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  • The British Bankers Association reported that in the net mortgage lending in the year to January grew by 0.2%. Gross mortgage lending was £7.7bn during the month, an increase on the average of recent months.
    • The latest data from the BBA also showed that deposits increased by 6.2% in the year to January, a sign that consumers were more cautious in the period.
  • Further signs that the revival in house building is gathering strength can be found in the full year results reported by Persimmon and Bovis Homes for 2012, they reported profits up by 52% and 69% respectively. Both companies also reported an increase in the selling price of new homes, Persimmon said prices increased by 6% and Bovis reported a 5% increase in new home sales.

UK Economy

  • Moody’s the credit rating agency cut the UK’s credit rating from Aaa to Aa1 on the grounds that growth will continue to be subdued for the foreseeable future, placing further doubt on the ability of the UK government to meet its deficit and debt reduction targets.
    • The downgrade caused Sterling to plummet on the first day of trading after the news.
  • The latest labour market statistics for the period October to December last year showed that employment continued to grow and that unemployment was falling. Employment continued its upward trajectory and 29.7m people were now in some form of employment a 584,000 increase on the year before.
    • The unemployment rate was 7.8% of the economically active population, a fall of 0.1 percentage points from the preceding period.
    • Total pay increased only 1.4% compared to the same period of 2011 an increase well below the current inflation rate of 2.7%.
    • The claimant count for January stood at 1.54m, down 12,500 from December last year.
  • Government borrowing in January was actually negative indicating a repayment bn11.4bn was made; the surplus was £5bn higher than the repayment made in January 2012.

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