October 2019 News Roundup
Welcome to the latest edition of our news roundup, where we cover the news stories you may have missed during the month of October 2019. With the news being dominated by Brexit in recent weeks (and months and years), it can be easy to forget that there are other things going on! Here’s our pick of the most important and interesting stories this month.
UK Economy News
Fear of recession comes and goes
Early in the month, many news outlets were reporting that the UK could have tipped into a recession. This was due to the September figures for the service sector, which showed a surprising downturn. Many experts warned that these initial statistics proved a warning for the economy, but that it was too early to draw any firm conclusions until more data became available.
Thankfully, by the 10th October those fears had been soothed by the news that during June, July and August, the economy showed better-than-expected growth. This means that the economy would have to shrink more dramatically than they believe it will during September to indicate a recession.
A country is officially in a recession when the economy shrinks for two consecutive quarters. Although we don’t have all the figures yet – as September is the last month in the quarter and the data is still being compiled – the risk of falling into a recession seems to have eased.
Brexit uncertainty puts big purchases ‘on hold’
New research by Royal London has found that one in five Brits (around 10 million people) have felt the need to delay a big financial decision due to the uncertainties surrounding Brexit. Concern over higher food prices, energy costs and the potential devaluation of the pound is putting people off buying big ticket items such as a new car, a new home, or a much needed holiday.
With the situation changing all the time, and the risk of a no-deal Brexit seeming very close one day but far away the next, it’s not surprising that millions have opted to sit back and wait for the outcome before making any big decisions.
One in ten savers sitting on ‘lost’ money
Right at the end of the month, it was reported that one in ten savers have money put away in an old bank account that they have forgotten. The average amount ‘lost’ to savers was a surprising £1,528, which adds up to £7.4billion in forgotten cash overall!
You may wonder how anyone could forget about a sum of money that large, but for those who have switched banks numerous times, have spread their savings over a number of accounts and investments, and those who have been through a big life event, losing track of money can be easier than you may imagine. You can find out if you have any lost savings by using a free official service set up by the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings and Investments.
Pocket money goes digital
As we move into a more cashless society, even pocket money is becoming digitised. A new study has found that nearly one in three parents pay pocket money to their children digitally. Rather than handing out cash, parents are transferring money into their children’s bank accounts instead, or loading money onto a pre-paid card aimed at young people.
There are a number of apps which can help children learn about money and how to manage their own finances, so paying pocket money online makes a lot of sense.
No ATM in your area? You can now request one
Earlier in the year, we reported on the worrying decline in ATMs across the UK, which had caused some to be trapped in ‘cash deserts’. Not having a cash point in your local area can make things difficult, particularly for the elderly and those who rely on public transport. To address these concerns, a new fund has been launched by operator Link, called The Community Access to Cash Delivery Fund.
Anyone can request a free-to-use ATM for their area and each case will be considered based on the distance to the nearest free ATM, site security of existing ATMs, natural obstacles, and Post Office access. This is a welcome move for communities who struggle to access cash, as anyone can make a request. To suggest a location in need of a free ATM, simply email email@example.com.
Unique ‘diamond within a diamond’ found in Russia
Scientists working closely with ALROSA mining company in Russia have discovered something truly unique in their latest haul. Whilst sorting through diamonds that had been unearthed at a mine in Yakutia, Russia, they found a small diamond which has another diamond hidden inside it.
Named the matryoshka diamond after the Russian nesting dolls, this find is truly unique and unexpected. The smaller diamond can move freely within the void of the larger one and it’s this space which is so confusing to scientists. Where diamonds form, deep below the surface of the earth, the pressure is so great that the presence of any void is impossible. It is thought that the diamond must have been filled with another material at some point, which has disappeared over time. The diamond has been sent away for further testing and research, as it could give us some interesting insights into what’s happening deep below us.
Luxury Watch News
Woman finds rare vintage Rolex in second-hand sofa
A Canadian woman made the purchase of a lifetime this month when she bought a second-hand sofa for $25 (the equivalent of about £19) from a thrift store. After dropping her phone between the cushions, she discovered a wristwatch which had fallen down into the same gap. This watch happened to be a genuine vintage Rolex Daytona 6241 ‘Paul Newman’, which is a legendary model in itself.
This particular model, however, was very rare, as it had been fitted with an exotic dial. The watch specialist who helped the woman verify and value the timepiece offered her $250,000 for it, which she accepted – this is the equivalent of £193,932 in the UK! Next time you buy pre-owned hand furniture, make sure you check out all the nooks and crannies – you never know what you may discover.