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Archive for the breakfast-today Category

GFK consumer confidence declines in December

Friday, December 19th, 2014

A GFK survey revealed that the consumer confidence index fell to -4 in December, a 17-month low, from -2 in November. Moreover, the prospects are unlikely to improve in the near future as GfK’s measure of economic optimism index dropped to its lowest level since July 2013.

UK households optimistic about financial prospects

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Markit’s Household Finance Index, which gauges households’ overall financial health, declined marginally to 42.7 in December from 42.8 in the previous month. The indictor was above the 2014 average reading and the third highest in the survey’s 71-month history.

BoE unveils result of banks’ stress test

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

The Bank of England (BoE) conducted stress tests to assess the ability of UK’s lenders to survive a financial downturn. The Co-operative Bank failed the test, while five major banks passed the test. However, amongst them, Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland were found to be in a risky position.

David Cameron launches Starter Home scheme

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

The UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron introduced the Starter Home initiative to help 100,000 first-time home buyers purchase houses at 20% less than the market price from the start of 2015. The houses covered under the scheme would not be allowed for sale at the market price for a specific period to protect buyers’ interests. Moreover, certain charges would be waived for developers associated with the initiative.

UK house prices decline in December

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Rightmove, a property tracking website, revealed the UK house prices fell 3.3% m-o-m in December following a 1.7% drop in the previous month. However, on y-o-y basis, house prices climbed 7%, lower than an 8.5% rise in November.

EU insists on additional economic reforms in France

Friday, December 12th, 2014

European Union (EU) urged the French government to undertake more labour and tax reforms to stimulate economic growth in the country. The report under Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure (MIP) for countries requiring specific monitoring suggested the current measures were inadequate to correct imbalances that could potentially affect the entire EU region.

BOE’s Governor suggests future rate hike

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

The Bank of England (BOE)’s Governor Mark Carney indicated a gradual increase in interest rates despite low inflation. However, he did not reveal any time frame for the rate hike. The BOE expects UK’s economy to expand 3.5% this year.

BCC downgrades growth outlook for the UK

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) cut the 2014 growth projection for the UK to 3% from 3.2% owing to a lower-than-anticipated rise in services, household consumption and exports. The forecasts for 2015 and 2016 were also lowered to 2.6% and 2.4% from 2.8% and 2.5%, respectively.

Black Friday discounts boost UK retail sales in November

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

In November 2014, UK retail sales grew 0.9% y-o-y on a like-for-like basis. Total sales expanded 2.2% y-o-y. Sales in the household appliances, furniture and home categories were particularly strong due to Black Friday promotions.

Greek lawmakers approve 2015 budget

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Greek lawmakers approved the country’s budget, forecasting almost no deficit for 2015. Of the 300-seat parliament, 155 voted in favour, while 134 voted against the plan. One expressed no view. The budget needs to be formally approved by the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

ECB cuts growth forecast for Eurozone

Friday, December 5th, 2014

The ECB lowered its 2014 growth forecast for the Eurozone to 0.8% from 0.9% three months earlier. The forecasts for 2015 and 2016 have been slashed to 1% and 1.5% from 1.6% and 1.9%, respectively. The ECB also lowered its inflation target following the sharp fall in oil prices.

Osborne announces cuts in property taxes, unveils new taxes on multinationals

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced the system of stamp duty on home purchases would be changed from the current flat rate on the entire purchase price to slab rates above a series of thresholds. The changes, which come into effect from midnight, would benefit 98% of all home buyers, he mentioned. Osborne also announced higher levies on multinational companies and abolished air passenger duty for children under 12.

UK shop prices fall 1.9% in November

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

The British Retail Consortium Shop Price Index fell 1.9% y-o-y in November, matching the decline in October. Non-food and food prices decreased 2.9% y-o-y and 0.2% y-o-y, respectively.

FCA tightens regulation governing credit brokers

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has imposed stricter rules on loan brokers to curb unfair practices in the credit market. The new regulation requires brokers to provide clear information on their legal name, the estimated fee and how the fee would be payable. The regulation is expected to come into force on 2nd January 2015.

EIOPA reveals stress tests results for Europe’s insurance sector

Monday, December 1st, 2014

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), the EU insurance watchdog, revealed Europe’s insurance sector is vulnerable to falling asset prices and Japanese-style prolonged low interest rates. Under the most adverse scenario, 44% of companies would not have sufficient levels of solvency capital. EIOPA’s stress tests were based on 2013 financials.

Draghi endorses comprehensive strategy for Eurozone

Friday, November 28th, 2014

The European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi emphasised on an all inclusive strategy combining fiscal policy and structural reforms to improve the condition of the euro area economy. He added that a soft monetary policy alone cannot deliver the desired results.

UK business investment falls in third quarter

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

UK Office for National Statistics reported business investment fell 0.7% in Q3 2014, following a rise of 3.3% in the previous quarter. However, consumer spending advanced 0.8%. On a y-o-y basis, investment growth stood at 6.3%.

BOE confirms flexible monetary policy

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England (BoE), reported the central bank could demonstrate ‘considerable flexibility’ in the use of stimulus measures, if deflation fears spread to the UK. However, the Bank remains on course for a hike in interest rates next year.

UK service sector expands in three months to November: CBI

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

According to a quarterly survey by the Confederation of British Industry, the UK’s services sector grew progressively in the three months to November. Although inflation in the consumer services selling price advanced at a faster pace since 2010, the price of business and professional services declined.

Italian Finance Minister endorses more action by ECB

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy’s Finance Minister, stated more action is required from the ECB to raise ‘excessively low’ inflation at an accelerated pace. He emphasised the use of all forms of financial instruments, including monetary policy, to support the Euro area’s economy.

Conservatives lose second parliamentary seat to UKIP

Friday, November 21st, 2014

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) won the south-eastern English constituency of Rochester and Strood in a special election by defeating Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party. The victory indicates a possible political upheaval in the next year’s national election. UKIP had won its first elected seat, last month.

Bank of Italy doubts ECB credibility over target inflation

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Salvatore Rossi, Deputy Governor of Bank of Italy, stated the Eurozone is on the brink of deflation. Raising doubts over the ECB’s credibility, he said the central bank is unlikely to meet its target inflation, with the rate hovering near 0.4% in October.

UK house prices rise in September

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

The Office for National Statistics revealed that house prices in the UK increased 12.1% y-o-y in September to reach a seven-year high after gaining 11.7% in August. The average house prices inched up 0.5% m-o-m to £273,000 in September.

David Cameron warns of impending global crisis

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

The UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron urged parliamentarians to hold firm on economic policies to secure a better future for the country. He stated the economy has responded well to the tough measures undertaken thus far, however the worrying signs from the Eurozone cannot be ignored.

UK house prices decline in November: Rightmove

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Rightmove reported the average asking price for a house in the UK contracted 1.7% m-o-m in November to £267,127, following a 2.6% increase in October. On a y-o-y basis, house prices grew 8.5% in the UK compared with 7.6% in the previous month.

Declining oil prices to weaken Russia’s economy: IMF

Friday, November 14th, 2014

The IMF spokesman Bill Murray stated the Russian central bank’s decision to float the domestic currency would enhance the country’s ability to control inflation and withstand external shocks. However, the move may not offset the impact of falling crude prices on the oil-dependent economy. IMF expects the Russian economy to grow at 0.5% in 2015.

UK RICS house price index declines

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors indicated the monthly house price balance fell to +20 in October (weakest since May 2013), from +30 in September. This was largely due to widespread price declines in London.

Standard Chartered plans to close up to 100 branches in 2015

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Standard Chartered bank plans to shut around 100 branches or 8% of its network to save US$200m on the proposed US$400m per year. The company’s cost to income ratio stood at 67% in the first half of the year. The bank has been under significant pressure to improve performance after its shares fell 30% this year.

British retail sales improve slightly in October

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The British Retail Consortium stated total retail spending in October increased 1.4% y-o-y vis-à-vis a 0.8% y-o-y decline in September. However, retail sales on a like for like basis remained unchanged, after falling 2.1% in the previous month.

China producer price index declines again in October

Monday, November 10th, 2014

The National Bureau of Statistics in China revealed factory gate prices fell 2.2% y-o-y, for a record 32nd month in October. In contrast, consumer prices advanced 1.6%, unchanged from the rise in the previous month.