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July 27, 2011

Weak mortgage lending continues

by Gill Montia
”Weak
Annual growth in banks’ gross mortgage lending stood at £7.6 billion in June, with the figure 11% lower than a year earlier, according to the British Bankers' Association (BBA). Early signs of growth in the buy-to-let market were evident but both house purchase and remortgaging approvals continued to be weak, and with repayments still at a fairly high level, net mortgage lending increased by ...




July 26, 2011

UK economic growth slows to 0.2%

by Gill Montia
UK economic growth slows to 0.2%
The UK's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by only 0.2% in the second quarter of 2011, following an increase of 0.5% in the preceding three months. However, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) highlights special events that could have curbed growth, including the additional April bank holiday, the royal wedding and the after effects of the Japanese tsunami. On a sector ...




July 25, 2011

Hometrack: housing market holds steady

by Gill Montia
”Hometrack:
The housing market in England and Wales is "in broad equilibrium" despite prices continuing to edge lower, according to Hometrack, which recorded a 0.1% fall in the value of the typical dwelling in July, compared with June. However, there are wide regional variations: prices moved higher across 8% of postcodes (primarily in London) and were lower across 27% of postcodes, with two fifths ...




Sharp rise in UK firms with “critical” financial problems

by Gill Montia
Sharp rise in UK firms with
In its latest "Red Flag" report, Begbies Traynor highlights a 12% quarter-on-quarter rise in UK businesses with "critical" financial problems, while the number firms with "significant" problems fell away, indicating that many distressed companies made a one-way transition. At the end of June 2011, a total of 5,179 companies made up the insolvency specialist's "critical" list, representing combined ...




Cable: economy needs quantitative easing boost

by Gill Montia
Cable: economy needs quantitative easing boost
The sluggish performance of the UK economy needs combating with another round of Quantitative Easing (QE), according to Business Secretary, Vince Cable. In an interview with The Financial Times, the minister identifies weak demand as a serious block to growth and urges the Bank of England to resume its QE programme, which was suspended early last year. The Bank has so far spent ...




May 6, 2011

House prices to fall till 2015

by Gill Montia
”House
A new report from a leading think-tank is predicting that UK house prices will fall by 4.5% in 2011, followed by an average 1.5% fall in each of the subsequent four years. According to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), this year's decline will reflect the squeeze on household finances resulting from higher taxes and rising inflation, and will ...




UK economic recovery to remain sluggish

by Gill Montia
UK economic recovery to remain sluggish
Recovery of the UK economy is to remain sluggish, with GDP growing by 1.4% in 2011 and by 2% in 2012, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) predicts. Growth this year will be constrained by government spending cuts and a squeeze on household finances resulting from higher taxes and rising inflation. According to the think-tank, consumer price inflation will ...




May 5, 2011

Base rate held at 0.5%

by Gill Montia
Base rate held at 0.5%
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has voted to maintain the base rate at 0.5% in May, as widely expected. The Bank's quantitative easing (asset purchase) programme will also be maintained at its current level of £200 billion. The base rate has remained unchanged since March 2009, despite inflation running at 4%, double the Government’s 2% target. However, the Governor of the Bank of ...




Official: house prices in steepest decline since 2009

by Gill Montia
”Official:
Latest figures from the Land Registry show house prices in England and Wales falling by 1.1% in March, marking the largest monthly decline seen since February 2009. The only region to experience a monthly rise was the North West, with an upward movement of 0.7%, while in Wales house prices tumbled by 3.3%, compared with February. On an annual basis ...




Lloyds sets aside billions over payment protection mis-sales

by Gill Montia
Lloyds sets aside billions over payment protection mis-sales
Lloyds Banking Group has been forced to set aside a huge sum of money to cover potential costs related to its mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI). The bank has made a provision of £3.2 billion for contacting its PPI customers and making recompense where necessary. As a result it posted a £3.47 billion loss for the first quarter of 2011, ...




House prices level but downward pressures loom

by Gill Montia
”House
House prices in England and Wales were unchanged in April, with no price fall recorded for the first time in nine months, according to Hometrack. A 0.3% rise in London prices offset small falls of up to -0.3% across other regions, with just under a quarter of the country showing falls. The housing intelligence firm notes that an increase in demand ...




May 4, 2011

Nationwide: house prices drift down

by Gill Montia
”Nationwide:
UK house prices fell by 0.2% in April, leaving the value of the typical home down 1.3% on a year earlier, at £165,609, according to Nationwide. The decline follows a monthly increase of 0.5% in March and the three-month-on-three-month measure, which is a better measure of the underlying trend, shows a modest year-on-year rise of 0.6%. The lender's chief economist, Robert Gardner, points out ...




Small UK manufacturers swamped with orders

by Gill Montia
Small UK manufacturers swamped with orders
The UK’s small and medium-sized manufacturers have seen the volume of orders at home and abroad grow at the fastest rate in 16 years, according to the latest Confederation of British Industry (CBI) SME Trends Survey. Headcount increased for the third consecutive quarter as firms tried to keep up with demand, and output is expected to rise again in the coming ...




May 3, 2011

High Street sales remain sluggish

by Gill Montia
High Street sales remain sluggish
High Street sales remain sluggish, rising slightly in April compared with a year ago, but disappointing retailers' expectations. According to the latest Distributive Trades Survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), only 12% of retailers reported "good" sales last month, while 35% said they were "poor". However, many retailing sub-sectors saw a modest improvement in sales growth in the year to April, with ...




Household incomes to fall for fourth consecutive year

by Gill Montia
Household incomes to fall for fourth consecutive year
UK households face a typical £780 drop in disposable income this year, the BBC has reported. A study by Deloitte, seen by the broadcaster, argues that tax rises, government spending cuts and higher commodity prices will force inflation above its current 4% level. The financial services firm therefore predicts that 2011 will see real earnings fall for the fourth year in ...




Fall in UK private sector job vacancies

by Gill Montia
Fall in UK private sector job vacancies
Job vacancies in the UK's private sector fell in April, according to the latest employment index from recruitment specialist, Reed. The month registered a 2% drop in opportunities, compared with March, reflecting slower growth in the banking and tourism sectors, although vacancies were up 22% on an annual basis. The year-on-year rise is due to private sector growth, as public sector vacancies ...




Interest rates to remain low

by Gill Montia
Interest rates to remain low
Low interest rates look set to continue, with the Governor of the Bank of England having warned that “massive” economic challenges faced by high levels of debt would only be worsened by rate hikes. Addressing the European Parliament’s Systemic Risk Board yesterday, Mr King said: “The economic consequences of high-level indebtedness now would become more severe if rates were to rise.” The Bank of ...




April 13, 2011

UK firms in financial distress up 15%

by Gill Montia
UK firms in financial distress up 15%
In its latest Red Flag Alert, Begbies Traynor reports a 15% increase in financial distress across all UK business sectors, with sectors dependent on discretionary spending suffering "particularly badly". The recovery specialist's survey for the first quarter of 2011 reveals that 186,554 firms are experiencing "significant" or "critical" financial problems, compared with 161,601 in the same period of 2010. The figure ...




March 31, 2011

House prices up in March

by Gill Montia
”House
The first of the March house price surveys shows the value of the average home up 0.5% during the month, to £164,751, taking the annual rate of inflation to 0.1%. According to Nationwide, prices have now increased modestly in three of the past four months, with the three-month-on-three-month measure (regarded as a better indicator of the underlying trend) up 0.6%. However, the building society’s ...




February 21, 2011

Rightmove: asking prices up 3%

by Gill Montia
”Rightmove:
House sellers coming to market in February increased asking prices by 3.1%, compared with January, Rightmove reports. The typical home is currently for sale at £230,030 or 0.3% more than this time last year, but the bulk of vendors could face disappointment in today's "three-tier" market. The property portal warns that lenders are focused on “bargain-hunting bottom-feeders” and the “low-loan to value elite”, leaving ...