were mixed this week, with some positive signs on inflation and economic growth. However, investors remain cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s next policy meeting, where it is expected to raise interest rates by 0.75%.


Teaching unions meet States Employment Board after strike and Royal Square protest

Teaching unions met representatives from the States Employment Board yesterday after a strike and other industrial action closed most Island schools on Wednesday.

Following the meeting, Marina Mauger, of the NASUWT, said it had been agreed to establish working groups to look at the recruitment and retention of staff, but that teachers’ pay had not been discussed.

Mrs Mauger said talks regarding the long-running pay dispute were due to take place prior to the end of the summer term later this month.

The NASUWT and the National Association of Head Teachers have started an indefinite work-to-rule as a result of the pay dispute, while the National Education Union staged a one-day strike on Wednesday.

The government has offered teachers the same 7.9% pay increase accepted by other public servants, but unions say teachers have received a series of below-inflation pay deals, and requested 15.4%, adding 5% to the 10.4% rate of inflation at the time of making their claim.

All three unions have indicated they may strike again after schools return in September if the government’s pay offer is not improved, but ministers have said that no further money is available and that a higher settlement would fuel inflation.


$12 million frozen following investigation into disgraced art dealer’s stolen Cambodian antiquities

Twelve million dollars held by Jersey financial institutions have been frozen in what has been described as the ‘largest ever’ forfeiture of proceeds from the sale of stolen antiquities.

The Royal Court agreed to freeze the assets following an investigation into a scheme by the late Douglas Latchford, a disgraced art dealer, to sell stolen Cambodian antiquities in the USA and elsewhere.

Attorney General Mark Temple KC said that the Economic Crime and Confiscation Unit in the Law Officers’ Department and the Jersey Financial Intelligence Unit worked ‘in close partnership’ with the US Department of Justice in this ‘important case’.

Following the death of Mr Latchford, the proceedings were brought under the Civil Asset Recovery (International Co-Operation) (Jersey) Law 2007, which Mr Temple called a ‘powerful additional weapon for Jersey in the fight against international financial crime and money-laundering’.

Following an approach by the US Department of Justice to the Attorney Jersey, the Royal Court yesterday agreed to make the funds subject to a property freezing order.

This allows the Attorney General to apply on behalf of another country to freeze and return property which has been found to have been used in unlawful conduct or obtained in the course of unlawful conduct.

The money will eventually be returned via the US Treasury to the people of Cambodia in an asset-sharing agreement.


Jersey to borrow money for new hospital at Overdale

Ministers have announced that they will borrow money to pay for new hospital buildings at Overdale. The new hospital is expected to cost £800 million, and the government is hoping to borrow £500 million from the UK government. The current hospital is outdated and overcrowded, and the new hospital is seen as essential to improving healthcare in Jersey.

The government has said that it will need to borrow money to fund the new hospital, as the island’s finances are not strong enough to pay for it outright. The UK government has said that it is willing to lend Jersey the money, but that it will need to be repaid over a long period of time.

The new hospital is expected to be completed in 2028.


Concerns travel rules will deter French visitor

Some are concerned that changes to travel rules will make it harder for people to visit Jersey from France. From August, French nationals will no longer be able to enter Jersey on their ID cards, and will instead need to apply for a visa. This has led to concerns that the number of French visitors to Jersey will decline.

The Jersey Tourism industry is worth over £1 billion a year, and a decline in French visitors would have a significant impact on the island’s economy. The Jersey Chamber of Commerce has said that the new visa requirements are “a major concern” and that they could have a “devastating impact” on the tourism industry.

The Jersey government has said that it is working with the French government to try to minimize the impact of the new visa requirements. However, it is unclear what the long-term impact will be.


Stolen decking worth thousands of pounds returned to Jersey restaurant after CCTV appeal

Decking worth thousands of pounds that was stolen from a Jersey restaurant has been returned, according to its owner.

Although some of it is damaged, Ken Yu says he’s “delighted” and thankful to the “public, the media and the Facebook friends who helped us track them down.”

Police are still investigating the incident.

After “several thousands of pounds” worth of decking boards were stolen over the weekend, the owners of the Rice Bowl in Jersey appealed to the public for information.

They shared CCTV footage with ITV Channel which appeared to show an individual taking the wooden panels from outside the restaurant before loading them into a white van.

The first incident happened at around 8:40pm on Saturday 1 July while the Chinese restaurant at Grève d’Azette in St Clement was closed for renovations.

The same white van appears to return just under an hour later – at around 9:30pm – to pick up a second load.

A social media post by Awabi – a St Helier restaurant run by the same family – said the incident would likely delay the Rice Bowl’s re-opening.