UK housing market remains in the doldrums — survey

Britain’s housing market has cooled since the 2016 Brexit vote which led to a rise in overall inflation and increased uncertainty among investors. (Reuters)
Updated 12 July 2018
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UK housing market remains in the doldrums — survey

LONDON: British house prices remained flat in June and the market was likely to stay sluggish in the coming months despite more properties being put up for sale, a surveyors group said on Thursday.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) house price balance rose to +2 from -2 in May.
A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a fall of -3 in June but RICS said the overall picture remained one of flat price growth and respondents taking part in the survey did not anticipate much change in the coming three months.
Britain’s housing market has cooled since the 2016 Brexit vote which led to a rise in overall inflation and increased uncertainty among investors.
“For the second month in a row, new instructions have risen, with 10 percent more respondents seeing an increase in the flow of properties being put up for sale,” RICS said.
“However, with average stocks remaining close to historic lows at 43 it would be too early to suggest that this issue is lessening as an obstacle.”
Looking further ahead, London’s housing market was likely to remain a weak spot — prices were not expected to rise in the capital and the neighboring south east region, in contrast to much of the rest of the country.


Philippine central bank considering ‘strong monetary action’ to tame price pressures

Updated 18 min 27 sec ago
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Philippine central bank considering ‘strong monetary action’ to tame price pressures

MANILA: The Philippine central bank is considering “strong monetary action” at its meeting next month to tame inflation and foreign exchange volatility, its governor said on Friday, signaling a third interest rate rise this year.
Inflation rose to 5.2 percent in July, the highest level in more than five years and above the central bank’s 2-4 percent target rate. It is expected to quicken in July to 5.3 percent due to higher food, fuel and utility costs, Department of Finance Chief Economist Gil Beltran said.
At the same time, the peso is hovering near a 12-year low against the dollar and is one of the worst performing currencies in Asia.
“The Monetary Board is considering strong monetary action to deal with persistent elevated inflation risks as well as our concern on the volatility in the foreign exchange market,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla told a media briefing.
The central bank’s next scheduled meeting is on August 9, the same day that the government is due to release second-quarter GDP figures and two days after July inflation data is scheduled for publication.
Espenilla said the peso’s weakness is contributing to higher inflation expectations and “developments that may disanchor those expectations warrant a strong response.”
The currency has weakened in recent years as US interest rates started to rise and more recently as global trade tensions mounted.
The BSP raised interest rates last month for the second time in six weeks, becoming the second central bank regionally after Indonesia’s to deliver two increases in a short period of time.
Like other Asian economies with external deficits, the Philippines faces pressure to follow the US Federal Reserve in shifting away from low interest rate settings or risk capital flight as investors seek higher-yielding assets
The Philippines’ key rate, after two hikes of 25 basis points each, is 3.50 percent.
HSBC Economist Noelan Arbis said in a market note he expects the central bank to respond more forcefully next month, with a 50-basis points rate increase to tame inflation.