Jan ’23: Mr Market defuses my tax bombshell

January is always a miserable month to be in London. Thankfully I managed to get away a bit during the month (not to Davos, no), and enjoy myself in London despite the wintry weather.

What you’re paying for in Mayfair these days

Market movements in January

The markets on the other hand were positively hot. There was some general sentiment – in Davos in particular from what I read – that the doom/gloom of Q4 was overdone. Inflationary expectations are declining. And markets, as a result, lifted dramatically. Equities and bonds rose markedly everywhere. In constant currencies, the markets I’m exposed to (with my leverage included) rose 5.0%.

Market movements in January, in constant currencies

The GBP rose slightly against the USD, and dropped a bit against AUD. On balance, foreign currencies dropped 0.94%. So my index rose 4.0% – the currency movements taking a small dent out of the constant currency figures.

Continue reading “Jan ’23: Mr Market defuses my tax bombshell”

10 year review

Wahoop! I have made it through ten years.

In fact, I’ve had a trackable portfolio for over 20 years. But 10 years ago I started tracking my portfolio in a consistent, monthly way – unitising its performance so I could measure its return. It wasn’t until 2015 that I started this blog, but since then I have been reporting monthly on the progress / setbacks I’ve made/encountered.

I have taken a Bogleheads performance tracking spreadsheet as the template for my own portfolio returns tracker, and that template has had a ’10 year’ row staring at me with a #N/A for the last 10 years. No longer!

In any case, I will loosely follow the format I’ve used for the last couple of years. I’m looking at seven generic questions that I think all prudent investors should ask themselves at least annually.

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Nov ’22: Inflation may have peaked

We ended November in the UK with the same prime minister that we started with. That makes a change on October and September. Moreover, our chancellor of the exchequer (Finance Minister, in any other country!) remained in place too. A sigh of relief at these green shoots of stability could be felt all over the place – not least the political podcasts and Op Ed columns.

The UK government released its well signposted ‘Autumn Statement’, having successfully previewed almost every key measure in it. Bankers bonuses remain uncapped, but almost all the other moves from Truss/Kwarteng have been reversed. Notional tax rates are unchanged, but thresholds are either fixed or have been reduced, so there is a bit more tax to pay all round.

The main changes for me are the drop in the 45% tax threshold by £25k, and the corporation tax staying ‘high’ at 25%. The reduced 45% tax threshold adds 5% x £25k i.e. £1250 of tax to my annual tax bill, and corporation tax being 6% higher than it might have been will cost me considerably more than that.

Input prices are falling

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the markets there was a distinct sound of air coming out of the inflation balloon. Some key input prices have dropped significantly in recent weeks:

  • Oil prices are down below pre-Ukraine levels, and about 25% down from peak.

Avg monthly Brent oil price, Oct 20 to Oct 22

  • Freight costs from Asia have dropped 66-85%
Container freight rates, October 2022
Continue reading “Nov ’22: Inflation may have peaked”