Britons’ finances take smallest hit since Dec 2010: poll

by Shelton on August 26th, 2012

filed under Finances

LONDON (Reuters) – Britons reported the smallest deterioration in their finances in 20 months in August, as their debt levels stopped rising and fears of being laid off eased, suggesting that consumers could yet be in the mood to help pull the economy out of recession.

Survey compiler Markit said on Monday that its headline Household Finance Index climbed to 38.9 from 37.5 in July. That is the highest since December 2010, but still well below the 50 level that would mark no change compared to a month ago.

Just under 30 percent of respondents said their financial situation worsened this month, while less than 8 percent reported an improvement.

Fewer consumers reported increased worries about their jobs, though they still outnumbered those who felt more confident. On balance, the index for job security reached the highest level since April when it was also 44.9.

Moreover, Britons expected the smallest deterioration in their year-ahead finances since March 2010, with manufacturing and construction workers the most pessimistic.

While the Olympics perhaps helped give a warmer glow to household morale, the breadth of improvement spanning debt trends, inflation expectations, incomes and job security points to a more fundamental easing of the financial downturn, said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit.

The index measuring inflation expectations for the year ahead reached the lowest level since February, though the survey was compiled before official data showed an unexpected rise in consumer price inflation in July – to 2.6 percent from 2.4 percent.

Still, consumers remain fragile. Household spending rose at the slowest pace for five months in August, while both savings levels and cash available to spend fell faster than in July.

The survey of 1,500 people was conducted from August 9 to August 13.

(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova; editing by Patrick Graham)

Ann Romney talks family, finances in exclusive interview: ‘There’s nothing we …

by Shelton on August 26th, 2012

filed under Finances

After the election was over and [John] McCain was the nominee, I made a decision that I would never do it again, she said. You know who your husband is. You know– I know what a good person he is. And oh – the negative – its so hard as a wife to sit there and listen to that.

But when Morales asked why she changed her mind, Mrs. Romney said, We have a reason why were running and its because I believe in my heart that Mitt is going to save America, that economically we are in such difficult times and that he is the person thats going to pull us through this.

The criticism that plagued the Romneys during the 2008 campaign has continued, particularly in regards to their reported $250 million fortune and the issue of their tax returns.

When pressed by Morales, Mrs. Romney stood her ground. We have been very transparent to whats legally required of us, she said. Theres going to be no more tax releases given.

Mrs. Romney said if they release any more information, it will only give them more ammunition.

In regards to their finances, she said theres nothing were hiding.

Its been managed by a blind trust since before Mitt was governor, you know, 2002 forward, she told Morales. And so, you know, Ill be curious to see whats in there too.

Editors Note: Natalie Morales full interview with Ann Romney aired Thursday, August 16 on NBCs Rock Center with Brian Williams.