The news earlier this month that three bottles of Château Lafite, from the 1869 vintage, had sold at auction in Hong Kong for £437,900 gives a new meaning to the “China price”. This phrase usually means the lowest price – reflecting the competitiveness of Chinese manufacturers. But there is also a “China price” at the top end of the market, as rich Chinese bid up the price of rare, luxury goods to levels that make western rivals go pale and slink out of the auction room. Read more
The “revelations” in the latest download from WikiLeaks strike me as surprisingly dull. You would have thought that, in 250,000 pages of diplomatic cables, there would be insights that were a bit more startling than the suggestions that Angela Merkel is cautious, Silvio Berlusconi is vain, Nicolas Sarkozy is thin-skinned and David Cameron is a bit of a lightweight. Tell me something, I didn’t know.
It may be that, as people trawl through the data, they come across something genuinely interesting. For the moment, however, the only thing that made me raise even half an eyebrow was the suggestion that the Saudis and the other Gulf Arabs are pushing the Americans to bomb Iran. The Israelis have been saying that this is the Saudi position for ages – but, hitherto, I’ve always taken that with a pinch of salt, since it is obviously in Israel’s interests to make that case. So it is a bit surprising to find out that the Saudis really do seem to want a strike on Iran. Read more