Welcome to this month’s news roundup, which covers the stories you may have missed during September. We look at stories from the world of finance, gold, diamonds and luxury watches; all of which are a huge part of what we do here at H&T Pawnbrokers. Read on to find out about the UK’s recent spending habits, what analysts think the gold price will do, and a unique surprise found within a diamond.
Recession concerns drop after July economy growth
On the 9th of September, figures were released which showed a surprising 0.3% growth in the UK economy during July. This followed poor growth in the second quarter of the year, as well as a 0.2% contraction during the first three months of 2019, which had led some analysts to question whether we were heading for another recession.
This welcome growth is coming from the services sector, which makes up 80% of the UK economy. When the news of this growth was revealed, the value of the pound rose by 0.6% on the stock markets as a result.
Credit card spending overtakes cash for first time
For the first time ever, credit cards have overtaken cash as a more popular method of spending. This has pushed cash to third place, with debit cards being the most common method of payment. This shift in spending habits has been relatively quick, as cash held the top spot up until 2018, when debit card payments took the top spot. Now, just a year later, cash has been demoted once again.
This trend just adds to the concern that we are heading towards a potentially cashless society, which could cause difficulties for millions of people who may not have access to a bank account.
Credit card borrowing at slowest annual rate since 2015
Despite the news that spending on credit cards has overtaken cash as the second most preferred method of payment, it seems that consumers are not using their credit cards as much. Brits borrowed on their credit cards at the slowest annual rate in over four years during August 2019. It dropped to 3.3% in August from 3.8% in July. This may suggest that our appetite for credit cards is waning, and may perhaps indicate that people are looking for alternative ways of borrowing money.
Britain facing a fraud ‘epidemic’
At the beginning of the month, the chair of the Financial Conduct Authority, Charles Randell, warned the Economic Crime Symposium that Britain is facing a fraud epidemic. He highlighted the fact that consumers are increasingly being targeted by various financial scams involving mini-bonds, pension investments, cryptocurrency and foreign exchange. Fraud is a serious problem and made up around one third of the total crimes committed in England and Wales during 2018/19. Randell called for action from regulators, the police, finance firms, tech companies and data businesses to help tackle this worrying and potentially devastating trend.
Analysts believe gold price could smash records
Analysts at New-York based bank Citigroup have suggested that the gold price may smash records to reach $2,000 an ounce in the next two years. While no one can accurately predict what the stock markets will do, previous trends can help analysts to make predictions for the future. The US is facing an election year in 2020 which brings a lot of future uncertainty with it – this could be enough to weaken the dollar to the point where investors will favour gold, thus pushing the price higher. We have already seen some amazing growth from gold this year – will it continue?
‘Fantastically significant’ gold deposits discovered in Nevada
Barrick Gold, the largest gold mining company in the world, has discovered a rich area of gold deposits during explorations in Nevada. It’s being labelled a ‘Tier 1’ discovery, which means it has the potential to be a low cost, long-life mining operation.
This is a welcome find and shows that there is still potential in the area. We reported in our March 2019 News Roundup that gold mining companies may have mined almost all the gold there is, and the last remaining large gold deposits may have already been discovered. As technology advances, we may be able to locate and access previously undiscovered gold – it’ll be an interesting industry to watch in the next few years.
Diamond reveals brand new mineral
A diamond discovered in South Africa has revealed an amazing insight into the mysteries of what lies beneath our feet in the mantle of the Earth. The diamond was recovered from a volcanic site known as the Koffiefontein pipe. Diamonds found here contain tiny particles of different minerals which come from deep beneath the surface – hundreds of miles in some cases.
Scientists have been studying these diamonds for years, but this one was special. The tiny grain of rock lodged within this diamond discovery contained a mineral which has never been seen before. It’s been named ‘goldschmidtite’ after an acclaimed geochemist named Victor Moritz Goldschmidt. Diamonds are not just shiny adornments – they can tell us a huge amount about the Earth and how it was formed. This new discovery gives us a window into what’s happening far beneath the crust, which is impossible to access even with the latest technology and machinery.
Rolex and Omega in battle for deepest submarine mission
In our June 2019 News Roundup, we reported that Omega had set the unbeatable world record for the deepest dive watch of all time. Its Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional timepiece travelled to the very bottom of the Mariana Trench on a submersible vehicle and returned in perfect working order.
However, this wasn’t the first watch to achieve this feat. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge timepiece went down to the bottom of the trench in 2012 with film director James Cameron. It was also strapped to the outside of his submersible vehicle and returned in perfect working order. James Cameron has added fuel to the fire by questioning how the Omega watch went deeper. He is quoted as saying,
‘I question that result. I also question why nobody else has questioned that result…You can’t go deeper. It’s flat and featureless.’
It will be interesting to see if Rolex and Omega will continue to fight for their right to say they have the best diving watch in the world.