PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS

OFGEM FORCES NOTICE CHANGES
Ofgem has responded to pressure from consumers to force energy suppliers to give increased notice of rate changes.

Suppliers have been ordered to give their customers 30 days notice before implementing price hikes.

Geared towards protecting consumers from shock utility bill increases, the energy industry regulator Ofgem has issued new changes to rules which previously only called for suppliers to write to customers within two months of putting up their prices.

MORTGAGE AGREEMENTS ON THE UP
Figures released yesterday show that UK consumers have increased their credit card and mortgage borrowing

The Bank of England says that 47,000 loans for home purchases were granted in February. This constitutes a six month high in home loan lending.

At the same time, the number of those re-mortgaging their properties rose in February to 35,725.

Total secured lending stands at £11.3bn, representing an increase of £1.2bn over the course of the month.

NEW SHORT-DATED CORPORATE BOND
iShares, the exchange-traded funds (ETF) platform of BlackRock, has expanded its fixed income range with the launch of the iShares Markit iBoxx GBP corporate bond.

Listing on the London Stock Exchange yesterday, it is the first ETF to provide specific exposure to short-dated corporate bonds which are denominated in sterling.

It provides investors with access to investment grade, sterling-denominated corporate bonds.

EC GIVES MONEY TO CAR BUILDERS
The European Commission has decided upon a cross-European electromobility initiative, dubbed Green eMotion. It has announced that €41.8m will be used by the fund to prop-up the electric car sector.

Working with 42 partners, the commission states that the aim of the initiative is to exchange and develop know-how and experience in selected regions within Europe, as well as facilitate the market roll-out of electric vehicles in Europe.