UK house prices rise by more than expected for fifth month in November

UK house price growth, however, slowed on an annual basis to 3.9 percent in the three months to November, following a 4.5 percent rise in October. (Reuters)
Updated 07 December 2017
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UK house prices rise by more than expected for fifth month in November

LONDON: British house prices rose by more than expected in November and for a fifth month in a row, mortgage lender Halifax said on Thursday.
House prices rose 0.5 percent month-on-month after a 0.3 percent rise in October, Halifax said, topping the consensus in a Reuters poll of economists for a 0.2 percent rise.
But house price growth slowed on an annual basis to 3.9 percent in the three months to November, following a 4.5 percent rise in October.
“The imbalance between supply and demand continues to support house prices, which doesn’t look like changing in the near future,” Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax Community Bank, said.
Other data suggest the housing market is slowing. Nationwide, a different mortgage lender, has reported a weaker pace of house price growth recently and the Bank of England has said mortgage approvals have fallen to a more than 1-year low.
The figures come two weeks after finance minister Philip Hammond delivered a budget that included measures to help first-time buyers and spur more housebuilding.
“Even if successful, the chancellor’s measures to boost house building in the budget will take time to have a significant effect so are unlikely to markedly influence house prices in the near term at least,” Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club consultancy, said.
He added that house prices are likely to rise between 2 and 3 percent in 2018.


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.