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Marketwatch: Swiss surprise

The sudden change in the Swiss currency makes the extraordinary drops seen in the price of oil seem pretty tame by comparison

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The New Year is still in nappies and not even on to solid foods yet but already we have seen some tumultuous things. Take the Swiss. One minute they are relaxing with a nice schnapps on the slopes and the next they are yodelling in pain as all hell breaks loose. It just shows that anything can happen and probably will.

The sudden change in the Swiss currency, which had always been considered one of the most stable, makes the extraordinary drops we have seen in the price of oil seem pretty tame by comparison.

In fact, there is already a fair amount of contradictory talk around the economy and the market as a whole with some seeing the low oil price and low inflation as good for growth prospects while others point out that this could all spell trouble.

What with Europe in the news again a little too often for many people’s liking, no wonder many commentators seem to be shying away from concrete predictions.

All we have learned in recent years is that many economists seem to be pissing in the wind as much as the next person, so we only worry about what we can control.

We can control our own work ethic and the immediate market around us, and there is no reason to believe we will have anything other than a decent year.

In the markets, three-month Libor is steady at 0.562 per cent while swap rates have continued their inexorable fall down the proverbial cliff.

2-year money is down 0.1 at 0.83%

3-year money is down 0.15 at 0.97%

5-year money is down 0.21 at 1.23%

There have been some very interesting rate changes over the past week as more lenders try to set the pace for the year ahead. 

It was good to see Mansfield Building Society improving its discount and relaunching its mortgage for older borrowers up to age 80. The rate is 3.99 per cent discounted for three years and serves a market that still needs to be catered for properly.

Keeping with the smaller lenders, Hinckley & Rugby has a five-year fix at 90 per cent LTV, which is available at 3.99 per cent up to £275,000 with a fee of £999.

But the return of the big guns makes some great headlines as Santander comes storming back with two-year fixes from 1.59 per cent with a £1,495 fee and five-year fixes from 2.45 per cent with a £995 fee. Both are available from 60 per cent LTV while its 75 per cent LTV two-year fix is priced at 1.69 per cent.

Meanwhile, Skipton has produced its lowest-ever two-year fix, which at 50 per cent LTV is just 1.36 per cent with a £995 fee. Its 90 per cent LTV version has been cut by a whopping 0.69 per cent to stand at 3.09 per cent.

Virgin Money is also in on the act with a two-year fix at 1.69 per cent and a five-year at 2.55 per cent. These are available to 65 per cent LTV with fees of £1,495.

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