• 2016-01-27 04:30

    -UK Gross Mortgage Lending Just Shy Of Dec Seven-Year High

    LONDON (MNI) - UK November mortgage approvals fell back slightly from November levels, the latest BBA data show.

    The number of mortgage approvals in December fell to a seasonally adjusted 43,975 from a revised 44,533 in November. Total approvals were 24% higher than a year ago but still lower than the 46,442 level recorded in August. Loans for remortgaging rose slightly on the up, up from 23,523 to 23,764.

    Gross mortgage borrowing in August was stg12.4 billion, 24% higher than a year ago, but just shy of the 7-year high of stg12.7 billion recorded in November.

  • 2016-01-27 03:27

    By Johanna Treeck

    FRANKFURT (MNI) - European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure Wednesday called for a strong and independent European Fiscal Board that will ensure sustainable public finances and allow fiscal policy to complement monetary policy in times of crisis.

    "At this juncture using fiscal space would speed up the euro area's return to growth and support the ECB's objective of medium-term price stability," Coeure said.

  • 2016-01-27 02:46

    By Jack Duffy

    PARIS (MNI) - France's consumer confidence edged higher in January as households were less worried about unemployment and more confident about making a major purchase.

    The national statistics institute Insee said its consumer confidence index rose to 97 in January from 96 in December, matching the MNI survey median of 97.

    Consumers surveyed in January said they were much more inclined to make a significant purchase, with Insee's index of major purchase intentions jumping to -6 from -14 in December and November.

    Worries about unemployment also eased in January as Insee's index of jobless worries dropped to 34 from a revised 45 in December.

  • 2016-01-27 02:12

    --Adds Quote at Bottom

    PARIS (MNI) - European Central Bank Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau said Wednesday that European countries must amplify their economic reforms and that those that have done so were seeing the fastest growth.

    In an interview with the Ouest France newspaper, Villeroy also said France has adopted some reforms that go in the right direction but "can do much better to eliminate unemployment."

    "Beyond monetary policy, we regularly remind governments, including France, that it is necessary to amply reforms," said Villeroy, who has headed the Bank of France since October.

    "When you look at growth rates in Europe, those with the highest rates have reformed at diverse moments and and under very diverse political major

  • 2016-01-27 02:08

    - January Sees House Prices Rise 0.3% m/m, Up 4.4% y/y

    LONDON (MNI) - UK house price inflation increased at a slowing pace in January, the latest survey from the Nationwide Building Society shows.

    The Nationwide House Price Index showed prices rose 0.3% on the month, slower than the 0.8% pace recorded in December. Prises rose 4.4% on the year after a 4.5% increase in the prior month.

    Commenting on these data, Nationwide Chief Economist Robert Gardner noted a dearth of properties on the market in recent months, along with lagging construction activity, was still an issue for the market.

    "The concern remains that construction activity will lag behind strengthening demand, putting upward pressure on house prices and eventually reducing affordability.

  • 2016-01-27 02:03

    By Jack Duffy

    PARIS (MNI) - European Central Bank Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau said Wednesday that European countries must amplify their economic reforms and that those that have done so were seeing the fastest growth.

  • 2016-01-27 02:00

    FRANKFURT (MNI) - Germany's consumer morale is set to remain unchanged in the second month of the year as threats to confidence are offset by a healthy labour market and low oil prices, the research institute GfK said Wednesday.

    GfK's key consumer confidence index is forecast to stay steady at 9.4 points in February after a slight rise in January.

    The reading is just above expectations, with the median forecast from analysts surveyed by MNI expecting the index to drop t 9.3.

    "The consumer climate has stabilized at a high level," GfK said in a statement.

  • 2016-01-26 16:25

    * Even without concrete reasoning to support it, the bull flattening trend was alive and well in the Treasury market Tuesday, a sure sign that the market expects a dovish statement from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday. The 10-year note hit a low yield of 1.96% in London Tuesday but spent much of the New York session clinging between 2.02% and 2.00%. It did inch down to 1.99% later in the session likely on short covering. If you recall, the low yield last week in New York was 1.94%. It was odd that the market was so well bid when U.S. stocks were putting in a very good performance and oil was also bid nicely above the key $30/barrel. Maybe everything has looked so bleak for so long that no one knows what "up" looks like?

  • 2016-01-26 10:35

    By David Robinson

    LONDON (MNI) - Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Kristin Forbes said fourth quarter UK productivity growth was set to be "abysmal" but that no MPC member would place weight on a single quarter's data.

    Following her speech at the Henry Jackson Society, Forbes warned that with poor productivity growth, even moderate wage rises would feed through more rapidly into inflation, but she highlighted the volatility in the quarterly data.

    On the up side "If productivity growth picks up and wages pick up you have more time before you have to raise interest rates," Forbes said.

    There was a pick up in productivity growth early in 2015 "and we got excited it was finally here but it looks like fourth quarter productivity growth is going to be abys

  • 2016-01-26 09:53

    By Johanna Treeck

    FRANKFURT (MNI) - European Central Bank Governing Council member Philip Lane said Tuesday that ECB monetary policy measures were working and have helped Ireland's impressive recovery.

    "The ECB's accommodative monetary policy has contributed to Ireland's excellent recent economic performance," the head of the Irish central bank said. "For instance, the low interest rate environment has been a boon to many indebted households, while the government has been able to issue debt at low yields."

    Earlier Tuesday, the Central Bank of Ireland put 2015 growth at 6.6% and said it expected the economy to expand by 4.8% this year and 4.4% next year.