Money latest: Bitcoin suffers nightmare month - and it's just got worse (2024)

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  • Bitcoin suffers nightmare month - and it's just got worse
  • Key dates for Spotify customers, energy bills, free childcare and interest rates in May
  • Wait for interest rate cut leads to surprise dip in house price growth
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Struggling with mortgage costs? We want to hear from you

Are you struggling because of high interest rates? Sky News is keen to hear from people who are due to refix their mortgages this year or are on a variable rate or tracker mortgage or trying to get on the housing ladder.

Email us your stories orWhatsApp ushere.


Bitcoin suffers worst month since 2022

By Connor Sephton, news reporter

Bitcoin has suffered its biggest monthly loss since June 2022 - amid signs that market euphoria is starting to cool.

The world's biggest cryptocurrency saw its price plunge by almost 15% in April.

Even though we're just 12 hours into a brand-new month, Bitcoin is continuing to fall further.

This digital asset is often valued in dollars rather than pounds - and certain price points tend to have psychological significance for traders.

Over the past few weeks, Bitcoin had successfully managed to avoid a big fall under $60,000 (about £48,000).

But all of that changed in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

After the $60,000 threshold crumbled, a sharp drop to $57,000 soon followed.

So... with Bitcoin down 7% over the past 24 hours, what happens next?

Well - traders are now engaged in what can best be described as an arm wrestle.

If Bitcoin manages to hold stable around $57,000, its value may start to recover.

But if selling pressure grows as American investors start to wake up and see what's happened, further declines are to be expected.

Bitcoin has now fallen by 22% since hitting an all-time high of $73,750 in March - which technically puts this cryptocurrency in a bear market.

However, avid enthusiasts will insist this is nothing more than a healthy correction, and Bitcoin's longer-term prospects are good.

One thing is clear: this is a volatile asset, and investors should only put in whatever they can afford to lose.


Four mortgage lenders announce hikes

In what seems to be becoming a daily occurrence, four more lenders have announced mortgage rate rises.

Halifax, BM Solutions and Virgin are all doing so for the second time in around a week. They're joined by Nottingham Building Society.

Halifax are increasing rates on purchase products by up to 0.2%; BM Solutions by up to 0.24%. These begin tomorrow.

Virgin increased rates on products between 0.08% and 0.2% yesterday evening, while Nottingham has lifted rates this morning by up to 0.25%.

Mortgage rates have spiked in the last two weeks as financial markets have moved from pricing in a base rate cut in June to thinking it will come in August. Expectations of three cuts this year are now two.

The backdrop is sticky inflation in the US - and concern the global and domestic battle against rising prices isn't over yet.

Skipton had actually announced some decreases - but any optimism from this proved momentary.

Dariusz Karpowicz, director at Albion Financial Advice, told Newspage: "The atmosphere in the mortgage market is rather grim, with major players like Halifax, BM Solutions, Virgin and Nottingham Building Society repeatedly raising their fixed rates.

"This pattern of frequent rate hikes, sometimes occurring multiple times within a week, is casting a shadow over market sentiment.

"The anticipated 'spring bounce' is nowhere in sight; instead, we're witnessing a continuation of mortgage woes.

"Higher rates are expected to dampen buyer enthusiasm and potentially delay any positive momentum.

"As for when borrowers can expect relief, it hinges on broader economic stabilisation. For now, the outlook remains cautious and subdued."


Spotify price hike, energy bills announcement, free childcare applications: Key money dates for your diary this month

As April rolls into May, let's take a look at the key money dates to add to your calendar this month.

A small note before we jump in - May is a month with a couple of bank holidays, so if any of your benefits payments would normally fall on those days, you'll get the money on the previous working day instead.

1 May - Prescription price change

The cost of your NHS prescription increases by 25p today - from £9.65 to £9.90.

Repeat prescription customers can apply for a prepayment certificate (PPC) which charges a fixed amount for a set period of prescriptions.

However, the cost of a one-year PCC will also rise to £114.50 from £111.60 - a rise of almost £3.

9 May - Interest rate decision

Next week, the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will meet for its latest review of interest rates.

The MPC has decided to freeze the base rate at 5.25% over recent months.

While nothing is guaranteed, the BoE is widely expected among economists to hold the rate once again - thought to be waiting for inflation to get closer to the Bank's 2% target.

12 May - Free childcare applications open

From 12 May, eligible working parents of children from nine-months-old will be able to register for access to up to 15 free hours of government-funded childcare per week.

You won't be able to claim the hours until September.

Check if you're eligible here.

15 May - Subway loyalty points changes

Sandwich giant Subway has outlined a series of measures in its branches regarding its loyalty schemes.

Customers have until 14 May to use the current scheme before it changes to a new app-only loyalty scheme.

From 15 May, any points will expire and become unredeemable.

May 24 - Energy price cap announcement

Regulator Ofgem will announce the new energy price cap for the period 1 July to 30 September.

The current price cap (£1,690 a year) is expected by analysts at Cornwall Insights to fall by just over £100 to around £1,559 for the average household per year.

Spotify hikes

As we reported in the Money blog, Spotify will hike its prices by around £2 per month...

Depending on a customer's billing date, payment change to the higher rate will fall in either May or June.

Spotify has said it will email existing customers with one-month's notice of the increase.


Good news on oil - which could reduce fuel prices down the road

By James Sillars, business reporter

A piece of good news to bring you: a welcome fall in oil costs.

A barrel of Brent crude started the week close to $88.

It is trading at $85 today after three days of declines – the latest in Asian trading today.

The major move lower, however, came yesterday afternoon.

Analysts credited increasing hopes of a ceasefire agreement in the Middle East and on rising US crude inventories and production.

It's been another positive start to the day for the FTSE 100 - rising 0.1% to 8.157 points in early deals.

The index has started higher each session this week but, in truth, it has struggled to make big inroads since last week's record closing high.

Banks and miners are leading the way.

Next, however, was among the fallers despite posting a strong rise in full price sales.

The first quarter increase of 5.7% was above market expectations but the retailer, usually renowned for keeping expectations low and over-delivering, maintained its guidance for annual sales and profits.

Its shares were 1.2% lower.

Among the fallers in the wider market was Aston Martin Lagonda.

The luxury carmaker's stock was almost 9% down after posting bigger than expected quarterly losses.


EasyJet passengers wrongly told flights cancelled 'due to Israel'

EasyJet passengers were left scrambling to rebook flights after they were wrongly told their flights were cancelled "due to Israel".

The airline sent emails and text messages to holidaymakers informing them their flights would not be taking off on 28 April as planned - before scrambling to let them know, an hour later, that there had been a mistake.

Amid the confusion, travellers shared their frustration on social media, with one asking: "Is this a scam? EasyJet App is not showing cancellation and has allowed me to check in."

The airline has since released a statement confirming there was a technical error.

"EasyJet can confirm that unfortunately, on 28 April, some customers received an incorrect notification stating that their flight on 30 April was cancelled," a spokesperson told Sky News.

"This was due to a technical error and all customers were quickly sent updated messages with a confirmation their flight is operating as normal. We would like to apologise for this and any inconvenience caused."


Wait for interest rate cut leads to surprise dip in house price growth

Shifting expectations for UK interest rate cuts have contributed to a dip in house price growth, according to a closely watched measure.

Nationwide reported a 0.4% fall in average property costs last month compared with March, taking the annual rate of growth to 0.6% from 1.6%.

Economists polled by the Reuters news agency had expected month-on-month growth of 0.2%.

The lender's report said the easing reflected "ongoing affordability pressures, with longer term interest rates rising in recent months, reversing the steep fall seen around the turn of the year".

Read the full story here...


One of UK's top chefs reveals best Cheap Eats in Norfolk - and cling film tip

Every Wednesday we get Michelin chefs, top bloggers or critics to pick their favourite Cheap Eats where they live and at home.This week we speak to one of the most renowned chefs in the UK,Galton Blackiston of the Michelin-starred Morston Hall in Norfolk.

He's gone the extra mile in his Cheap Eats at home - uploading a how-to video to Instagram.

HiGalton, can you tell us your favourite places in Norfolk where you can get a meal for two for less than £40?

Allium in Downham Market, a family run restaurant which involves mum, dad, Joe in kitchen and James front of house. Open Wednesday through to Sunday, it has a great vibe on a Saturday evening and great food.

Bure River Restaurant, a tiny restaurant on the broads in Horning cooking lovely fish dishes.

Final cheap place is the Parlour in Binham, where they have a great restaurant and you put money into an honesty box for their local cheese from the village and raw milk from their farm - a great place to visit in Norfolk.

What's your go-to cheap meal at home?

Toad in the hole with a baked potato and hispi cabbage and onion gravy.

A good tip I would say is to colour off the sausages in dripping then pour over the batter, which should be eight eggs, 250g plain flour, one pint of full fat milk, salt pepper and nutmeg. Whisk together and allow to sit for an hour til you use.

And this is how you do the hispi cabbage with cling film over the pan...


The cheapest dates, and days of the week, to fly this summer

Flight prices often rocket in the summer, but it turns out particular dates can prove cheaper.

Research by Expedia has revealed the best dates to book your trips...

The cheapest times to fly

If you're flying domestic, the best dates for your wallet are 28 July, 19 August and 23 August.

Expedia also recommends booking your domestic flights for a Wednesday to save roughly 20%.

For those travelling internationally, the cheapest dates are 2 and 13 June, and 28 August.

When it comes to booking, you can save about 15% if you book for a Thursday versus at the weekend.

The quietest times to fly

If you care more about a quieter airport, the least busy dates for flying domestic are 10 June, and 11 and 19 July.

For international flights, the best dates are 4 June, and 27 and 30 August.

And the dates to avoid...

The most expensive domestic flights are on 30 June, and 8 and 16 July.

International flights are pricier on 22, 23 and 29 July.

Meanwhile, Expedia says 30 June and 24 July will be the busiest air travel days for domestic and international destinations.

Domestic flights are busiest on 30 June, and 8 and 16 July.

For international flights, 10, 21 and 24 June are the busiest.


Money latest: Bitcoin suffers nightmare month - and it's just got worse (2024)
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