For reasons that no one can explain, a tweet mocking the news of Michael Gove being stuck in a lift at BBC studios had an immediate impact on the currency markets with the Peruvian sol, the Bolivian boliviano and the Colombian peso suffering large devaluations.
Simone Williams, currency expert at the Financial Times, was at a loss to explain the link between a senior Cabinet member being immobilised and the sudden dumping of currencies from Andean countries.
She went on, “We know it’s what caused it. Traders shared the news between them at lightning speed on Whatsapp groups and all of them started selling off currencies of those 3 countries.
“Normally you would only see that if something had happened that would threaten a major export. It’s as if Michael Gove being locked in a cage was the equivalent of a devastating natural phenomenon like a crop-wrecking hurricane.
“And we’ve seen other repercussions too at a smaller level. Cargo flight companies in the Caribbean suddenly became nearly worthless and warehousing in Essex towns near fishing ports also became toxic assets all of the sudden. And for some reason, I haven’t seen a nervous motorbike courier around the City all morning. It’s so odd!”
Although significant, it appears the market commotion was a blip as everything went back to normal as soon as Mr Gove was freed from the lift and dashed off to the closest toilet to urgently treat the sinus infection that has plagued him since university.
Market panics over seemingly unrelated events are rare but not unprecedented. In 2002, the revelations of the affair between John Major and Edwina Currie saw a massive spike in gas use and soap sales as if the whole nation had felt some odd compulsion to get in the shower and desperately scrub themselves raw to try to get clean.