Archive for October 2009

USA back to Growth

October 30, 2009

The US economy is, as predicted, back to growth.  In the latest published quarterly results, the GDP there grew an annualised 3.5 per cent.  This growth was better than expected and share markets reacted well – both the Dow Jones and FTSE 100 jumped up.

The USA has had a rollercoaster year – the first quarter GDP sharply contracing by a whopping 6.4 per cent, while unemployment rose and consumers panicked about the steady decline.

Now things are heading back to better times and President Obama says that the “recession is abating”.

 

 

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Is your Credit File correct?

October 29, 2009

We might see them as mysterious institutions that hold key information on our financial past, present and possibly future…credit reference agencies are becoming ever stronger as lending criteria in the UK tightens.

Many people have been turned down for a loan but there are ways to improve your rating – aside from being a good boy/girl with your borrowing habits.  You can view your report and check that it is correct.

A growing number of people are finding that their report is filled with inaccuracies such as age-old address details, unpaid debts which have long been paid and so on.  Therefore, it is crucial to make sure your file is up to date – as it has also been complained that the agencies can take a long time to correct mistakes.

 

Tougher Credit Card Rules

October 28, 2009

Credit card companies are in the firing line from the government and consumer watchdogs.  A new set of proposals is set to be assessed which would change some of the ways in which credit card companies operate.

For instance, they may be forced to inform customers clearly of any interest rate changes and may not be allowed to change an existing cardholder’s credit limit without consent from the cardholder.

Overall, it is felt that card customers are being unfairly treated with confusing information and a lack of clarity.  Many card customers end up spending decades just paying off their card.

Euro up but not to Monday’s Highs

October 27, 2009

The US dollar has retreated a bit against the Euro after the Euro experienced 14-month highs on Monday at over $1.50.

It is widely expected within the forex markets that the dollar is poised for a stronger period after a sustained period of weakness.  However, no-one seems to know what exactly the catalyst will be for the foreign exchange market!

Some say that the data release later this week in the USA – of third quarter results, expected to signal the end of recession in the US – will provide a boost for the currency.

The Euro is now hovering around $1.48.

Pound extends Losses

October 26, 2009

The UK is now lagging around 4th place behind other “leading” economies as the US is set for emergance from the recession.  Data to be released this week is expected to show that the US economy grew in the third quarter.

Now Germany, France, Japan and likely the US are out while the UK is expected to stay in the doldrums for a while yet.  The sterling extended losses over the weekend as investors lost interest – last week’s figures that the UK had its sixth consecutive quarterly decline came as a surprise to many.

An aggressive sterling- selling trend is expected to take place as the UK interest rate is to stay low.

UK still in Recession

October 23, 2009

Britain’s economy has now shrunk for the sixth quarter in a row – a fact that has shocked the financial markets (foreign exchange, banking, trade etc) , economists and analysts.   Indeed, the figures (released today by the Office for National Statistics) which show the economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in the third quarter, mean that the UK is still in a state of recession.

It had been predicted and hoped by many that the latest financial data on the economy would bring some better news.  Some hoped that it would be announced that the country had left the recession.  But today’s report means that there is still ground to be regained in order to return to growth.

That said, both the Chancellor (Alistair Darling) and the Governor of the Bank of England (Mervyn King) apparently believe that there will be a small fraction of growth by the end of the year. 

However, output in many sectors is still down, unemployment continues to rise and the fiscal stimulus that has been filtered in within the last year still has not pulled the country into a sustained recovery.

Banks under fire

October 22, 2009

Banks may not be quite so popular these days and now a new revelation has come to light – that of the “cold call”…

Many people cannot bear the call just as their favourite TV programme is about to begin – some over-friendly young man from a call centre asking if your broadband package is working well and did you know that you are due for a free package?  Usually these can be dealt with, but what if the caller asks for personal details and claims to be your bank?

The Banking Code tells us never to give out personal information or account details unless we are sure that the recipient is trusted.  So, if you suddenly receive a call from a call centre, how do you know it is legitimate?

Apparently, banks do call customers now and then out of the blue – it may be because there have been some suspicious transactions on your account and these may need to be verified.  But if you are in any way uncomforatble, just say you will contact them.  The same goes for foreign exchange banks – although stories like these are not known in connection with them.