Welcome to the news roundup for June 2019. This month, the UK has finally enjoyed some sunny weather and the news has been dominated with the race for Theresa May’s replacement. At the time of writing the next leader of the Conservative Party – and therefore the UK’s new Prime Minister – is yet to be chosen. Voting opens for Conservative Party members (who have been signed up for at least 3 months) on 6th July.
While we’ve all been distracted by politics, the world is of course continuing on; generating interesting news and making new discoveries. Here are some of the industry-specific stories you may have missed in June.
UK Finance News
BoE votes to keep interest rates unchanged – sterling dips as result
On 20th June, the Bank of England voted to keep interest rates the same for the foreseeable future. They expect growth in the second quarter of 2019 to be ‘flat’, after previously predicting an increase. This is thought to be down to Brexit uncertainties and that fact that the economy seemed to be doing well at the beginning of the year. This boost is thought to be the result of increased stockpiling by companies in the run-up to the original Brexit deadline, which has now calmed.
Theresa May officially steps down
On 7th June, Theresa May officially stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party. This triggered the official search for her replacement, which is coming from within the party itself rather than via a public vote, AKA a general election. Although she’s officially stepped down as leader of the party, May is continuing on as the Prime Minister in a caretaking capacity until someone else is chosen for the top spot. At the moment the race is between Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson, and we’re expected to know the results by 22nd July 2019.
As there is a lot of political uncertainty and many unknowns for the future at the moment, it’s reasonable to expect the value of the pound to fluctuate over the coming weeks. Once a new leader is in place, it is hoped that the markets will stabilise somewhat. This will be largely dependent on the type of Brexit favoured by the new Prime Minister, as well as what’s happening in Europe and the USA – it will be interesting to see what happens.
FCA announces probe into credit information market
When you apply for any unsecured credit, like personal loans and credit cards, your credit information is what the lender uses to make their final decision. This new investigation will assess whether customers are being ‘short changed’, will look at the coverage and quality of credit information, and make sure the competition between credit reference agencies is not to the detriment of consumers.
The findings of their investigation and any further action needed will be announced by the FCA in Spring 2020.
Banks banned from charging expensive overdraft fees
On the same day that Theresa May officially stepped down as Conservative Party leader, you may have missed the announcement by the Financial Conduct Authority about new overdraft rules. From April 2020, banks will no longer be able to charge excessive day-by-day charges for unauthorised overdrafts, which often exacerbate the problem rather than help customers get back into the black, so to speak.
In addition to the eradication of daily charges, unauthorised overdrafts will also no longer be charged at higher rates than authorised ones. Banks have until the April 2020 deadline to make changes to their current policies, but have been encouraged to implement the new rules as soon as possible.
Luxury Watch News
Omega sets unbeatable world record for deepest dive watch of all time
Omega, one of the world’s leading luxury watch manufacturers, announced in June that they have successfully tested their experimental dive watch – the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional. The test involved strapping three of these new watches onto a robotic submersible vehicle while it explored the very bottom of the Mariana Trench. The Mariana Trench sinks down to nearly 7 miles beneath the ocean waves, making it the deepest point in all the world’s oceans and seas; the pressure experienced at that depth is equivalent to the weight of 50 jumbo jets!
All three Omega Ulta Deep Professional watches came back to the surface in perfect working order, with one being stuck on the ocean floor for two-and-a-half days before being retrieved. This is a hugely impressive feat and one which can never be beaten, as you can’t physically send a watch any deeper than the Mariana Trench.
Gold prices fluctuate throughout June
The price of gold has had an eventful month, seeing it climb to £1,122 per ounce on 25th June after starting the month at £1,033 per ounce. By the 30th of June however, it had dropped back to £1,106 – still up in general, but not quite as high as some experts predicted. This is still the highest price gold has commanded thus far in 2019 – it’s actually the highest gold price in seven years!
So what does this mean for the everyday person? Not everyone is interested in following the stock markets, but when the gold price changes it means that any gold you own also changes in value. At the moment, your gold is worth more than it was at this time last month, which means you can sell it for more money, or you can use it borrow against and achieve a larger pawn loan. On the flip side of the coin, of course, is the fact that gold will now also sell for more money, so if you were planning on buying some gold soon, you may want to keep an eye on the markets.