Thursday, November 21, 2013

UK Grows Whilst Eurozone Stagnates

According to a survey of 350 manufacturers carried out by the CBI, Britain's manufacturing sector is growing at its fastest rate for nearly two decades. The Telegraph reports that total order books relative to normal levels were at their strongest since March 1995.

The CBI survey's total order book balance rose to +11 this month to from -4 in October, well above expectations of 0 and the long-run average of -17. 

Meanwhile in the Eurozone things are somewhat different. Markit Economics said that its Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for November (published today) fell to a three-month low of 51.5 points from 51.9 points in October.

France, the Eurozone's second largest economy, is dragging the zone down whilst the other smaller economies are all but stagnant.

Such is the effect of using one economic policy (via the single currency) for multiple economies that face different problems.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Britain Is Booming?

The Telegraph reports that the Markit/CIPS UK Services Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 62.5 in October from 60.3 in September. This was the highest level since May 1997.

As I noted the other week, it is the service sector that is driving the growth.

Now if the government could only bring itself to simplify the tax system, and indeed lower taxes, we might be assured that this growth can be maintained!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Net Worth Update (October 2013)

Current Net Worth
% change
Savings Account 1
Savings Account 2
Savings Account 3
Investment Linked Fund
Schroders Commodity Fund
Stock Holdings
Phillip Money Market Fund
Physical cash
Market Value Of BTO Flat (to be built in 2016/2017)

Total Assets


Home Loan

Net Worth (including flat to be built in 2016/2017)
Investible Net Worth

Asset Allocation
Cash or cash equivalents
Unit trusts

  • Expenses were high this month due to many reasons : Celebrated anniversary with girlfriend, partially sponsored my girlfriend on a holiday trip and bought a new pair of working shoes.
  • 65% of investible net worth is now in cash
  • Have not been blogging much due to the upcoming CFA Level 1 exam in December
  • I was hinted by my boss today to expect about 2-3 months of year end bonus (before proration as I started in May). Also, my pay increment will not be significant as I did not work a full year.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Some Royal Mail Share Certificates Issued In Error

The Telegraph reports that an employee of Equiniti, the firm handling Royal Mail shares bought via the Government's website, has admitted that a software error was responsible for investors being mistakenly issued with share certificates, according to one shareholder.

The shareholder contacted The Telegraph to say that a member of the company's call centre staff, had "spilt the beans" about the error on the Equiniti web page on which customers chose how they wanted to hold the shares.

The receipt of physical certificates can delay the speed at which an investor wishes to sell/receive the proceeds from the sale of his/her share allocation.

When asked previously about the large numbers of people who claimed to have received unwanted certificates, Equiniti said:
"We have investigated cases which have been brought to our attention and in these cases our records show that share certificates were opted for."

Friday, October 25, 2013

UK Economy Grows By 0.8%

ONS statistics published today show that Britain's economy grew by 0.8% between July and September of this year, that is the best performance since Q2 2010. The services sector accounted for the majority of the growth, itself growing by 0.7%.

It is encouraging to note that Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has said that the Bank will not rush to raise interest rates or withdraw support for banks.

Now if the government could only bring itself to simplify the tax system, and indeed lower taxes, we might be assured that this growth can be maintained!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Dangers of Contactless Cards

There has been some controversy over the security of "contactless" payment cards (which don't require Pin numbers, merely contact with a reader for payments of up to £20).

All well and good, so long as the right card makes the payment and the wrong one doesn't make a payment when it merely passes by a reader (primed to deduct a payment) because it is in someone's pocket/wallet.

The banking industry have denied there is such a problem.

However, First Direct has written to its customers, as per the Telegraph:
"We have made changes to clarify that if you have a contactless debit card you must remove it from your wallet or purse before using it to make a contactless payment."
A spokeswoman said:
"If you don't remove cards from your wallet there is a danger the payment may be taken from the wrong card. It could be a bit of a nightmare if it came from a card where there wasn't enough money."
In other words there is a potential problem with these cards, not least the possibility that a suitably well positioned felon (ie standing near a person who has a contactless card) with technical knowledge could electronically pick your pocket!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Greece's Budget Deficit Falls

Apparently, if statistics from eurostat can be believed, Greece's budget deficit for 2012 has been revised down from 10% of GDP to 9%

However, before popping the champagne corks, it should be remembered that debt stands at 156.9% of GDP.