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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

Our roundup this week brings you the latest news from China and new survey results suggesting debt relief could be on the cards for Greece, while we also report a return to low-deposit mortgages for some major UK lenders and a cut in interest rate to affect thousands of NS&I savers.

 

China stocks slide further

China's stocks endured a further slip on Tuesday, with concerns mounting that its government's efforts to support its economy and equity market are unlikely to have the desired effect. The Shanghai Composite Index dipped by 3.5% to hit a two-and-a-half-week low of 3,005.17 at close.

Movement regarding the country's other main indexes included an easing of 4% for the CSI300 Index, losses of 5% for the Shenzen Composite and a fall of more than 5% for the ChiNext. New data released on Monday also revealed that, compared with July, mainland Chinese equity funds lost 44% of their value at the end of August.

Thursday will see the US Federal Reserve hold a meeting to decide whether or not to raise interest rates - and many economists believe the US central bank will be dissuaded from doing so due to the volatile global markets and continuing uncertainty regarding China. 

Greece debt relief 'very likely'

Greece could soon benefit from debt relief from its creditors, if the results of a new survey from Bloomberg are anything to go by. Polling 36 economists, the research - carried out during the first half of September - revealed 94% of respondents believe debt relief is now very likely. This suggests a very different outlook from July, when 71% of those involved in another Bloomberg poll claimed Greece could be out of the euro by the end of next year.

According to the latest survey, a write-down of the debt remains unlikely, but the country could be about to enjoy lower interest rates, extended grace and payment periods, and interest rate holidays.

The country's first bailout review is set to begin in October, and relief talks will likely take place following this. 

Low deposit mortgages return for major lenders

A number of the UK's biggest lenders have taken steps to return to selling low deposit mortgages. Both Santander and Nationwide have launched mortgage products at 95% loan-to-value, meaning a borrower would only require a small deposit of 5%, BBC News reports.

Based on the average house price, this means homebuyers would be required to pay a deposit in the region of £13,850 for a typical home. The move represents an important step because it shows lenders are now prepared to offer these types of mortgages themselves, whereas before they would typically have needed the support of the government's Help to Buy scheme. 

Interest rate cut for thousands of NS&I savers

A significant interest rate cut is on the horizon for thousands of National Savings & Investments (NS&I) customers. From mid-November, more than 400,000 savers will see the rate on their tax-free ISA account cut by 0.25 of a percentage point to 1.25%

The move comes after the Direct ISA achieved great popularity, meaning changes had to be made to satisfy government rules stating the lender must ensure it does not stifle competition in the rest of the market.

Jane Platt, Chief Executive of NS&I, explained that the lender had to "strike a balance between the needs of our savers, taxpayers and the stability of the broader financial services sector".