Quoting a figure of €800 billion, Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter said that Euro Zone ministers have agreed a temporary increase in their rescue capacity to make more money available in the event of a financial emergency This figure however appears to include funds already spent and there is a concern in the market that the amount is still too small to be convincing.
In an unexpected move, the headline consumer confidence index, which is based on a GfK NOP survey, fell to -31 in March, down from -29 in February. This is the lowest figure since December and in contradiction to analyst expectations of a modest improvement for March.
According to projections released yesterday by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) The UK’s GDP shrank 1.2% in fourth quarter 2011 and on an annualised basis the economy shrank a further 0.4% in first quarter 2012. If correct, these figures mean the UK Is in a technical recession.
As first time buyers prepare for stamp duty exemption to come to an end, house prices in March have suffered their biggest fall in more than two years according to mortgage lender Nationwide. Seasonally adjusted, the fall in house prices was reported at 1%, the biggest drop since February 2010 and in striking contrast to the predicted 0.4% increase.
According to the Tax Incentivised Savings Association (TISA), increases in the basic state pension as well as increases to the personal allowance will help offset the recent Budget freeze in age related allowances, also referred to as the ‘granny tax’. George Osborne’s decision to freeze the additional age related personal allowance will cost pensioners £1.25 billion.