15 December 2009

The Overseas Property Game

Fancy spending Christmas in the sun? Many Brits are choosing to spend their winter holidays abroad in second homes.

This may sound all decadent and not very recession-friendly, but Brits who have managed to hang on to their overseas properties in places like Spain and France are apparently sitting on a potential profit-maker.

That's because according to new research, despite the recent volatility in both the home- and abroad property market, those who purchased their property four years ago could gain on the back of the exchange rates.

So, while the pound is weaker against the euro, you could still profit. Foreign exchange specialists are indeed reporting that there is a large increase in Brits choosing to sell their property abroad.

Whichever way you plan to go - buy or sell - it seems that the overseas market is on its way back to business.

11 December 2009

UK Rating is Safe!

Everyone breathe a sigh of relief. No, not just because it's Friday and the weekend is nearly here, but because the UK's sovereign rating is not under threat...well, not for now at least.

Top rating agency Moody's Investor Services has decided not to strike a prized "a" from the current triple A (Aaa) rating that the UK treasures. It sees no reason to do so because at the moment the country apparently is able to finance its whopping deficit.

A sovereign rating is highly important for any country, and being downgraded only means becoming more unattractive to foreign investors. This week, both Spain and Greece were downgraded by two of the other top rating agencies, Standard & Poor's and Fitch.

The pound was somewhat buoyed by the news, although it had taken a knock after the Pre-Budget report yesterday.

09 December 2009

Japan GDP Worse than Expected

Japan's problems certainly aren't over. As if the last recession wasn't an endless struggle, now the nation has had to revise its third-quarter growth figures downwards. And not just by a small amount.

GDP growth for the third quarter in Japan is now 1.3 per cent - it had been higher at 4.8 per cent. The biggest lagger for the economy is private spending. External demand is still present and exports did not have to be revised downwards.

In reaction to the new data, Japan stocks took a plunge. Clearly, currency and share traders were not expecting such a sharp downturn for quarterly growth.

It may all seem a bit doom and gloom but so far no-one expects the recession to be a "double-dip" or "W" shaped one.

07 December 2009

Dollar to Begin a Buoyant Phase?

The US dollar reached nearly its highest level on Friday against a basket of currencies. This was after the latest unemployment figures for the US revealed that far less jobs were lost in November than had been expected.

- Here's how many jobs experts had predicted to be lost for November: 130,000

- Here's the actual number: 11,000

The good news served to provide a boost for the dollar - a currency which has been on an extended weak trend for some time. This morning it had slipped against the Japanese yen but overall currency analysts expect the dollar to remain buoyant.

Added to the dollar's boost is the fact that many are expecting the US base interest rate to rise again sooner than expected. However, as yet this is still merely speculation.

02 December 2009

Brits are Paying off their Debts!

Belts are tighter and budgets the new way to save - Brits are cleaning up their spending habits in the new post-recession climate.

Record levels of people in the UK are paying off unsecured debts such as loans, credit cards and overdrafts. Meanwhile, financial products like prepaid cards are flying off the shelves like hot cakes - why? Because they offer the plastic route but without the debt risk.

Prepaid cards are becoming ever more popular as people find ways to control the budget yet still spend in places like the internet (ever tried paying for online goods with cash?)

The money you spend with a prepaid cards is money which you have loaded on there - no borrowing at all.