What next for UK interest rates?
Interest rates finally rose above 0.5 per cent in August – almost a decade after the emergency cut to that level. The Bank of England's MPC voted to raise rates to 0.75 per cent on 2nd August, casting aside worries over a no-deal Brexit, as it said that low unemployment merited a hike to keep inflation on target.
The 9-0 vote to raise rates was accompanied by a quarterly Inflation Report, which showed that, despite August’s hike, the market outlook was for rates to go up more slowly over the next three years than previously expected and that no further move is expected until at least the middle of next year. The recent rate rise was widely expected as the Bank had not sent out any signals to dampen forecasts of a hike, unlike in the run-up to the May decision when a move up failed to happen. The question now is whether this is a one-off hike, or the start of a slow but steady rise in interest rates. A lot will depend on how the British economy fares over the rest of this year and into 2019, before the UK's exit from the EU. If there is a marked slowdown then it is likely that rates will stall again. Even worse, a recession would most likely see a further interest rate cut.
Blacktower Guide to Expat Windfalls - Our Top Five Tips
A financial windfall can take many shapes: a lottery win, the sale of property and/or assets, a work-related bonus perhaps. However, for many, the word "windfall" typically means an inheritance when someone dies – something you don't ever wish for, but you more-or-less know will come your way.
Everybody's idea of a "life-changing sum of money is different, but if you feel your windfall is burning a hole in your pocket and you are unsure how best to use the money, our quick Guide to Expat Windfalls could offer some food for thought.
Could No-Deal Brexit Make British Pensions for Expats Illegal?
Following on from last week's blog on pension passporting, written by Rosemary Sheppard, Blacktower IFA in France, The Independent newspaper has now warned that British expats abroad could have their cash flow placed in peril by a no-deal Brexit.
While the talks around Brexit and expat pensions are certainly newsworthy, the reporting of pension payments becoming "illegal", as stated in The Independent's headline, is pretty implausible.
The story, published on July 25 2018, said the Association of British Insurers (ABI) had told parliament's Exiting the European Union select committee of the "plausible" risk that payments from British bank accounts could become unviable.
Making Sense of 2018 Spanish Budget
The new Spanish budget came into force on 6 July. It was a long time in the making. At the end of May Spanish parliament finally approved the government's 2018 budget following support from the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), bringing to an end fears that the long-delayed budget would ever receive the required level of support, particularly in light of the delicate situation in Catalonia.
"Far from constituting a blank cheque to the PP [People's Party) government, this decision allows the PNV to maintain its capacity of political influence in order to contribute to a dialogue and a solution in Catalonia," the PNV said.