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Brexit dampens British housing market

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Brexit dampens British housing market | The Thaiger
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As Britain’s deadline to leave the EU approaches, property prices have slowed or dropped, especially in London, with sector analysts warning of worse to come if Britain crashes out of the bloc without a deal.

“The market is at a standstill,” said Beatrice Caboche, director at real estate company Barnes UK.

Average property sales prices rose 0.7% in July, their slowest increase in nearly seven years.

The British housing market is weakening after a three-decade boom amid slower economic growth, uncertainty over Brexit and inflation outpacing wage growth over much of the past year. London, where the average house price is more than double the national average, has been hit harder than the rest of the country.

Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, says that over the past three years, there has been a general slowdown in UK house price growth, driven mainly by a slowdown in the south and east of England.

“Many investors expect the market to weaken further and don’t want to overpay for property that will be worth less if, for example, Britain leaves the EU without a negotiated deal.”

Potential sellers, on the other hand, often prefer to leave their houses empty rather than accept a price they deem too low – a stance that seems to add to an already acute housing crisis.

‘Decade-low’

In London, property values dropped by 4% in the first quarter from their level earlier this year, the sharpest drop since 2009 when the global financial crisis was raging. In wealthy London neighbourhoods, like Mayfair, Knightsbridge or South Kensington, the price falls have been the most spectacular as they plunged from the dizzying heights of recent years.

“Transactions of high-end homes in central London last year reached a decade low,” according to data group LonRes, which said that the market had already been under pressure from stamp duty changes. A property put on the market for 14 million pounds ($17.2 million, 15.7 million euros) four years ago could be sold now for 9 million, said Caboche.

She said it’s not just the market’s high end that is suffering but the Brexit impact is being felt among cheaper housing, too, and across the entire country, with perhaps more of a lasting impact than even the financial crisis.

“This time around, prices have been falling more slowly, but continuously, and we don’t see any coming recovery.”

– ‘Buyer’s market’ –

Meanwhile, the sales commissions collected by estate agents have been dropping as transaction numbers fall, causing a bad mood in the profession. But there’s a flipside to the suffering of sellers and middlemen: Some buyers are finding that the property market, which had priced them out a long time ago, has again become accessible. Moreover, historically-low interest rates are an enticing proposition for anyone shopping for a mortgage.

Meanwhile, the decline of the pound, which is trading around 20@ lower against the dollar than before the Brexit referendum, has vastly improved the purchasing power of non-residents eyeing British property.

“It’s a buyer’s market,” said Caboche.

Some call the slowdown a necessary correction after years of double-digit price growth, particularly in London which is one of the world’s most expensive cities.

But if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal on October 31, predicts KPMG, prices could fall by up to 7.5% next year.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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Politics

Companies pull out from Trump brand after storming of Capitol incident

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Companies pull out from Trump brand after storming of Capitol incident | The Thaiger

Corporate America is adding its weight in response to the insurgency at the Capitol building on January 6, and are pulling out from any association with the Trump brand after the storming of the capitol incidentwhich economists say will have a profound medium and long-term effect on his business interests. Recently, Signature Bank closed Trump’s personal accounts and the PGA of America stopped plans to hold its 2022 championship at Mr. Trump’s New Jersey golf course.

Such a parting of ways signals the business community’s weariness in being associated with a political figure that has attracted worldwide attention and is indicative of what may happen to the Trump brand. The president’s role in the incident, confirmed by his impeachment by the House this week, has gained criticism from the Business Roundtable to the AFL-CIO labour federation.

Michael D’Antonio, the author of a Trump biography, says the capitol incident has been a game-changer for the support of extreme politics.

“Trump’s name is really an albatross. He is the most disgraced president in history. This is a person who’s synonymous with a mob attacking the US Capitol. I just think this went a step too far.”

Other experts like Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, say Trump’s brand will inevitably suffer long-term.

“Before his term, Trump stood for wealth, success and over-the-top luxury. Now the brand has associations with anti-government views, racism and extremism. This makes the brand fairly toxic.”

Deutsche Bank, to which Trump reportedly owes around $400 million, is also planning to stop engaging in business with him. But the president dismissed any business challenges in an October 15 televised event by saying that the $400 million he owed was “a tiny percentage of my net worth.”

It appears true that some of Trump’s properties have benefitted from his presidency as taxpayer revenue has continuously flowed into his golf courses and clubs where he stays with his family, the secret service and the White House staff.

In fact, CREW estimates that Trump’s properties took in over $100 million from more than 500 visits by the president, according to a report in September 2020. But even that business transaction has received widespread criticism as many say Trump should not have mixed politics with his personal businesses.

D’Antonio predicts that Trump may sell current assets to pay off his Deutsche Bank debt, which means there could be fewer to none Trump hotels, golf courses or towers in the next 10 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Norway adjusts advice after 28 possible vaccine-related deaths of elderly people

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Norway adjusts advice after 28 possible vaccine-related deaths of elderly people | The Thaiger

The deaths of 23 elderly people are being investigated after dying a short time of receiving their first Covid-19 vaccine in Norway. Apart from the 23 deaths, medical officials are also reporting several people falling ill after receiving their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

At this stage there has been no direct correlation between the people’s deaths and inoculation wit the Pfizer vaccine, but medical officials report that 13 out of 23 people who died showed “common side effects of mRNA vaccines” such as “diarrhea, nausea and fever”.

mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies – cdc.gov

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has taken the action of cautioning against vaccinating elderly people above 80 years of age saying “those with a short life span may not benefit much from the jab”.

“For those with the most severe frailty, even relatively mild vaccine side effects can have serious consequences.”

“The agency listed fever and nausea as side effects which may have led to the deaths of some frail patients.”

Earlier this week, the Public Health authority noted that “any side effects of the vaccine will be outweighed by a reduced risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 for elderly, frail people.”

Steinar Madsen, the medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency, says that it may be a coincidence, “but we aren’t sure”.

Pfizer and BioNTech are actively working with the Norwegian authorities to investigate the death.

“The regulator discovered the number of incidents so far is not alarming and in line with expectations.”

But experts are of “the strong opinion” that doctors need to exercise caution in vaccinating people in the wake of the deaths of the 23 elderly people. The Norwegian Medicines Agency also reported that 21 women and 8 men reported side effects. Apart from the 23 deaths, 9 people have reported “serious side effects” without fatal outcomes such as “allergic reactions, strong discomfort and severe fever. Seven people reported less serious side effects such as severe pain at the injection site”.

Norwegian medical staff had administered at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccines to approximately 33,000 people as of the end of December.

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World

Covid-19 projected to reduce Americans’ life expectancy – USC/Princeton study

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Covid-19 projected to reduce Americans’ life expectancy – USC/Princeton study | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TRT World

With Covid-19 linked to more than 336,000 deaths in the United States, American’s life expectancy will decline, especially among black and latino people, according to researchers from the University of Southern California and Princeton University.

The study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that life expectancy at birth for Americans will shorten by 1.13 years to 77.48 years, while blacks and latinos life expectancy is expected to shorten by more.

For blacks, their life expectancy would shorten by 2.10 years to 72.78 years, and for Latinos, by 3.05 years to 78.77 years. This is said to be the lowest life expectancy estimated since 2003. The disproportionate impact on the 3 groups of populations is believed to relate to social and economic advantages.

The study author Theresa Andrasfay, a postdoctoral fellow at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, says that why the study analyses the number of deaths and how it affects the life expectancy at birth, it also shows the consequences for marginalized groups.

“The Covid-19 pandemic’s disproportionate effect on the life expectancy of Black and Latino Americans likely has to do with their greater exposure through their workplace or extended family contacts, in addition to receiving poorer health care, leading to more infections and worse outcomes.”

The researchers say life expectancy is an important indicator of a population’s health and a tool for examining the impact of COVID-19 on survival.

SOURCE: USA Today | University of South California

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