News Round-Up: Tuesday 12th March

Economics

  • In the FT, the lead LEX story focuses on leverage ratios, the basic measure of a banks’s equity as a proportion of total assets.  In a report out yesterday, the Banking Commission of MPs took issue with the government’s decision to stick with the 3 per cent minimum required by Basel III (they want UK banks to be subject to 4 per cent requirement, in line with the original proposals of the Independent Commission on Banking).  Lex says while holding slightly more capital might save a bank in a crisis, bigger capital requirements wil restrict the flow of credit into the economy – which is their “trump card” according to the Daily Mail’s James Samon who also looks at the legislators’ report (their second) in his City Focus column.  In the Guardian, Nil Pratley says that George Osborne has little excuse not to listen to the report.

Personal Finance

  • Writing in the Times, Ian King says it is unlikely the chancellor will reintroduce taper relief for capital gains tax, as called for by Liam Fox.  King believes that other policies, such as cutting employers’ national insurance contributions, would be more likely to boost wealth creation.  Meanwhile, writing in The Independent, Alex Johnson says the average asking price of properties for sale in urban areas in England is up 1.9% on this time last year, while asking prices for properties in the country are down 5.1% over the same period, quoting new research from PrimeLocation.com.

Property

  • House sales in the three months up to February reached a two and a half year high, boosting hopes of a recovery in the housing market. According to RICS, the increase in sales was driven by improved mortgage availability thanks to the government’s Funding for Lending Scheme. RICS said they expect house price to edge upwards in the coming months off the back of the improvement in sales

Recruitment & Employment

  • A surprise pick-up in public sector vacancies and recruitment by banks has helped push the employment market to its strongest level since before the recession. In banking. 13% more employers increased staffing levels rather than reduced them. Growth in public sector jobs is likely to outstrip the continued rise in private sector employment in Q2, with local authorities and the NHS leading the way.
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