I am writing this post after ‘the UK changed’ when Queen Elizabeth II (RIP) died. It describes the month of August, which now feels odd to be writing about, so I will keep it very brief.
August is in increasingly holiday month in the UK. French style. Getting work done is difficult, some restaurants close, my hairdresser shuts, and so on.
I didn’t travel abroad at all this summer. And I can’t say I really miss it. I think having the Coastal Folly to explore and Heathrow hassle back in the headlines, not to mention eye watering air fares, seems to have destroyed my travel ‘libido’.
I can’t remember a better month to be ‘stuck’ in the UK though. The UK moved into drought conditions, but the temperatures were lovely. London was markedly hotter than the coast – London was too hot to really enjoy, but the Coastal Folly saw 23-27C for two or three weeks on the trot. Lovely.
Energy worries climaxed in the UK at the end of August, when OFGEM announced the Q4 price cap – which is about 80% higher than the already-high prices. Almost immediately it was clear the government would need to do something about this, but at the end of August we awaited confirmation that Truss was to be the new PM and in the meantime the government sat on its hands.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, markets ended the month down a bit – particularly bonds. FTSE wasn’t too badly off, with energy/mining companies helping to prop it up.
For some reason bonds took a particular beating – especially UK bonds – I think because interest rates are assumed to be going up faster/further than before. This is despite the long term rates remaining lower than short term ones – apparently you can get a 10 year fixed mortgage for about 3.1%, I hear, which still sounds cheap to me. 2 year fixes are a bit pricier, but still don’t sound that expensive.
In any case I didn’t do much with my portfolio in August, which fell about 2%. I didn’t get any windfalls, nor many dividends, so my portfolio loan and my allocations remained broadly unchanged.
I did have a relatively lean month on energy consumption, which I am now tracking almost as carefully as I track my portfolio! Including the electric car, I used about 2k kWh. Historically that would have cost about £200. At the October rates it is going to cost me closer to £800. And winter is coming.