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.


India cuts sales tax across sectors to ease pain of traders and consumers

Updated 21 July 2018
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India cuts sales tax across sectors to ease pain of traders and consumers

MUMBAI: India slashed the sales tax rate on over 50 products on Saturday in a move aimed at appealing to traders and the middle classes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government eyes next year’s elections.
Modi is seeking a second term in 2019 amid voter frustration over the abrupt implementation of a nationwide goods and services tax (GST) a year ago that has hit businesses and general public hard.
The GST council, headed by interim finance minister Piyush Goyal, agreed to lower the indirect tax slab on products such as paints, leather goods, bamboo flooring, stoves, televisions and washing machines from the highest rate of 28 percent to mostly 18 percent.
“The exercise was to ensure simplification and rationalization of GST and extend relief to the common man,” Goyal told a news conference in New Delhi on Saturday evening.
The tax rate on ethanol blended with petrol, footwear costing up to 1,000 rupees and fertilizer grade phosphoric acid has been cut to from 12 to 5 percent, Goyal said.
The council cut taxes on sanitary pads and fortified baby milk to zero, Goyal said.
In a boost to mobile phone manufacturing and electric vehicles, the tax rate on lithium ion batteries was cut from 28 percent to 18 percent.
“The decision taken today will increase compliance and the revenue impact on total tax collections will be marginal,” said Goyal.
The revised tax rates will be applicable from July 27.
Revenue collections from GST are a crucial pillar of government’s plan to cut its fiscal deficit in the current year. India’s GST collection for the fiscal 2017/18 was 98 percent of the budgeted target.
“The broad level reductions in rates could lead to lower tax collections,” said M S Mani, partner at consulting firm Deloitte India.
However, the tax cut will lead to higher sales which could offset revenue losses, Mani added.
($1 = 68.7300 Indian rupees)