MSNBC.com: Reality Check on the Fed - Newsweek Business We all like to believe that there's an all-knowing, all-powerful force looking after us. No, I'm not talking about organized religion and God. I'm talking about the widespread belief that an all-powerful Federal Reserve Board controls interest rates and inflation, and is looking out for each and every one of us.
ThisisMoney: Thousands of firms holed by slowdown THE big consumer slowdown has driven thousands of British companies to the brink of insolvency, a new report reveals today. Figures from business rescue and restructuring specialists Begbies Traynor show 6946 companies ran into 'critical' financial problems in the third quarter, a 20% increase on the same period last year.
ThisisMoney: Clinton Cards sees red after Birthdays buy IT was a red letter day of the wrong sort for Clinton Cards today, as the greetings card retailer swung into losses in its first half. Last year's £46m acquisition of rival Birthdays has taken longer to bed down than expected, as both chains were hit by the slowdown on the High Street.
ThisisMoney: Councils fail to collect £589m COUNCIL tax bills could be slashed if local authorities had not failed to collect nearly £600million in unpaid bills, union leaders will claim today.Researchers at the GMB found a record £589m - about 3% of the £21bn paid in council tax annually - was not collected last year. The worst offender was Birmingham, which failed to pick up £11.8m, followed by Croydon, Manchester and Hackney.
TimesOnline: New law to add £1,000 to house sellers' bill Anyone selling a house will have to spend up to £1,000 providing an information pack for buyers as part of a shake-up of the housing market to be published by the Government today. The Times has learnt that John Prescott will finally publish draft laws creating home information packs (HIPs), amid mounting concern that the measures will destablise the housing market and increase significantly the costs of moving. The Government maintains that its plans will reduce the cost of buying a house, particularly helping first-time buyers.
Independent: Output hits two-year low, CBI warns Output from UK factories has hit its lowest level for two years while rising energy costs are squeezing their profit margins, the CBI said today. Small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMEs) reported the third consecutive quarterly fall over the three months to October, according to a survey of almost 700 companies.
ThisisMoney: Bankruptcies 'hit record levels' Bankruptcies are heading for record levels this year as thousands of people choose to go bust rather than face spiralling debts.Official figures this week are expected to show a staggering rise in personal insolvencies, triggered not just by creditors, but by the individuals taking advantage of more liberal bankruptcy laws.One source close to the insolvency profession said: 'There were just under 36,000 bankruptcy orders made in England and Wales last year. The figure is likely to be 46,000 for this year.'
Independent: Advisers fear Brown tax clampdown Accountants and lawyers fear that Gordon Brown will use his pre-Budget report to introduce tough new penalties for devising tax avoidance schemes that the Government perceives to be unacceptable. The expectation that new penalties are on the way has increased after public statements from senior officials indicating that the Government intends to take determined action to stamp out avoidance.
BBC NEWS | Wales | Fear as glass firm loses 400 jobs Concerns have been expressed about the future of manufacturing in Wales after news of 400 job cuts in Cardiff. Nippon Electric Glass (UK) Limited is closing as demand for products - like glass for TV sets - has fallen.
Los Angeles Times: The ambush waiting for Bernanke Most Fed chairmen are blindsided early on in their tenure. Alan Greenspan faced a stock market crash two months after he took over in August 1987. Paul Volcker had to cope with a rout in the bond market three months after he became chairman in August 1979. G. William Miller was challenged immediately by a dollar crisis in the spring of 1978. For Arthur Burns, it was the inflation bogie in the early 1970s.
Reuters: Interest rates likely to rise Interest rates are more likely to rise than fall because inflation is set to remain above target for several years, a leading think tank said on Friday. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research also said while higher revenues are set to improve public finances in the near term, taxes will have to rise or spending be cut to correct a structural deficit.
TimesOnline: Next interest rate change will be up says think-tank THE next move in interest rates is likely to be up, a leading economics think-tank said yesterday as it presented a disheartening forecast of weak growth and rising inflation. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) poured cold water on Gordon Brown’s optimistic growth projections and on the view in the City that rates will fall further. The institute forecast that growth would hit 1.7 per cent this year — half the Chancellor’s original prediction and the worst growth in more than a decade, and down from 3.2 per cent last year.
Guardian: London revealed as Britain's worst employment blackspot While it is commonly thought that Britain suffers a north-south divide, with much of the country's prosperity centred on London and the south-east, the true picture is surprisingly different as the capital actually has the lowest employment rate of any part of Britain.
Council of Mortgage Lenders: A year of mortgage regulation - what's changed? A year after the introduction of statutory FSA regulation, the regulator is due to begin a review of how the new rules are working in practice. The CML has today published an article reviewing the transition to the regulated environment, in which it argues that the costs of regulation have greatly exceeded the original estimate and that the jury is still out on whether the anticipated benefits have been achieved.
Reuters: Pensions-led property buying spree unlikely New rules that allow people to put residential property into their pensions and gain tax breaks are unlikely to lead to a "mad rush" to buy second homes, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said on Thursday.
FT: Growth in world trade slows from 9% to 6.5% Growth in world trade has slowed in 2005 and will probably recover only modestly next year as higher oil prices bite into consumers’ incomes, the World Trade Organisation said on Thursday.
This Is Money: Boss of Unwins resigns on financial woes His exit has emerged at a difficult time for the group. Some stores in the 381-strong chain are understood to have just 25% of normal stock levels following problems with suppliers. Meanwhile managers have been told not to bank their takings, but to wait until they are collected by the firm's accountants.
Money Week: The US Consumer and Katrina While gasoline prices have eased a bit as initial panic dies down and excess driving is curtailed, there is another psychological bogeyman waiting in the closet: natural gas.
Money Week: The Invisible Consumer According to official data from the ONS, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail sales increased by 1.9 per cent in the first half of this year, reaching an annual rate of £246.1 bn. The failure of the figures to account for the explosion in internet sales, however, implies that the true figure may stand at up to 3.3 per cent - far higher than the official estimate.
Money Week: The misery of Gordon Brown There’s a real sign-of the-times posting on online auction site Ebay this week. Someone is selling everything he owns. “I wish I didn’t have to do this,” he says, “but I have got into quite a lot of debt and I need a fresh start so I can plan to get my own home and leave my parents’ house… so I am selling EVERYTHING, yes EVERYTHING, I own in one single auction.”
Money Week: Into the red with Brown Not so long ago, most commentators were impressed with Gordon Brown’s handling of the economy. Now, the economy is struggling. Just how much of this is down to Brown?
Money Week: Retailers struggle to survive A few weeks ago, a friend of ours bought a sofa. The furniture firm was thrilled. So thrilled that as a reward for handing over her cash, they gave her an armchair and a stool to go with it for free. This has to tell us something about the state of the market, she told us
Money Week: The return of the prefab - but this time it's "cool" Low-paid workers, first-time buyers and young families currently face a dearth of affordable housing in the UK. The Daily Express calls the situation a “crisis”. Yet no one seems to be able to think of a reasonable solution. However, there is one. This is a problem Britain has faced, and solved, before.
ThisisMoney: Boots profits down 10%BOOTS today unveiled the full extent of its trading woes as it reported a near-10% slump in profits for the first half of the year. Although part of the decline reflected chief executive Richard Baker's £190m investment in store refits and new openings during the period - £45m more than last year - Baker admitted much of the problem was down to shoppers' reluctance to spend.
Telegraph: Factories sink back into gloom Manufacturing has slumped back into the gloom of the first three months of the year, the CBI said yesterday, quashing hopes of a recovery.In its quarterly survey of the sector, the employers' body said the proportion of manufacturers who expected to step up production at their factories had fallen to +2pc in October from +6pc in September.
Guardian: CBI predicts further 24,000 job losses in factories There was further gloom for Britain's economic outlook yesterday when the country's leading employers' organisation predicted thousands of job losses amid sharp falls in manufacturing output and demand. The quarterly industrial trends survey by the CBI found that factory orders for domestic and export markets fell faster than expected in the last three months. A third of the 700 firms surveyed said the volume of new orders fell in the third quarter, compared with a fifth reporting an increase. The balance of -14% made the results the worst since April.
Reuters: Factory orders fall slowsFactory orders fell in October, but at a slightly slower pace, while manufacturers' optimism about their general business situation declined further, an industry survey showed on Wednesday. The Confederation of British Industry said its monthly manufacturing order books balance rose to -25 in October from -27 in September, exactly as predicted by economists. The CBI also said its quarterly business situation balance fell to -21 in October from -16 in July.
ThisisMoney: Home repossessions rocket THE number of orders for homes to be repossessed has rocketed by more than 50% as borrowers struggle to cope with mounting consumer debts.Figures from the Department for Constitutional Affairs showed that just under 30,000 mortgage possession applications were made in the courts by lenders in the three months to the end of September. This is a 55% increase on the same period in 2004 and highlights the growing problem consumers are facing in meeting monthly repayments.
Reuters: Economy set for bumpier ride - King The Bank of England cannot fine-tune the economy and anyway targets inflation, not growth, Governor Mervyn King said on Tuesday, boosting expectations the central bank is not poised to cut interest rates again. In testimony to a parliamentary committee, King said the economy appeared to be on course for a bumpier ride over the coming years after the remarkable stability of the last few.
Reuters: Egg quarterly bad debt rises Internet bank Egg (EGG.L: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Wednesday an improvement in bad debts this year would be less than it had previously expected, as its majority owner Prudential (PRU.L: Quote, Profile, Research) committed to keeping its 79 percent holding, and possibly retaking full control. Egg said its charge for bad loans rose to 60 million pounds in the third quarter, up from 47.1 million a year ago and 58.3 million in the previous quarter.
Reuters: Airbus to outsource more outside Europe - European aircraft maker Airbus said on Wednesday it would eventually source about half of its components from suppliers outside Europe, double the current level, as a way to boost its global reach and cut costs. The company will outsource more manufacturing to non-European markets including China and Russia, as well as Japan, a country long dominated by U.S. rival Boeing Co., Airbus Chief Executive Gustav Humbert said at an Airbus forum in Tokyo.
ThisisMoney: Abbey closes Indian call centres A HIGH Street bank is to shut down its call centres in India and bring 1,000 jobs back to Britain. Abbey's retreat from India was prompted by complaints from customers. The former building society, previously known as Abbey National, was one of a wave of companies which jumped on a bandwagon of exporting jobs to India. It is the first to reverse the move.
Guardian: Bank governor dashes hopes of rate cut to boost growth The Bank of England governor, Mervyn King, moved to quell any lingering hopes of an interest rate cut arriving next month by emphasising that the Bank is targeting inflation, not overall growth or retail sales. Figures last week showed inflation at its highest level since 1996 on rising oil prices while growth remained below its long-term average and retail sales stayed sluggish.
TimesOnline: Homeowners may be mis-sold equity plans FEARS are growing that thousands of older homeowners could be mis-sold schemes allowing them to cash in the equity in their property, as new figures show that the burgeoning equity release market has topped £5 billion. Sales of unregulated home reversion schemes — a type of equity release — are set to increase this year, according to figures from Key Retirement Solutions, an independent financial adviser. Lifetime mortgages, a popular alternative form of equity release, are policed by the City watchdog.
BBC NEWS | Business | People 'lack mortgage knowledge' Many consumers have trouble understanding how mortgages work and are baffled by lenders' jargon, a survey has suggested. Nearly six out of 10 consumers said they did not know what APR (annual percentage rate) stood for.
GoldSeek: Housing problems Tactical Investor If you are adventurous the best thing to do now is to sell and rent. In fact renting is the best investment in the real estate sector now... In Britain they are trying to hide the year long slow fall in housing prices by stating that in the month of September housing prices declined at the slowest pace since Sept 2004. If prices are falling there is nothing positive about it no matter how it’s spun; someone is losing money and that’s all there is to it.
CNN: The king of real estate's cashing out Tom Barrack, arguably the world's greatest real estate investor, is methodically selling off his U.S. real estate holdings as prices drive the market to nosebleed levels.
My Finances: Oversupply pushes house prices lower Hometrack adds that measuring sales data - which the other surveys rely on - rather misses the point. By looking at places where properties are being bought and sold, the surveys only take account of a small section of the market. Moreover, areas of the country that are still busy, where prices are rising, will naturally outweigh places where few deals are being done as the market is falling. This means survey results are naturally too high. Additionally, Hometrack points out that there is currently an all-time low in first-time buyers. With this section of the market not being accounted for, the figures that are being recorded are for people moving for the second, third, and fourth times - and therefore into more expensive properties.
Market Watch (US): Pleased, but still bearish Investment newsletter editors on the whole were pleased by President Bush's nomination Monday of Ben Bernanke to be Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's successor. Yet their pleasure was not so great as to convince any of the bearish among them to turn bullish.
Reuters: Economy set for bumpier ride-King The Bank of England cannot fine-tune the economy and anyway targets inflation, not growth, Governor Mervyn King said on Tuesday, boosting expectations the central bank is not poised to cut interest rates again. In testimony to a parliamentary committee, King said the economy appeared to be on course for a bumpier ride over the coming years after the remarkable stability of the last few. "The idea that the MPC can fine-tune the economy and can in fact ensure that the economy always seems to grow at some fixed rate every quarter is absolutely imaginary," he said.
Independent: World economy's eggs all in US consumers' basket Eggs and baskets. We all know the story. We know that, ideally, we need to spread our risks a little. Placing all our bets on just one number on the roulette wheel that makes up economic life might - just might - bring untold rewards. More likely, though, we'll end up in state of impoverishment.
Morgan Stanley - Stephen Roach: Tough flying conditions Not surprisingly, an unbalanced global economy is struggling under the weight of the energy shock of 2005. This has not been lost on world financial markets. Stock markets have sagged on the fear of demand risk and bond markets have backed up as central banks sound the alarm over incipient inflation.
Reuters: Fed officials say more rate hikes ahead A chorus of Federal Reserve officials said on Wednesday U.S. interest rates needed to rise further to keep inflation at bay, but how much further would depend on shifting and uncertain economic winds.
FT.Com: House prices fall for 16th month House prices fell for the 16th month in a row in October according to Hometrack, the property website. The average house price slipped 0.1 per cent to £160,700, compared with a peak of £167,700 in June 2004. Prices have now fallen by 3.5 per cent in the past 12 months. However, although prices continued to drop there was a pick-up in activity in October.
Reuters: House price decline slowed in October -Hometrack House prices in England and Wales continued to fall in October, albeit at a slightly slower rate than in the previous month, a survey showed on Monday. Research company Hometrack said its measure of average house prices based on agreed sales reported by estate agents showed a decline of 3.5 percent year-on-year in October, a slight easing from a 3.7 percent drop reported in September.
ThisisMoney: Whitbread axes 150 to fend off predators LEISURE group Whitbread is expected to lay off about 150 head office staff this week as part of a drive to save costs and deter venture capital predators. The owner of Premier Travel Inn, David Lloyd Leisure and Costa Coffee will tell shareholders it is likely to beat its savings target of £30m a year.
Guardian: The answer is not written in the wind Remember the three-day week? It was such a long time ago that Tony Blair was an Oxford undergraduate and the Tory Tony Blair - David Cameron - was seven. Industry, though, is worried that we could be heading right back to 1973-74 because a tough winter will lead to such severe shortages of power that the only way the government will be able to ensure the public keeps warm is by pulling the plug on business.
firstrung.com: Spin and the Tipping Point Comparing the similarities on how movements in property values were reported during the last house price recession and currently, is both fascinating and revealing.
This is Money: Abbey cost-squeeze puts more jobs on line STAFF at Abbey are bracing themselves for thousands more lay-offs on top of 4,000 job losses already imposed this year. Analysts predicted up to 2,500 more staff could be axed to meet ambitious targets set by the bank's Spanish owner, Banco Santander.
This is Money: Home repossessions soar Home repossessions are increasing sharply as more borrowers default in the face of mounting consumer debt. Figures suggest that the strain is starting to tell on overborrowed households despite low interest rates.
TimesOnline: Inflation on the horizon? No, it's only a mirage LIKE migrating birds (with or without flu) or the autumn leaves dropping from the trees, some things come round with monotonous regularity. One of them, to lurch into economics, is the warning that inflation is about to take off. If I had a pound for every time somebody has sat me down and said in deadly earnest that inflation was about to return with a vengeance, I would have retired rich by now.
TimesOnline: Profit warnings worst since 9/11 PROFIT WARNINGS by British companies hit their highest level last month since the September 11 attacks on America four years ago, according to new figures from Ernst & Young. They show that 46 quoted companies issued warnings last month, the highest for a single month since November 2001. For the third quarter as a whole there were 103 such warnings, an increase of 39% on the corresponding period of 2004.
Guardian: Tax avoiders on the run from Brown Less than 18 months after Gordon Brown declared war on tax avoidance, multinational companies and high earners - from Arsenal footballers to City traders - are starting to feel the pinch.
The Observer: High street's low point still to come Anyone who has walked down the high street recently will not be surprised that clothing prices have fallen by 5.4 per cent: in the middle of the peak autumn buying season, there are 'sale' signs in many shop windows.
FT.com - Markets torn between profits and inflation: The world's stock markets are caught in a tug-of-war between strong corporate earnings on the one hand and deepening concerns over inflation on the other. This week shares fell back and there was a matching correction in the bond market as inflation fears dominated.
ThisisMoney: Thanks for the mortgage, Dad A THIRD of the current crop of 10-year-olds will not be able to buy a home by the time they reach 30, according to the Government. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister says there are simply not enough houses being built to meet demand and that future generations will be priced out of the market.
TimesOnline: Rates set to stay on hold despite UK growth slowdown THE economy stumbled in the third quarter as steep drops in output from the North Sea and utilities hit growth. But the slowdown was less severe than feared, leaving the City almost certain that interest rates will stay on hold next month. In better than expected GDP estimates, growth slowed to 0.4 per cent in the three months to September, edging down from 0.5 per cent in the second quarter.
Telegraph | The clock ticks on economic collapse Investors would likely shun equities and corporate bonds in preference for government bonds and cash. Although economic activity would slump, inflation might well soar due to the interruption of supplies and loss of production."
Newstatesman.com: The debt pandemic Between us we owe £1 trillion and we can't afford the repayments. British consumers have a serious dose of borrowing sickness and, as Liam Halligan warns, it may be fatal to the economy. Gordon Brown used to say Britain's economy was in its best shape for 200 years. The Chancellor no longer makes that claim. The reason is that the UK is growing at its slowest rate for 12 years. And that is largely because consumers - until very recently the driving forces of the economy - are buried under mountains of debt.
Times: Just what is going on with the housing market? It is one question that we all think — or maybe hope — we know the answer to, but it is also the question that is vexing every homeowner, hopeful homeowner, economist, estate agent and investor in the country. What is going on with the housing market?
Guardian: House buyers and shoppers dampen hopes of rate cut The prospects of a pre-Christmas cut in interest rates receded sharply yesterday amid evidence of a pick-up in demand for mortgages and the willingness of bargain-hungry consumers to be lured back into the shops. Although data out today is likely to show the economy as a whole grew only modestly in the third quarter of the year, even the most downbeat of City analysts was saying last night that the Bank of England was likely to act cautiously at its rate-setting meeting early next month.
Reuters: Economists see US housing near peak, eye slowdown Rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina should boost an already hot U.S. housing market, but it will only delay an eventual cooling that could bring a significant slowdown in the rate of home price appreciation and dent consumer spending, economists said
Channel 4: Shares tumble amid inflation fears London's leading shares fell sharply into the red as fears over inflation hit markets across the world. The FTSE 100 Index slumped 63 points to 5200.9 - leaving it on track for its weakest close in three months.
Reuters: Big rise in mortgage lending "Even so, we remain sceptical that house prices are about to move significantly higher on a sustained basis. The survey evidence generally suggests that the more realistic pricing by sellers has been a key factor in lifting buyer interest and boosting housing market activity,"
Reuters: Markets over anticipated policy - BoE's Lambert Futures markets had been pricing as many as three rate cuts before the August decision and Lambert's comments are likely to dent further expectations the central bank is poised to cut borrowing costs again... Lambert also said that the MPC would become concerned if high oil prices started causing second-round effects.
Reuters: Potential for 2,500 more Abbey job cuts - analysts Another 2,500 jobs could be cut at mortgage bank Abbey National over the next two years as its Spanish owner seeks more cost savings following last year's 8 billion pound takeover, analysts said. Santander (SAN.MC: Quote, Profile, Research) planned to cut 3,000 jobs at Abbey following the takeover and raised that number to 4,000 in May. Banking analysts said that figure could rise to 6,500 by the end of 2007 -- more than double its original pledge and representing about a quarter of Abbey's 26,000 workforce at the time of the takeover.
ThisisLondon: 900 jobs go at Eurotunnel Eurotunnel has announced 900 job cuts as it fought competition from low-cost airlines and ferries. The Channel Tunnel operator said the cuts would come through voluntary redundancies in the UK and France.
Money Week: Is the MPC sleeping on its watch? Nickell listed many bearish quotes from property and economy bears while comforting his audience that house prices are still higher than a year ago. The fact that real house prices are already negative and that a year ago house prices had been growing by 20% wasn’t mentioned: complacency is not one of the attributes I want my central bankers to exhibit.
CumbriaOnline: JOB LOSSES SPELL ECONOMIC GLOOM FOR COUNTY FIVE thousand jobs have been lost in Cumbria in the last two years, new figures show. And experts say there is no sign of a turnaround because more job cuts are on the way. West Cumbria has been badly affected with 500 jobs going at Sellafield alone. David Brockbank, chairman of Cumbria Vision, the new agency that aims to regenerate the county’s economy, greeted the findings with dismay. “It is very disappointing,” he said. “I really feel for people who are in the predicament of having lost their job.”
Sky News: Higher Debts Fuel Tax Fears The chances of taxes rising to fill a hole in the UK's public finances have grown further. Public sector net borrowing - the amount the Treasury borrows - hit £5.2bn in September.
The Motley Fool UK: A Recent History Of House Prices This year is shaping up to be one of the most interesting in recent history for homeowners and property investors. After a long winning streak, the housing market is slowing down, and the rug may already have been pulled from under it.
Guardian: EU unemployment falls The European Union, widely seen as an unemployment blackspot, is finally creating more jobs, with its employment rate rising last year for the first time in three years, a new report showed yesterday.
BBC News: Bank of England faces policy headache What should the Bank of England be worried about? Inflation? Or growth? As it happens, this is really the issue that divides the world of economics at the moment. The big split in economic policymaking comes down to that.
ICWales: How estate agents are battling for your home HOMEBUYERS are being targeted with ever-more inventive tactics as estate agents and mortgage lenders grapple with a continued slowdown in the property market. Some of the offers currently being used to tempt Welsh people into moving include Sunday and evening viewings, the possibility of a "10%-off" winter sale, and one new mortgage even comes with a free package of trendy electronic equipment.
Reuters: MPC likely unanimous on steady rates All nine Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee members probably backed this month's decision to hold interest rates at 4.5 percent but economists said differences are emerging over how they handle rising oil prices.
Telegraph: Expensive fuel sends inflation to 9-year high Inflation hit a nine-year high in September, as higher petrol prices pushed the Consumer Price Index up for the fourth month running. The Office for National Statistics said inflation was 2.5pc - the highest since November 1996 - and had risen from 2.4pc in August.
TimesOnline: Ad slump to cost up to 770 jobs at Trinity TRINITY MIRROR, the newspaper group behind the Daily Mirror, is considering making up to 770 of its 11,000 staff redundant, after telling unions yesterday that the advertising outlook for the next year was bleak. Representatives of National Union of Journalists were summoned to hastily arranged lunchtime meetings, at which they were told that the company was reviewing costs and that jobs would be lost from national and regional titles
World Net Daily: In housing we trust? (Part 1) Never before in history have house prices risen so fast, for so long, in so many countries. Property markets have been frothing from America, Britain and Australia to France, Spain and China. The global boom in house prices has been driven by several factors...
Detroit News: Risky loans easy to get, hard to repay ...Like a lot of recent first-time home buyers, he's discovering that zero-down financing and other creative mortgage options that make it easy to get into a home also can make it hard to get out during tough times.
FT: Eurozone inflation hits highest rate since 2001 Eurozone inflation figures for September have been revised upwards to show an annual rate of 2.6 per cent the highest since June 2001. The data, highlighting the impact of high oil prices, will add to speculation that the European Central Bank is moving closer to increasing interest rates...
BBC News: Top civil servant moves to Bank The Bank of England has named a top civil servant, Sir John Gieve, as its new deputy governor. He will replace Sir Andrew Large on the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which sets interest rates.
Reuters: Energy set to push inflation even higher Rising energy costs are set to push inflation even higher in September, providing more trouble for policymakers caught in a dilemma between sluggish domestic growth and a global climate of rising prices. Annual growth in the consumer price index (CPI), which the Bank of England targets at 2 percent, likely climbed to 2.7 percent last month according to analysts polled by Reuters.
Reuters: House prices fall at slowest pace in 14 months - RICS House prices fell at their slowest pace in over a year in the three months to September and are expected to rise for the first time in 1-1/2 years in the next three months, a report showed on Tuesday. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its seasonally adjusted house prices balance for the three months to September improved to -21 -- its highest in 14 months -- from an upwardly revised -25 in the three months to August.
ThisisMoney: Council tax up by 7% in 2006 NEXT year's council tax bills are likely to rocket by three times the rate of inflation, Gordon Brown was warned yesterday. Homeowners face demands that will be an average of 7% higher than this year, according to an analysis passed to the Chancellor by town halls.
TimesOnline: Hawk's exit may alter the balance at MPC THE replacement of Sir Andrew Large at the Bank of England triggered immediate City speculation yesterday that the impending departure of one of the arch-hawks on its Monetary Policy Committee could tip it toward further cuts in interest rates.
Reuters: MPC faces tough choices ahead-BoE's Lomax Policymakers may have tough choices to make ahead, Bank of England Deputy Governor Rachel Lomax said on Monday, highlighting the dilemma facing central bankers over sluggish growth and rising inflation.
Reuters: House prices see first rise since June Average asking prices on homes rose for the first time since June from mid-September to mid-October, adding to growing evidence that the property market is stabilising, according to a survey on Monday.
FT.Com: Bank faces dilemma over inflation and growth data Markets are becoming increasingly worried about the outlook for inflation globally whilepolicymakers' concerns over risks to price stability have been clearly reflected in a stream of aggressively hawkish comments by central bank officials.
FT.Com: Bank of England’s deputy to step down Sir Andrew Large, deputy governor of the Bank of England, has decided to stand down from his role almost two years early, leaving a vacancy on the interest-rate-setting monetary policy committee. The Bank of England is expected to announce his replacement later on Monday. As one of the members of the MPC more inclined to support higher interest rates, Sir Andrew’s departure could make the committee more likely to cut interest rates.
Telegraph: Economic agenda: Are we facing a slowdown or meltdown? Last week it seemed as though the wheels were coming off Gordon Brown's bus. There was more gloom and doom from the high street, the OECD dropped its forecasts for economic growth, unemployment increased and the Governor of the Bank of England suggested that the Bank could not necessarily be relied upon to cut interest rates. Is the economy heading for meltdown?
Guardian: With markets so slippery, the fool who rushes in is likely to take a tumble There is no point bleating about markets - they're meant to change constantly - but I am starting to curse the timing of this column's launch. A month ago, it was possible to believe we were in gentle territory. The FTSE 100 had been rising steadily for two and a half years and there was a consensus that two big variables, inflation and interest rates, were not about to misbehave, or at least not badly.
Sunday Times: The Market One in six central London flats and houses to let is empty for more than three months between tenants, says estate agent Knight Frank. Typical annual yield — the proportion of a purchase price recovered in rent over one year — is 5%.
BBC News: Energy prices stoke US inflation Inflation in the US shot up in September as food and fuel prices took their toll on household budgets. Prices surged 1.2% last month - more steeply than expected - bringing the rate for the past 12 months to 4.7%.
Telegraph: Are we facing a slowdown or meltdown? Last week it seemed as though the wheels were coming off Gordon Brown's bus. There was more gloom and doom from the high street, the OECD dropped its forecasts for economic growth, unemployment increased and the Governor of the Bank of England suggested that the Bank could not necessarily be relied upon to cut interest rates.
ThisisMoney: Gloom as UK oil reserves run dry BRITAIN'S 30-year oil bonanza is about to end, new figures show. Within four years, the UK will become a net importer for the first time since the Seventies. Between 2002 and 2004, the positive balance of trade in oil dived by nearly 70%, from £5.74bn to £1.73bn. That means the margin of exports of British oil over imports is becoming ever-thinner.
ThisisMoney: Mortgage rate stealth rise THE biggest mortgage lenders are pocketing almost £1bn a year in extra interest from their most loyal borrowers. The trick has been gradually to increase the standard variable rate they charge long-term customers, widening the gap from the base rate. Every click of the ratchet reaps fresh profits.
Guardian: Despite rise in house prices, 700,000 homes lie empty in England In spite of the huge rises in house prices of recent years, there are still 700,000 houses and flats standing empty around England, while 106,000 people are living in temporary accommodation, new research shows today. The Halifax, drawing on data from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, said the number of empty homes was equivalent to one in 30 of the total housing stock.
TimesOnline: Inflation hits 8-year high INFLATION is set to jump to an 8½-year high this week, hitting hopes of an early interest-rate cut. Analysts are braced for a rise in consumer-price inflation to 2.7%, well above the 2% official target, and the highest since March 1996.
Economist.com: The Federal Reserve, A hard act to follow On the ground floor of the Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC, there is an electronic game which tests a visitor's skill at setting interest rates. You have to decide how to respond to events such as rising inflation or a stockmarket crash.
Business Week Online: Where A Slump Would Hurt Most The decade-long housing boom may not be over yet, but it's showing the first signs of slackening. Prices are off their peaks in a few markets, such as Manhattan; the rate of price increases has slowed in hotbeds such as California and Florida; and houses are staying on the market longer.
Brad Setser's Web Log (US): Are tax breaks for houses at risk? Changing the tax benefits for homeowners, even if done slowly, could cause short-term convulsions in the market as buyers recalculate what they can afford. The tumult could be most pronounced for homeowners in states with the highest home prices, such as California. In the long term, housing could become more affordable as some of the stimulus that has sent prices soaring is removed.
Auto Industry - UK's September 2005 new car market down 3.2% New car registrations slipped 3.2 per cent in September 2005 to 417,052 units, reports the SMMT today, which described the figure as in line with industry expectations and on par with the 1999-2004 September average of 414,025 units. The year-to-September figure is down 5.2 per cent at 1,971,880 units
BBC NEWS | Cambridgeshire | Capped council considers job cuts Services and jobs are under threat at a council that has been budget-capped by the government. South Cambs Council is considering cutting 25 jobs, slash community grants and other public services. The cuts, to save £1.65m this year and £2.74m next financial year, have still to be approved by the full council. Council leader Sebastian Kindersley said they had tried to protect front-line services but the authority is already "pared to the bone".
BurnleyNews: Jobs blow as Viktor Achter closes down Around 185 jobs are expected to be lost at Viktor Achter Ltd, based at Rossendale Road Industrial Estate, after bosses told employees that no viable options had been found. The company announced in August that reduced demand for its products and difficult trading circumstances meant that a consultation period on the firm's future had to begin on September 1st. .
ICWales: Food firm closes with loss of 200 jobs THE Cwmbran food company Simply Go has gone into administration with the loss of 200 jobs. Hopes that the operation was about to be saved through a management buy-out were dashed when workers were told their employment was terminated "with immediate effect". The firm made sandwich fillings, salads and other convenience foods. A factory in Reading and a smaller one in Bath had already shut.
Courier Mail (AUS): New bid to cut property perks Tax breaks for property investors should be diluted to slow investment in the housing market, according to a new Senate report. In a 157-page report, the Senate's Economics Committee found Australia's favourable tax regime was causing excessive and speculative investment in housing.
ThisisMoney: Unilever poised to axe 2,000 jobs UNILEVER is ready to cut more than 2,000 jobs cross Europe as part of a shake-up. The Dove soap-to-Lipton Tea maker is holding talks with Accenture and IBM about exporting thousands of human resources, finance and IT posts, possibly to India and eastern Europe.
SKY News: Brown evasive over tax The Chancellor is staying mum on the subject of tax rises. An influential international think-tank on Wednesday said that Gordon Brown would probably have to put up taxes because of the slowdown in economic growth.
ThisisMoney: £10bn tax bombshell GORDON Brown needs to raise taxes by £10bn to repair the black hole in his finances, it was claimed yesterday. Such an increase would amount to an extra 3p on the basic rate of income tax. The alarm was sounded by the highlyrespected Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
TimesOnline: Jobs figures add to strain on Brown PRESSURE on Gordon Brown over the state of the economy intensified yesterday as unemployment rose for an eighth month in a row and the OECD said growth would drop to just 1.7 per cent this year.
ThisisMoney: GUS gloom as sales dip RETAIL group GUS - owner of Argos and Homebase - today painted a bleak picture of the High Street and predicted UK retail sales will be in decline for another year. Its trading figures clearly backed up that forecast as GUS reported negative sales growth at its two chains.
Smartmoney.com: Did Someone Say "Bubble"? It's not just your old college roommate, the one who never held a steady job, who's buying and selling real estate at warp speed. Lured by cheap money and the prospect of rich returns, institutional investors have joined the game, as well.
Reuters: Jobless rate rises for eighth month The number of people out of work and claiming benefits rose for the eighth month running in September, the longest stretch of increases since the economic slump of the early 1990s, official figures showed on Wednesday. The Office for National Statistics said claimant count unemployment rose by 8,200, more than double that predicted by analysts. August's rise was also revised higher to 2,700 from 1,600 previously.
TimesOnline: Bank cannot avert downturn, warns King THE Bank of England’s Governor braced Britain for tougher economic times last night as he sounded a warning that the Bank could not stave off a downturn triggered by soaring oil prices (See Commentary, facing page). Mervyn King admitted that the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee had been caught off guard by an abrupt fall in growth and a sharp acceleration in inflation this year.
Guardian: Katrina brings biggest monthly trade gap Britain recorded its biggest ever trade deficit in August as losses from Hurricane Katrina suffered by Lloyd's of London took their toll on exports from the thriving service sector, the government said yesterday.
FT.com - King casts doubts on slowdown: "Mervyn King clearly finds the smooth progress of the economy over the past 13 years rather uncomfortable: not because he enjoys a crisis, but because he fears the public now believes the Bank can walk on water."
Scotsman: NHS shortfalls threaten 3,000 jobs Up to 3,000 NHS staff in England could lose their jobs because of mounting financial deficits, nursing leaders have warned. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said at least 1,000 nurses could be included in the job losses as NHS trusts struggle to balance their books. The RCN said the deficits were set to hit £1 billion in acute and community trusts across England in the current financial year, ending next April.
BBC NEWS | England | Leicestershire | Job losses after factory closure Managers and unions at one of Leicestershire's oldest hosiery firms are working hard to find staff new jobs when it ceases production in January. Some 56 people will lose their jobs at the Flude factory in Rugby Road in Hinckley, which has been employing people for three generations. The firm will continue but is stopping in-house production in Hinckley.
Telegraph: Jobs to go as Mori is bought by French rival in £88m deal Mori, the political pollster, yesterday said it is being purchased by Ipsos, a French rival, for £88m. The move allows two private equity firms, Isis Equity Partners and Caledonia Investments, to cash in their 49pc stake in Mori. Employees and management, who own the other 51pc, will be paid half in cash and half in Ipsos shares. The senior management will take £5m in equity.
Guardian: Retailers nervous about Christmas as shoppers stay away from high street Shop sales fell in like-for-like terms for the sixth consecutive month in September, the British Retail Consortium says in a report released today, highlighting the continued pain being felt on the high street. Same-store sales slid 0.8% compared with the same month last year, slightly better than the falls in the previous two months but still weak, the BRC said. On a total basis, which includes new floor space, sales rose 3.1%, a slight improvement on the previous two months.
Independent: Five-month high for factory prices stokes inflation worries Factory price inflation reached a five-month high yesterday, adding to the Bank of England's worries about rising inflationary pressures and dampening expectations of an interest rate cut next month. However, separate reports found that retail sales remain weak while house price inflation eased to a nine-year low.
BBC News: Dangers of brave new pension world From next April, the staid world of pensions is set to get just a little, well, exciting. No longer will people have to rely on steady but boring government bonds or the notorious ups and downs of the stock market for pension fund growth.
Times: Too few homes for next generation The dream of owning their own home will be denied to millions of the next generation unless the pace of housebuilding in Britain is stepped up, ministers said yesterday.
The Observer | Business | Storm clouds gather over world markets Stock markets around the world are braced for bad news from the US this week when official data is published on consumer and business confidence in the wake of two devastating hurricanes, soaring gasoline and oil prices, and softening demand for residential property.
Morgan Stanley: Transition Curse The end of an era is nearly at hand. After nearly 18 1/2 years on the job, Alan Greenspan is required under law to step down at the end of his full term as Fed governor on January 31, 2006.
This Is Money: Slowdown to force Chancellor's hand?THE Chancellor is considering bringing the Pre-Budget Report forward to early November amid fears about the sharply deteriorating state of the economy. The move would be a concerted break with tradition, since in the last two years the PBR has been issued in early December.
FT: OECD warns ageing population will hit global growth Global economic growth will decline to about 1.7 per cent a year over the next three decades unless older people are encouraged to work longer to offset declining birth rates, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Reuters: September factory gate inflation highest in 5mths Factory gate prices rose at their sharpest rate in five months in September in a sign that inflationary pressures are picking up as firms try to pass on higher energy costs. The Office for National Statistics said on Monday that producer output prices rose an unadjusted 0.7 percent last month, taking the annual rate of increase to 3.3 percent from 3.0 percent in August, much higher than expected.
Money Week: Will the US Housing Bubble Fizzle or Pop? ...his overall "benign" view seems to me to be the equivalent of the "permanently high plateau" theory. It is based on his interpretation of "prior history," but more importantly on a belief in rising incomes ...Are incomes likely to catch up to "unsustainably high mortgage debt"? I think not...
The Motley Fool UK: Comment 10/10/2005 By obtaining a charging order against your home, a lender can effectively secure previously unsecured debts against your property. Hence, you cannot sell your house until you've paid off your mortgage, any second mortgage and other secured loans, plus the amount due under the charging order. In effect, a charging order turns an unsecured debt into a secured one.
This is Money - House prices fall in South-East: "THE fortunes of the UK property market took a further turn for the worse over the summer, according to new government figures, with the first recorded annual fall in prices for an English region. "
Guardian: Globalisation can bust the boom cycle, says Roger Bootle Roger Bootle, one of Britain's best-known economists, is perched on a satin sofa in the lavishly furnished Drapers' Hall, in the City, in expansive mood. As he prepares to launch a new edition of his book Money for Nothing, he has advice to dispense to central bankers, investors, even the Tory Party; and, unusually for a practitioner of the dismal science, much of it is relentlessly upbeat.
Reuters.co.uk: Cahoot to offer home loans Cahoot, the online bank, has entered the home loans market with a range of competitive products provided by parent company Abbey. The mortgages will only be available over the phone.
FT.com / Your home - FT index shows house price inflation slowing There will be continued concern that as house price inflation on all the main indicators heads towards zero, the current stability in the market will not last. Nervousness is likely to increase as property investors realise they can no longer rely on the prospect of capital gains to offset the reality of low rental yields.
BBC NEWS | England | Lancashire | 230 jobs cut at exhaust factory More than 230 jobs could be shed at a US-owned car components factory. Arvin Exhausts, based on the Squires Gate industrial estate, Blackpool, blamed declining demand and increasing costs for the decision. The factory, which has 232 workers, makes exhausts for light vehicles and is part of the larger Arvinmeritor company based in the United States.
BBC NEWS | England | Shropshire | 130 jobs lost as factory closes Car trim manufacturer Hutchinson UK is to close a factory in Shropshire with the loss of 130 jobs. The plant in Telford will shut in January as work is transferred to operations in Europe. Hutchinson has been based at Trench Lock for 13 years and there used to be about 400 in the workforce.
FT: ECB head in rate rise warning Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, on Thursday issued one of his strongest warnings yet that interest rates might have to rise to head off the inflationary consequences of higher oil prices.
FT: UK growth forecast hit by weak industrial output Weak official industrial production figures for August, driven by a large drop in the output of the North Sea oil and gas industries, increased the probability that the economy continued to grow at a subdued rate in the third quarter of the year.
Cellular-News.com: Motorola Cutting 1,900 Jobs In More Than 20 Countries Motorola Inc. (MOT) is cutting 1,900 jobs at 29 different U.S. and international locations in an effort to improve operating efficiency, the company said Wednesday. The cell-phone maker said the layoffs will be distributed over its facilities in more than 20 countries and began in July, when it announced a planned consolidation of its supply chain facilities over the next several years.
LocalLondon: Investigation as St George’s axes 300 jobs Wandsworth's health and scrutiny panel is to investigate the impact of the loss of three hundred jobs at St George's Hospital, announced last month. St George's Healthcare NHS Trust is under severe pressure to break even by the end of 2007, and hopes that reducing its workforce will help cut its deficit from £21.7million to £12.5million by April 2006.
Money Week: Oil Trends Remain Firmly Bullish In December 1998, crude traded at roughly $10.50 per barrel and recently it recorded an all-time high, over $70 per barrel. What is amusing though is that during the entire course of this massive advance, the majority of analysts, politicians and OPEC officials have consistently called for a top in the oil price.
Nationwide: CONSUMER CONFIDENCE FALLS The Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index for September shows a weakening of consumer sentiment. The main index fell by 6 points to 94, down from 100 in August. All four indices fell in September and the main index, present situation index and expectations index are now all at their lowest levels since Nationwide started measuring consumer confidence in May 2004.
BBC News: House price growth revives again House price inflation rose in September according to the latest figures from the Halifax bank. The country's biggest mortgage lender says prices are now rising at an annual rate of 3%.
BBC NEWS | Scotland | Dundee jobs go as firm slims down A leading engineering company is to shed 90 jobs in Dundee because of increasing worldwide competition. The Wood Group currently employs 225 workers on two sites on the Baldovie Industrial Estate. The firm is transferring some work from Scotland to its operations in Thailand. Manual, clerical, technical and managerial positions will be affected. The cuts are also the result of a reduction in work from a contract with the RAF.
Telegraph: Insurance broker Aon to shed 750 staff in UK Insurance broker Aon will cut 750 staff in the UK over the next two years as part of a major restructuring.The job cuts will be achieved through redundancies and natural wastage. The company will begin consulting employees on October 27.
Independent: Service sector growth weakens Britain's dominant service sector grew at its weakest pace in nine months in September, according to a survey of purchasing managers. Soaring energy costs caused input costs to move to a 10-month high and pushed company costs up sharply, the Cips/RBS Purchasing Managers' Index showed yesterday.
TimesOnline: High street woes could hit private equity backers PRIVATE equity firms were preparing for a spate of retail investment disasters yesterday as the bloodbath on Britain’s high streets forced yet another shopping chain into financial difficulties. The Times has learnt that Ethel Austin, the discount clothing chain owned by ABN Amro Capital, has breached its banking covenants after a slump in sales at its 300 outlets.
Bloomberg.com: What Causes Inflation? Not Those Pushy Costs One of the most tenacious myths in economics is the idea that costs push prices, and the price level (inflation), up. The idea of ``cost-push'' inflation implies that producers are content to charge the same price, day in, day out, until one day a bell goes off to alert them that their costs of raw materials or labor (wages) have gone up.
Reuters: Services growth at 9-month low Growth in the service sector hit a nine-month low in September on soaring energy costs, data showed on Wednesday, fuelling expectations the Bank of England may cut interest rates in the coming months. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply/RBS said its services Business Activity Index fell to 55.0 last month from 55.2 in August, as expected by analysts and still well above the 50 mark that divides expansion from contraction.
Reuters: FTSE sags on inflation fears Top stocks retreated on Wednesday, mirroring a steep fall on Wall Street and hit by a raft of broker downgrades for stocks such as BP and PartyGaming , although leisure group Whitbread was lifted 2.4 percent by persistent bid talk.
Channel 4 Money: Owners unlock more cash from homes The rate at which Britons are unlocking money from their property has risen for the first time since the end of 2003, figures show. Owners withdrew £8.71 billion of equity from their homes between April and June, according to the Bank of England.
ThisisBristol: THE BUILDING OF A MAJOR CRASH Numbers of new loans approved for home-buyers soared to 107,000 last month following August's interest-rate cut. Economists hope the housing market is heading for a recovery - but financial expert CLIFF D'ARCY can see 10 tell-tale signs of a housing market collapse AFTER 18 years in financial services, I am confident that I have a good understanding of what makes consumers tick when it comes to money matters.
ThisisMoney: Consumer confidence plummets CONSUMER confidence is plummeting as the cost of oil forces High Street prices up and erodes the possibility of a further cut in interest rates. As the Bank of England prepares to meet this week to discuss the next move for rates, separate reports from Nationwide and Lloyds TSB point to negative consumer sentiment.
Guardian: Britain no longer having a Nice time An unenviable array of "worst since" will greet the nine members of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee as they gather this morning for the start of their two-day meeting to decide the level of interest rates. Plenty has happened since they met in early September: trading conditions in the high street are at their weakest for 22 years, according to the CBI, oil prices are at their highest in real terms for quarter of a century, and house prices are growing at their slowest for nine years. The economy as a whole has not been this sluggish since the immediate aftermath of Black Wednesday 13 years ago.
TimesOnline: Households start to put a premium on saving FRESH evidence that Britons are starting to save significantly more for the long term came yesterday as National Savings & Investments reported a flood of new business. NS&I sold a near-record £1.1 billion of Premium Bonds, savings certificates and other products in August. More than 630,000 people — equivalent to the entire population of Glasgow — made purchases of NS&I products during the month.
ThisisMoney: JD Sports in losing sales game SALES have crashed at the loss-making JD Sports etail group in the past two months, with its London stores suffering particularly badly since the July bombings. Like-for-like sales in the capital have fallen more than 10% in the past nine weeks against the same period a year ago. Across the country as a whole, the fall is 7.6%.
FT: Wall St sells off amid rising inflation fears Wall Street staged a late sell-off to close sharply lower on Tuesday after Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve, heightened fears of rising inflationary pressures. Mr Fisher said inflation was “near the upper end of the Fed’s tolerance range” and the central bank needed to be “especially vigilant”, which raised the spectre of yet tighter monetary policy.
David Smith's Economics UK: Shadow MPC says no case for change in rates The rate recommendations are with respect to the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) rate decision to be announced on Thursday 6 October. On this occasion, six SMPC members voted to hold rates in October, while two voted for a further ¼% rate reduction, and one member voted for a ¼% increase.
ThisisMoney: Shops mount all-year sales A WAVE of aggressive 'mid-season' sales has broken out on the high street. The promotions come hot on the heels of an unusually extended summer sales season which has only recently ended. Now shops from Monsoon to Magnet are discounting again. A survey by the Evening Standard found eight top stores offering up to 70% discounts in sales lasting into November.
ThisisMoney: Banks rake off £4bn in loans con BANKS are taking £4bn a year in commission on 'mis- sold and overpriced' loan insurance, a study has claimed. The survey found some banks were charging £2,900 to insure a five-year £8,000 loan - compared to the true cost of around £750.
Pimco bonds: Deliberate Acts Of Kindness This is a monthly newsletter by Bill Gross who runs the worlds largest fixed income fund at Pimco in the US. Bill is very well respected and followed. This month he takes a stern look at the US property market.
Autowired: Auto industry jobs go in Llanelli Up to 70 jobs will go within a month at Krupp Camford Pressings, Llanelli after it lost a major order from Volkswagen. Around 165 staff remain at the plant and virtually all production is now on behalf of Land Rover, with some additional work for Bentley, another VW Group company.
ThisisMoney: Cheshire axes four branches CHESHIRE has become the latest building society to take an axe to its branch network. The 11th-biggest mutual, with £4.6bn in assets and more than 460,000 members, will shut four of its 52 branches by the end of the year.
icTeeside: Jobs lost in retail drought General retailer Boyes has cut 50 jobs, including posts at its Teesside stores, as part of a cost-cutting redundancy programme. The Gazette revealed in August the Scarborough-based firm was looking to cut its 1,000-strong workforce in the face of a slowdown in high street spending. The family-run firm today confirmed it had completed its redundancy programme which had led to the loss of 50 jobs, including 23 compulsory redundancies.
FT.Com: Treasury pursues idea of 'planning tax' The Treasury is pressing ahead with proposals for a controversial tax to be paid by landowners that gain planning permission for development. The "planning gain supplement" was suggested by Kate Barker, a member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, in her government- commissioned review of the housing market last year.
Reuters: Legal & General sees tax hit from new law Insurer Legal & General Group said on Tuesday that new draft tax legislation proposed last week could result in a one-off current tax charge of up to 500 million pounds. On Monday, life insurers slammed the government for unveiling new tax plans for the industry without prior warning, leaving them to work out what the financial impact might be.
in2perspective: Concerns over SIPPs marketing Norwich Union is to raise its concerns with the FSA regarding the selective marketing of residential property destined to be invested into a SIPP (self invested personal pensions).
Sunday Times: The Market The government says developers should be told by local government planners and councillors to include little or no car-parking in schemes for new houses and flats. A guidance document from the Department for Transport says “parking restraint is likely to be critical to the success of the plan in reducing car use” and urges local government planners and councillors not to worry about appearing “anti-car”.
BBC: Pension regulation 'gap year' risk "It is very unlikely that people who will rely on that pension for income in retirement should be investing in something as speculative as the property investments that are being put forward."
Money Week: The US Consumer Slowdown Is Inevitable As things stand Consumer Discretionary earnings are expected to rise by 21% next year, against 11% for the market as a whole. This looks highly improbable, for the reasons outlined below, and the swathe of Katrina-inspired profit warnings from industry operators looks set to continue over Q4 2005.
Money Week: Alan Greenspan’s Property Bubble U-Turn The Maestro has dropped his baton. In a series of stunning about-faces, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has just recast his perceptions of the critically important relationship between monetary policy and asset markets.
Scotsman: Hundreds to lose jobs at Lothian plant. HUNDREDS of electronics workers are to lose their jobs after it was decided to axe almost a third of the staff at a Lothians plant. A total of 287 jobs are being cut at the Livingston branch of the American-owned company Jabil Circuits, which provides electronics and services to technology companies. The workforce was told about the cuts yesterday, although there was no information about who would be going.
Credit Action: Debt Facts and Figures - Compiled 3rd October 2005 The majority of Britons would be unable to cope financially in the event of a minor household emergency according to the Alliance & Leicester. Just 28% said they had money put aside which could be used to replace household appliances, such as a cooker or fridge.
Reuters: Sept house prices fall 3.7 pct y/y-Hometrack House prices fell again in September and were down 3.7 percent on the year, but a rise in the number of sales indicates growing confidence in the market, a survey showed on Monday. Research company Hometrack said its measure of average house prices based on agreed sales reported by estate agents showed a month-on-month fall of 0.1 percent in September, the same as in August.
Reuters: EU to tackle British budget deficit in Nov/Dec European Union finance ministers will wait until November or December to decide whether to tell Britain its budget deficit is excessive and needs to be brought down below the EU ceiling, sources close to the procedure said on Monday.
ThisisMoney: Half of London firms expect job cuts LONDON firms are now more pessimistic than at any time in the past two and a half years, a new survey reveals today. A toxic cocktail of weak consumer spending, falling house prices, spiralling oil prices and lingering anxiety after the July bombings has driven business confidence down to its lowest since the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003.
ThisisMoney: Debtors given one final warning A NEW scheme to help people heavily in debt avoid court action has been launched in a bid to cut down on the rising number of County Court Judgements. Under the scheme, lenders will be able to issue a Pre-Action Notice (PAN) to consumers as a last resort before it launches court proceedings to reclaim cash.
Independent: Boots-UniChem to axe 2,000 jobs £100m savings in £7bn pharmacy merger * 350 branches at risk * Private equity firms may bid. The £7bn merger of Boots and Alliance Unichem, announced today, is expected to result in around 2,000 job losses and the disposal of about 350 branches by the new pharmacy and healthcare giant.
ThisisMoney: '3,500 jobs to go'under new BA boss THOUSANDS of jobs are expected to be earmarked for the axe when new British Airways' chief Willie Walsh outlines his strategy for the carrier this week. The former boss of Aer Lingus has been working on the scheme for the past six months while shadowing his predecessor, Sir Rod Eddington.
ThisisMOney: Booker in cash plea as sales plummet BOOKER, Britain's largest cash-and-carry operator, is seeking an injection of finance after a sharp downturn in its business. The company has opened talks with its banks, Financial Mail has established. And investors held a meeting by conference call on Friday to decide whether to plough more money into the operation.
TimesOnline: MFI and Focus in crisis talks with lenders TWO of Britain’s largest DIY and furniture retail groups are in urgent talks with banks in an attempt to avoid breaching their borrowing covenants. The news that both MFI and the privately owned Focus are renegotiating their banking arrangements is further evidence of the growing downturn on the high street.
Guardian: Barclaycard raises interest rates Barclaycard's 9 million customers face sharp rises in their interest charges because the credit card company has decided they are becoming less likely to pay back their debts. Britain's largest and oldest credit card business is increasing its rate of interest by as much as two percentage points, even though the Bank of England's official rate is falling. The official base rate was cut from 4.75% to 4.5% in August.