BoE stress tests: all you need to know

The Bank of England has released the results of its latest round of its annual banking stress tests and its semi-annual financial stability report this morning. Used to measure the resilience of a bank’s balance sheet in adverse scenarios, the stress tests measured the impact of a severe slowdown in Chinese growth, a global recession […]

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Draghi: Eurozone will decline without vital productivity growth

It’s productivity, stupid. European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has become the latest major policymaker to warn of the long-term economic damage posed by chronically low productivity growth, as he urged eurozone governments to take action to lift growth and stoke innovation. Speaking in Madrid on Wednesday, Mr Draghi noted that productivity rises in the […]

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Asia markets tentative ahead of Opec meeting

Wednesday 2.30am GMT Overview Markets across Asia were treading cautiously on Wednesday, following mild overnight gains for Wall Street, a weakening of the US dollar and as investors turned their attention to a meeting between Opec members later today. What to watch Oil prices are in focus ahead of Wednesday’s Opec meeting in Vienna. The […]

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Banks, Financial

RBS emerges as biggest failure in tough UK bank stress tests

Royal Bank of Scotland has emerged as the biggest failure in the UK’s annual stress tests, forcing the state-controlled lender to present regulators with a new plan to bolster its capital position by at least £2bn. Barclays and Standard Chartered also failed to meet some of their minimum hurdles in the toughest stress scenario ever […]

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Barclays: life in the old dog yet

Barclays, a former basket case of British banking, is beginning to look inspiringly mediocre. The bank has failed Bank of England stress tests less resoundingly than Royal Bank of Scotland. Investors believe its assets are worth only 10 per cent less than their book value, judging from the share price. Although Barclays’s legal team have […]

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Categorized | Property

Mortgage approvals pick up in October

Posted on November 24, 2016

The number of residential mortgages approved by UK high street lenders recovered last month to 40,851, the highest level since May, but was still 10 per cent lower than in October 2015, according to the latest data from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA).

October’s figure compares to 38,690 approvals in September.

But mortgage approvals for the first ten months of this year are trailing 4 per cent behind the same period in 2015 and the BBA said there has been only a “relatively modest” increase in activity since the Bank of England cut interest rates in August as part of a stimulus package designed to protect the economy against any possible ill-effects of the Brexit vote.

While house prices have held up better than some might have been expecting since the referendum, estate agents have warned of a slowdown in transactions.

This morning, Countrywide, which runs the UK’s largest chain of residential estate agents, spooked the market when it wanted transaction levels were “significantly below” last year, also due to stamp duty changes introduced in April for buy-to-let investors and second home buyers.

It believes transactions this year will likely be 6 per cent lower than in 2015 and it also cautioned it is “likely” there could be a further decline in 2017.

However, existing homeowners are taking advantage of record low interest rates to remortgage. Remortgaging approvals for the first ten months of this year are 13 per cent higher year on year, according to the BBA’s data.

Consumers are also making the most of low rates to borrow for other purchases and BBA chief economist Rebecca Harding said consumer credit is now growing at its fastest rate since November 2006.