29 June 2011

The Pound Is Down Against The Euro As Athens Burns

Despite the fact that Greece appears to be imploding the pound has still fallen against the euro today. The problem is that the UK services sector has slumped recently.

The pound fell to €1.113 today, the lowest level for the past month.

Commentators have been waiting for poor services output figures after the number of bank holidays the UK has had this year. Closing the banks inevitably hits the service industry. On the bright side people have argued that the month of April was an exceptional month for the UK service industry and figures in May will be more in line with positive growth.

A further problem is that the Bank of England has left interest rates on hold for so long. Many people have argued that this is weakening the economy and the pound. Doves on the MPC have argued that interest rates will stay low as long as the UK economy falters. Bears argue that the economy is struggling because of low interest rates.

28 June 2011

Thorntons Will Close 180 Stores Nationwide

On the one hundredth anniversary of Thorntons chocolatiers they have announced that they will be closing up to 180 stores.

The closures will put between 750 and 1,125 jobs at risk although the company has said that they will attempt to find alternative employment for some of the sacked workforce.

Thorntons has joined the list of high street stores that have been hit hard in the recession. Habitat and Oddbins have also been casualties of the downturn.

Redundancies will hit families hard. Many families’ finances have been stretched to breaking point in the current economic climate. They may even put pushed into debt.

Many commentators have said that the recession will bring about the end of the high street. It is so much cheaper to run stores online. Online stores save on property rental prices as they do not need expensive high street lots. Internet businesses save people the effort of making the trip to the shops.

08 June 2011

Food Prices Rise by 25.0%

Food bills have reached the highest level for two years. Basic food stuffs such as bread and pasta have increased in price by 25.0%.

Poor harvests over the past few years combined with low rainfall this year have resulted in rising food prices. Wheat prices have increased by up to 72.0% on last year, corn by 112%.

People forget the majority of livestock do not graze, they are fed animal feed which will often be cereal based. As the price of cereals rises so does the price of meat.

This news will not be well received by many families who are already struggling in the current economic climate. The combination of rising food prices and utilities bills will be a two pronged attack on families in debt.

Speculators are the target of many complaints as they buy and hold commodities, waiting until demands is high to release them on the market. This style of business can cause artificial shortages which affect the world population.

01 June 2011

Are Rising Tuition Fees Putting People Off Going To University?

Year on year the number of people going to university has increased. This year, the number of applicants has fallen. This year students will have to pay hgiher tution fees. We can assume that it is no coincidence that the two events have come as a pair.

People are clearly considering alternatives to going to university. Students must think about whether the investment of time and money is well spent when they could go into work earlier, gaining valuable experience.

All universities are permitted to raise their fees to £9,000 per year. Some commentators have said (although some people may disagree) that the value of a degree from a Russel Group university is probably higher (in the workplace) than a degree from a former polytechnic.

This sort of view has resulted in people suggesting that those who pay full fees at universities should be allowed in separate to those who are receiving student loans. This suggestion has been received with consternation.

Resist Temptation When Offered Credit By Online Stores

Commentators have argued that online shoppers are being taken advantage of by greedy shops. Some online stores are now charging almost twice the usual rate of major credit cards when they use buy now, pay later credit accounts.

The rates of interest that these in store accounts use are eye wateringly high. Interest rates of 39.7% are not uncommon. Some people feel that the rate of interest on standard credit cards is too high at 17.0%.

People already get themselves into enough debt by overspending on credit cards and eating into their overdrafts. These store accounts are another way to bleed money from those foolish enough to keep spend beyond their means.

It is all very well that saying that people should be disciplined with their spending but the fact is that these stores take advantage of people who are quick to react to the call to arms to spend, spend, spend.