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May 14, 2009

Student loan interest payments at 0%

by Peter Charalambous
The Government has announced this week that 2.5 million students will pay 0 percent interest on student loans from September. However, this slashes the hope that student loans, which are linked to the Retail Prices Index which has fallen to -0.4 percent, would mean that loans would be reduced accordingly. The Student Loans Company has stated that the decision was taken due ...

M&S 125th birthday sale offers products for 1p

by Peter Charalambous
As part of its 125th birthday celebrations, Marks and Spencer will go back to its original roots as a penny bazaar and offer a range of 20 products that are available for just 1p in a three day sale. Sir Stuart Rose, the M&S chairman, said that the chain has been at the centre of the UK high street and, ...

Sony reports first loss in 14 years

by Peter Charalambous
Japanese electronics giant Sony has today announced its first annual loss in 14 years. The group reported a loss of 98.9 billion yen (£685 million) for the year ended 31 March, against a profit of 369.4 billion yen the previous year. Following the company’s first back to back loss since 1958, Chief Executive Officer, Howard Stringer, has said that there will be ...

South Korean interest rate remains unchanged

by Peter Charalambous
The central bank of South Korea has maintained interest rates at a record low of just 2 percent for the third consecutive month, in a bid to maintain the economy. The Bank of Korea Governor, Lee Seong Tae, said that the bank has forecast marginal positive quarterly growth over the coming period and the 2 percent rate will help avert a ...

May 13, 2009

World’s biggest wind farm planned for Thames Estuary

by Peter Charalambous
The 1,000 megawatt wind farm planned in the Thames Estuary near London has been given the go ahead by E.ON UK, DONG Energy and Masdar, and will help the UK meet its carbon reduction target as the Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed the development. Frank Mastiaux, Chief Executive of E.ON Climate and Renewables, said that the consortium would invest 2.2 ...

May 11, 2009

Energy meter in every UK household

by Peter Charalambous
Today the government has announced a £9 billion scheme that will install a new smart energy meter in every UK home. Both the Department for Energy & Climate Change and the energy companies believe that the measure will result in savings for consumers. The meters are electronic and available for both gas and electricity and, as a result, send up-to-date accurate information and ...

Centrica buys stake in BE and plans new nuclear facilities

by Peter Charalambous
As part of a new deal brokered with the French energy provider EDF, Centrica will help build new nuclear power stations in the UK with at least four new generation reactors planned, most likely close to existing sites in Sizewell in Suffolk, and Hinkley Point in Somerset. Centrica, which owns British Gas, announced this morning that an agreement ...

May 9, 2009

2,000 jobs at risk as Corus considers Teesside plant closure

by Peter Charalambous
Steel producer Corus may cut 2,000 jobs at its Teesside Cast Products plant after four international slab buyers, Marcegaglia, Dongkuk Steel Mills, Duferco Participations Holding and Alvory, have terminated a 10-year supply contract. As their main customers, the consortium have failed to fulfil their part of the contract which has been signed for ten years and was set ...

Producer output price inflation falls

by Peter Charalambous
British factory gate inflation fell to a 5-year low in April as raw materials costs fell at their fastest annual rate in 7 years. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), producer output price inflation fell to 1.2 percent in April from 2 percent in March, bringing it to its lowest since April 2004 and is a further indication that inflation is ...

May 3, 2009

Insolvencies at a record high

by Peter Charalambous
Individual insolvencies are at a record high with an average of 330 people going bust everyday, with the latest insolvency data for the first three months of 2009 showing a 19 percent year-on-year rise inclusive of Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and bankruptcies. KPMG has stated that 51 per cent of people entering into IVAs are homeowners, which is a 34 percent increase from ...

T-Mobile might sell UK division

by Peter Charalambous
According to the Financial Times, Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile, is under pressure to leave the UK market after disappointing financial results. The two main shareholders are the German government and the private equity group, Blackstone, are calling for the UK mobile telephone operations to be sold as they are under performing in an ever increasingly competitive UK market. As the fourth largest mobile ...

May 1, 2009

Indian monthly exports fall by largest on record

by Peter Charalambous
India’s exports for March have fallen by a record amount as the country missed a revised export target of $175 billion. In 2007-08, the country posted export growth of 23 percent valued at $155.51 billion. According to figures released by the ministry of commerce in March exports were valued at $11.52 billion, which is down 33 percent from this time last ...

Brazil central bank cuts interest rates to 10.25%

by Peter Charalambous
The Brazilian central bank has cut interest rates by 1 percent to 10.25 percent, while the move was widely expected, many investors are disappointed that the reduction was not greater with a 1.5 percent rate cut being mooted. This was evidence that the central bank has reduced their policy of monetary easing, although the benchmark interest rate has been set ...

April 30, 2009

German unemployment rises for sixth consecutive month

by Peter Charalambous
In April, German unemployment increased for the sixth consecutive month, by 58,000 to 3.46 million, which takes the unemployment rate to its highest level in nearly two years. April’s official figure, released by the Federal Labour Agency, is better than analysts have predicted with 70,000 job cuts predicted in the latest poll. Frank-Juergen Weise of the German labour office said that the ...

ESRI calls for Irish banks to be nationalised

by Peter Charalambous
According to Alan Barrett, a research professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute, Irish ministers should move to nationalise banks and end the uncertainty instead of buying property loans. The focus needed is to end the uncertainty and Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, plans to clean up banks by removing the bad debt built up by property developers and set ...

BSkyB bucks downturn with introduction of HD

by Peter Charalambous
BSkyB has reported a 7 percent increase in adjusted revenues for the last 9 months with adjusted operating profit increasing by 13 percent to £589m, as the company added a further 80,000 new customers in the first quarter of this year and 243,000 customers opted for the Sky+HD package. Despite the company saying that the developments are in line with forecasts, ...

Van maker LDV files for administration

by Peter Charalambous
Crippled van maker LDV, owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, announced yesterday that the company had applied to go into administration on 6th May, but trade unions are calling for the government to give a £4 million bailout sum, in order to keep the manufacturer going while rescue talks are underway. LDV is faced with administration due to the fact that the ...

Business survey finds Google world’s first $100bn brand

by Peter Charalambous
The BrandZ Top 100 survey, conducted by market research consultancy Millward Brown, has found Google to be the at the top spot of the Most Valuable Brands table. Google, the search engine giant, has become the first $100bn name and 6 of the top 100 are UK brands with Vodafone in the top 10. The recession has meant that more people ...

New Zealand cuts interest rates to record low

by Peter Charalambous
As expected the New Zealand central bank Governor, Alan Bollard, has cut interest rates for the seventh consecutive time, as the recession has slowed exports and reduced business investment on the island. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has officially cut interest rates by 0.5 percent to a record low of 2.5 percent. After 18 months of recession, the economy ...