Archive for August 2010

Safe Havens Back Down

August 26, 2010

The yen, the US dollar and the Swiss franc all fell in this morning’s early trade – can you see the pattern?

Yes, all three are traditionally seen as ‘safe havens’ in an otherwise rocky market – yet today investors headed away from them on the back of healthier commodity increases.

Meanwhile the Japanese authorities are still rumoured to be thinking about intervening on the yen’s strength.

Also in the news: central banks are meeting at the US Fed’s mountain retreat to talk about the state of the global economy.  Is it recovering well enough?  Are we on the edge of another cliff, about to tumble back into recession?  Do we need to print more money to give things a boost?  These and other key topics are likely to be discussed.

Ireland’s Credit Rating Downgraded

August 25, 2010

Standard & Poor’s, the leading credit rating agency, has downgraded Ireland’s rating to AA- from AA.  It has also increased the projected net debt of GDP to 113 which is quite a jump from last year’s debt which was around 65% of GDP.

The news comes as another blow to Ireland, which is struggling to recover from the effects of the recession, having had its formerly booming property market collapse.

Since then it has been consigned to the unpopular PIIGS group – the euro zone nations that have threatened to drag down the entire euro currency zone.  Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain have all been tackling severe public debts.

Britain, whose debts are stiff competition for any of those nations, is able to avoid quite as much blame, being as it is not a euro currency nation.

Financial Review for September

August 23, 2010

As students and schoolchildren look ahead (but not necessarily forward) to a new term, parents may be clearing up the financial clutter.  After a summer – with perhaps a break abroad – many professionals attempt to review their finances and start the ‘new term’ at work with a fresh approach.

While it is never a fun prospect to consider ones bank statements, credit card bills and savings, it is a sensible idea to regularly review your own money and make sure you are making – and getting – the most of it.

September is rarely as ‘poor’ as January with its post-Xmas hangover and battered credit, but there is a similarity especially for parents that have had to deal with ‘back to school’ costs and a family holiday too.

Get Proper Debt Advice

August 19, 2010

You may have been hit with rising debts and more money worries – unemployment figures are still increasing on a daily basis.  As those figures have increased, so have those of people seeking debt management advice.

But today it has emerged that the Office of Fair Trading is to close down a total of 27 websites who, according to them, are deliberately misleading consumers.  The websites have been accused of using names very similar to free agencies in a bid to give people an impression of a non-profit-making service.

The OFT are urging consumers to be vigilant and thorough when looking for debt advice.  Companies and websites are allowed to charge for their service, but must be in possession of a consumer credit license.  You can check if a company has this by looking at their Terms and Conditions – they may try to be vague in the main pages of the site but are required to put all information with the Terms and Conditions.  They must also adhere with OFT guidelines.

So make sure you shop around and do your homework before taking advice…

Global Market Falls

August 11, 2010

Seems to be a case of Blue Wednesday around global share markets and currency markets today – there were widespread falls today on continued worries about the pace of the economic recovery.

Asia, Sydney, London, Europe, Wall Street and Toronto all recorded sharp drops as investors feared what is happening to the stability of key developed economies around the world.

On Tuesday the Federal Reserve said that growth has been slow in recent months (as if we didn’t know after the latest round of data) and even the Bank of England emitted a downbeat tone.

Futures Prices in Wheat Soar

August 6, 2010

Futures trading is an interesting area any day of the year, but right now it is perhaps even more intriguing to keep an eye on.  With a jaw-dropping 80% rise in the price of wheat since June, many are wondering where next for the most commonly-used grain in the world.

The reason for the soaring price is an export ban in Russia – a major producer of the crop – due to a major drought which has killed over 20% of crops.

Traders have calmed nerves by saying that the regular man on the street is not likely to be affected just yet – but if it does continue then down the line, we might be paying more for our Hovis or a slice of pizza.

Perhaps now is a great time to think about alternative carbs – such as the more complex rye or ancient Rome’s favourite, spelt.

Pound Rises to 11-Month Basket High

August 2, 2010

Besides the fact that former US President Bill Clinton’s daughter Chelsea got married this weekend, there was also exciting news for the pound this morning: it rose to 6-month highs against the US dollar on the forex market.

Riding on a wave of a broadly weaker dollar and a round of strong earnings data for British bank HSBC, the pound slowly gained ground as the morning went on.

Against a basket of currencies, the pound rose to an 11-month high at 82.7, and also enjoyed a four-week high against the euro.

Happy Mondays!