Petrol and mortgages getting cheaper

Happy Discount Tuesday... Pay less for your petrol! Buy your mortgage back on the cheap!

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

In our never-ending quest to cut through the doom and gloom of our current economic travails, this morning we have plenty to celebrate. After months of spiralling petrol prices, it looks as though we may finally see them fall – Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have all promised to make petrol cheaper as the oil price stabilises. And it’s also emerged that one mortgage lender is offering customers the chance to redeem their mortgages at an 8% discount – while average lending rates have dropped below 7% again. Happy days…

The three supermarkets are all cutting their prices by a few pence, with Sainsbury’s leading the charge by offering a 5p reduction (albeit to customers who spend more than £50 in store). ‘We urge other retailers to follow our lead at a time when customers need as much help as possible,’ said Asda’s David Miles, happily occupying the moral high ground. OK, so it’s more of a marketing exercise than an indication of our economic salvation – and if they didn’t cut prices, they'd have motoring groups on their back faster than they can say ‘windfall tax’. But at least it means we can afford to drive to the shops again (perhaps this is why they’re doing it – what they lose on petrol they’ll make up for in extra footfall).

And it has been a tough year for motorists. With the oil price doubling in the last 12 months, petrol has been getting more expensive with every visit to the forecourts. And it’s not just the UK that’s been feeling the pain. In the US, Floridian David Partin traded the right to name his unborn son in exchange for $100 of petrol – so for the sake of a full tank, some poor child has to go through life with the ridiculous moniker of Dixon and Willoughby Partin, after the hosts of the local radio show that was running the competition (it could have been worse – apparently he drew the line at the addition of ‘With Radio’s Alan Spector’). ‘Hey, man, times are rough,’ said Partin. ‘I figure I'll be able to drive around for a couple of weeks on that gas.’ More than enough reason to inflict a lifetime of abuse on your unborn child…

Elsewhere, sub-prime lender Edeus is offering its customers to chance to redeem their mortgages early – without any penalty charges, and at an 8% discount. The lender stopped making new loans last year, but thanks to the credit crunch, it can’t find any financial buyers for the loans still on its books. So rather than sell them to the high street banks at a much bigger discount, it’s trying to raise cash by allowing customers to buy them out on the cheap. 'There are difficulties trading with the securitisation markets – so we’re trading with our customers,' says MD Alan Cleary. 'This is going to release capital in a cost efficient manner and help fund our successful expansion into lending services.' Edeus will still end up selling the loans at a loss, of course – but a slightly smaller loss. And its customers – 20% of whom have expressed an interest already – get to pay off their mortgage at a discount. Everyone’s a winner...

In today's bulletin:
Petrol and mortgages getting cheaper
Vodafone sheds £9bn amid market jitters
British films rule the world (sort of)  
Google overtakes Microsoft again  
Big guys bully the little guys

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