Share Prices & Company Research


18 April 2023

Market Round-Up

Israel is currently in the grip of one of the most serious domestic crises in its history, with weekly mass protests and strikes over government plans to overhaul its judicial system seeing hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets across the country.
General labour strikes have closed banks, shops, ports and Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, with the current political crisis heightening concerns from officials over a civil war with growing protests from military reservists triggering further concerns around Israel’s national security. The worsening situation within Israel is starting to raise questions for Israel’s top allies, including the United States.
The mass protests oppose the government’s plans for legal reforms in the judicial system which political opponents say severely undermine the country's democracy by weakening the system which historically has kept a check on the government’s use of power. The Israeli administration has been pushing for changes that would limit the Supreme Court's power to review or scrutinise new laws set out by the country’s government, with a simple majority in the 120-seat Knesset overriding court rulings. The reforms would also allow politicians to appoint judges to the bench themselves and no longer require ministers to obey the guidance of their legal advisors.

The Bank of Israel has warned that the fallout from the controversial plan could reduce the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2.8% annually over the next three years on average. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also released a report on the Israeli economy last week predicting that Israel's GDP growth rate will slow from 6.3% in 2022 to 2.8% in 2023 and rebound to 3.4% in 2024. A large influence on the fall in GDP is the adverse impact of uncertainty around investment in the economy, from both domestic and foreign investors.

This estimation came as the Bank of Israel raised its benchmark interest rate for the ninth consecutive time to 4.5%, the highest level since 2007. This aggressive move follows similar monetary committees’ assessments with the move intended to combat inflation, the annual inflation rate of which stood at 5.2% in February, slightly lower than January’s 14-year high of 5.4%. The current elevated inflation levels within the country also negatively impact GDP forecasts as higher inflation affects both the country’s exports and the population’s disposable income, therefore creating reduced demand for private consumption (a significant component of a country’s economic output).

The UK-headquartered energy giant British Petroleum (BP) has joined forces with Harbour Energy to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project located close to the heavily industrialised Humber region in the North East of England. The investment will see BP acquire a 40% non-operated share in the Viking Project which will continue to be fully run by Harbour and will bring together two of the most experienced energy operators in the North Sea.

The transformational project will help to decarbonise the UK and aims to meet one-third of the UK government’s target to capture and store up to 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually by 2030. This will be achieved through the repurposing of old depleted gas fields off the UK coast into carbon storage facilities, with the project having the potential to unlock up to £7bn of investment across the full CO2 capture, transport, and storage value chain over the next decade.

The most recent investment falls under BP’s continued plans to expand its investments into green technologies and renewable energy, with the business currently focusing on offshore wind and carbon capture as the main components of its energy transition strategy.

Please note that this communication is for information only and does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell the shares of the investments mentioned. The value of investments and any income derived from them may go down as well as up and you could get back less than you invested.
Market Round-Up
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