According to figures released on Monday by the Bank of England (BOE), bank lending to consumers expanded at its fastest rate in November 2015 in almost a decade. The BOE said net lending in the penultimate month of last year was up nearly 8.5% compared with a year earlier. This is the biggest increase since February 2006. In cash terms nearly £1.5bn more was lent compared with October, beating analyst estimates. Unsecured credit grew by 8.3% year on year.
Mortgage approvals also rose in November reaching 70,410, an increase from October's 69,867. Based on BoE data loans for house purchases, which includes those approved by building societies, are 20% higher than at the same point last year. This data is usually viewed as a good indication of housing market activity over the next two quarters. Total net mortgage lending, which lags approvals, was up to nearly £3.9bn in November according to the BOE, the biggest monthly increase since April 2008.
The Halifax released data showing that although the average cost of a house in the UK fell by a small amount, 0.2% in November, prices rose by 8.7% from a year earlier. According to Martin Ellis, an economist at Halifax, the situation is likely to continue, at least in the short term, due the imbalance between supply and demand.
Another field where there seems to be an imbalance between supply and demand is bluefish tuna. On Tuesday a Japanese restaurant chain, Sushi Zanmai, paid nearly $118,000 for a 441 pound Bluefin tuna. That’s $265 per pound. The reason for the high price is because it’s the last New Year tuna to be auctioned at Tsukiji, Japan’s 80 year old fish market, before it moves to new premises later this year. Kiyoshi Kimura, owner of the restaurant chain spoke to reporters after the purchase. “It was a little more expensive than expected, but it’s the highest quality for its shape, colour and fat,” adding “I want our customers to be happy. It was the last auction at Tsukiji so there were many people there, and I feel everyone in the auction was deeply moved.” Let’s hope his customers enjoy the tuna, the price was 3 times higher than last year.