Sunday, December 5, 2010


This week's article from the describes Germany as being the “lynchpin of the euro’s viability”, it also reports a suggestion that Mrs Merkel has suggested that Germany should leave the euro.
Please read the article and answer the following questions. Discuss the answers with your teacher or colleagues.

  1. What does the word wrangling mean?
  1. Arguing
  2. Fighting
  3. catching wild cows in America
  4. a type of clothing

  1. Mrs Merkel wanted certain countries to lose their voting rights in EU councils, which countries was she referring to? What argument did she use to support this idea?
  2. Which is the next country to need rescue according to the article?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Surge in Christmas shopping

This week’s article is discussing the current surge in shopping because of the nearness of Christmas. Read the article and answer the following questions, have a discussion with your teacher in class about this topic.

1.Does Christmas have this effect in your country?
Write a short email to a friend in the UK telling them about Christmas shopping in your country.  Add it as a comment or mail it to me.
2. Where are people getting the extra money for all this shopping from?
3. What does the word lacklustre mean? Explain it as a comment in this blog.
4. What will happen to shop sales in the New Year according to the article?
5. Why does Samuel Tombs think people are shopping so much now?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Herd mentality

This weeks word of the week is herd mentality. In our article the author puts forward the idea that investors following each other when investing has cost them hundreds of pounds in lost profits.
Read the Telegraph article and then discuss the following points in class or with a colleague in English.

  1. The article states that following the herd means investors often buy at the top of the market and sell at the bottom. Explain to a non financial person why this causes them a problem.
  2. Why do you think the herd mentality exists?
  3. In the article Colin Maclean is recommending buying shares in companies with overseas exposure. Why is this?
  4. Read the paragraph which starts "Robert Burdett of..." and decide what type of investment Robert is recommending. Write a short paragraph to explain his recommendation.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Flagging Means Declining in strength; weakening:

Our article this week is features Wolfgang Schaeuble's attack on America's quantitative easing policy.Read the article and:-

Why is Herr Schaeuble so against this policy? Do you agree with him? What should the USA do to stimulate its ecomony?

Write an email to Herr Schaeuble saying why you agree with him or not, post it to this blog or get your teacher to correct it for you.

Write an email to the US finance minister explain what you think they should do in the current economic situation,post it to this blog or get your teacher to correct it for you.

Have a good week

Sunday, October 24, 2010


This week's article concerns short-termism in the field of takeovers and the city.This story from Yahoo follows up the takeover panel's proposals earlier in the week.
Questions following on from the text.

  1. Why is short-termism a problem in business?
  2. Why is it a particular problem when a business is taken over?
  3. Should all investors in a company have equal rights or should long term investors have more rights?
  4. Is it easy for a foreign company to take over a company in your country?
  5. What are the possible dangers of such a takeover?
Write your answers in the comment section or discuss this topic with your teacher in class.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

IMF - "Steering Committee" fails to find ...

Our word or phrase of the week for this week is "steering committee".I have taken our article from yahoo this morning where they are reporting on the IMF steering committee's attempts to deal with a possible future currency  war.
Read the article and then write a short report to summarize the meeting.

Do you agree with Dominique Strauss-Kahn's opinion about co-operation? Why Why not? Please write a short note to your teacher to explain your opinion.

Which countries are said in the article to agree with the United States and which to disagree?

Create a short table to show this.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stinginess is the word of the week

Our word of the week this week is stinginess as Chinese Billionaires were accused of this after not attending a charity banquet organised by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Read the article from the Guardian and answer the following questions.

  • What famous Dickens character was accused of being stingy?
  • Do you agree that the Chinese billionaires are stingy or are they being careful not to expose how much money the have to the world.
  • Is American Billionaires philanthropy only a "tax dodge."
  • Write a letter to a Billionaire asking him her for money for your favourite charity. Explain why it is a good cause.
  • How the money will be spent
  • What benefit the billionaire will have if they give the charity the money.
  • Give your letter to your teacher to check or post it to this blog as a comment.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Internation Currency war- Devaluations

This weeks blog post is about devaluation of international currencies. In an article in the Guardian the Brazilian Finance minister states that countries are keeping the value of their currencies artificially low to support their export industries.Read the article and then:-

Write a short report on the history of the value of your countries currency or that of another currency against the value of the dollar this year. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of devaluation of your countries currency to your company. As your teacher to mark your report or add it to this blog.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Irish banks BAILOUT

This week’s article is a very short one for a change and it is not from a newspaper, it is from yahoo. However, the language is still quite difficult it deals with rumors of the need for a bailout of the Irish banking system. Follow the link for an explanation of bailout.
We do not have a quiz this week instead we have two writing exercises for you to try.

Please read the article and the explanation then prepare firstly a very short note to your boss on the contents of this article. Write as if your company has money in the Irish banks.
Then write an email to your Irish bank manager asking him-
1) If his bank will need financial assistance for the IMF
2) If he expects any further large financial losses
3) Also ask how much money the bank holds in gold reserves.
Give your exercises to your teacher for marking or add then as comments to the blog so I can mark them.
Have a good week look out for a new posting next weekend.

Sunday, September 12, 2010



This week the British financial press and news reports have been full of new of a scandal over a blunder involving personal taxation. It appears that the Inland Revenue, the organization responsible for collecting taxes, has made a huge mistake when collecting income tax from millions of people. As you can imagine this has caused huge worries to ordinary people as the government is not informing everyone who is affected immediately but will be sending out letters over a period of a few months so the tension is rising.
Many organizations have been devising template letters for people to send to the Inland Revenue when they are asked to pay back money.
The positive side of this is that quite a lot of people will be getting refunds for over paid money.
Your tasks for this week-
Please read the article and then do the quiz which will follow in the next posting.
Then I would like you to do two pieces of writing and ask your teacher to mark them for you. Or send them to me as comments on this blog and I will mark them for you.
Writing task one.
You have received a letter from the tax authorities saying that they made a blunder and you owe them money. Pick one of the templates which you can find by following this link and use it to write a letter to the tax man.

Writing task two
You have received a refund of £500.00 write an email to your best friend telling them how you will spend the money.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

This week's quiz on the USA Housing market

Mortgage modification and negative equity

This week I have two new financial expressions for you “negative equity” and “a mortgage moderation.” Check out their meaning on my squidoo lens.

These expressions come from a long Guardian article on the US housing market. The article reveals some shocking statistics about the property market in the US and also a very interesting and unusual way which the government is encouraging the lenders to use in the hope of solving this problem.

Is negative equity a big problem where you live? Discuss the “jamboree of delinquent borrowers” with your partner. Would people be interested in this type of help in your country or would they prefer to keep their financial problems private.
Read the article carefully and then try the quiz in the next post.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

British Lifestyle report-quiz

British Lifestyle report

Our word or phrase, of the week this week is disposable income. The article I have chosen explains what is happening on the British High Street and how consumers are choosing to spend their money at the moment.
Underwear, alcohol, pets and beauty treatments top the list, are these products important in your country too? Discuss how people in your country spend their disposable income.
Why is disposable income so important to economists? Discuss with your teacher and class.
Does the information in this article fit with your understanding of British Lifestyle ? Discuss with a colleague.
Have people in your class changed their holiday patterns because of the recession?
Write a short questionnaire, ask your class mates your questions and then prepare a report on this topic; do not mention names in the report, then give the report to your teacher for checking.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This week's Quiz

Structural problems of the US Economy

America's century is over, but it will fight on

This week’s Guardian article is a longer one than usual, it is about the structural problems in the American economy.

We have had quite a few of these negative articles in the press this week and I am not sure that so much negativity helps any economy.

What do you think? Discuss the following question with a fellow student or your tutor.

Does constant negativity in the press depress the people and the economy further?

There is a lot of good vocabulary in this article- check you know the meaning of the following words before you read the article and then answer the quiz which will be in the next post.


Looking forward to chatting again next week

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quiz for How the US economy is being 'Japanised'.

Financial word of the week: How the US economy is being 'Japanised'.-economic sclerosis

Financial word of the week: How the US economy is being 'Japanised'.-economic sclerosis

How the US economy is being 'Japanised'.-economic sclerosis

The article I have chosen for this week is critical of the Federal Reserve’s methods of stimulating the US economy. One of the problems highlighted by the author Chris Payne is that if they continue in this way the economy will become more ‘Japanised’ and it seems to him that "economic sclerosis" is becoming seen as a positive rather than a negative outcome.
Read the article and take the quiz in the next post.
Further activities
Discuss the article with a partner, do you think that the dangers Chris Payne mentions are real? What should the Federal Reserve do to stimulate the American Economy?
Research the 1930’s depression, Keynesian economic theory or the lost Japanese decade and give a short 5-10 minute talk to your class or teacher.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pound vs dollar - The key for cable

Your article this week is from Reuters news service and is a highly technical article on Foreign exchange pound versus dollar. In the article Elsa Lignos, a currency strategist, discusses the key to cable which she says is the dollar side of the exchange at the moment.
What is the value of the pound against the dollar at this moment? Check this link and find out. You can also find the value of many other currencies against the British pound. What is the value of your currency against the pound? Check to find out.
The article states that additional large changes in the value of the dollar are unlikely. Which paragraph tells you that?
The article goes on to talk about the economic information which has supported the pound recently, what is that? Discuss with your partner or your teacher.

A quiz on some of the expressions in this article will follow this blog post. Bye till next week.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Quiz for quantative easing

Quantitative Easing

This week you have an economist from the other side of the pond to read about. Ben Bernanke who is the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve is talking about avoiding a further plunge into recession and it would seem that his views are not the same as those of the European politicians.He is much more in favour of quantitative easing
Read the Guardian article and then you have more quiz questions to answer. Good Luck and have fun with economics.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Commercial Property Market (CPM) Quiz

Commercial Property Market (CPM)

This week’s article is about the commercial property market in the UK. Commercial property is a very important measure of the state of an economy.
Read the article from the Guardian and then try the quiz which follows this posting.
There is a writing question at the end that you can ask your teacher to mark or send to for a response.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A short quiz from last week

Absolute Return funds

‘Absolute Return’ funds
Mark King’s article in this week’s Guardian warns about absolute return funds, what is your opinion?.
Read the article and work through the exercises below discuss your answers with your teacher.

1 .Which one of the comments below correctly relates to this quote? “Investors should be … disappointed…”

o The market is too low
o This is a perfect time for these products
o The fund managers have been caught stealing money

2 .Which one of the comments below correctly relates to this quote? “The fund is for … long term investors …
o People should get out now, not in one month
o These funds will win over time.
o You have to be sophisticated to make money in this way

3. Match these expressions from the text with their explanations.

1. Tick along nicely
2. Stellar returns
3. Whopping
4. chickens come home to roost
5. the jury is still … out

a Very large
b Make moderately good progress
c Very high returns
d The decision has not been made yet.
e earlier actions come back to cause trouble for a person

4. Write an email to your stock broker asking him the following questions.

- Does he have any experience with these funds?
- Would he recommend that you invested in them?
- Which type of investment would he recommend for the short term (less than a year)?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Word of the week

The talk of the financial press this last week has been around the idea that the fiscal measures announced around the world are threatening to take us into a double-dip recession. Is this opinion justified or is the market simply playing down the prospects for growth.
Read the Telegraph article and make up your own mind then answer the questions below.
Explain the meaning of the term double –dip recession in a short presentation try to use different words to those in the definition above. Why not start a simple blog with Blogger, put your definition on your blog and then send me a link to tell me about your blog.

Look at the following expressions from the text and the explanations below. Match the word to the explanation.
Words or expressions
1. a slew
2. losing steam
3. fevered
4. to give … wings
5. eye-watering
6. to rein in
7. claw your way out of
8. tighten your belts
9. prospects are darkening
10. morbid fascination
11. hard landing
12. hammered home
a Characterized by intense activity:
b slowing down
c shockingly strong or hard
d with an impact that may destroy all
e a large number or quantity:
f To help something progress well
g To struggle to escape from
h Something is strongly stressed
i To reduce expenses keep them low
j To slow something down or reduce its effect
k … is not looking good or positive
l. An unhealthy interest in s/th

Thursday, June 24, 2010


The word for this weekend is pension, I have been meaning to write about this for weeks but an article in today’s Guardian really caught my eye and I thought I would bring it to your attention.
The UK government is planning to increase the age when people in the UK can get their state pension. As you can imagine this has caused a lot of interest especially as the previous government had also increased this age quite substantially in the recent past.
Now the new coalition government is planning to speed up this process for both men and women in the UK following the recent changes in Greece and other European countries.
Please read the article and answer the following questions. Discuss the questions with your classmates and your teacher.

1. What is the State retirement age in your country?
2. Why does the article say the retirement age is being increased?
3. Do companies have workplace pensions in your country?
4. Research the terms consumer price index and retail price index on the internet and write a short note to explain the difference to yourself for future reference.
5. What age do you expect to retire? Do you want to retire later than the normal age or earlier?
6. Your boss has asked you to continue working after the state retirement age. Write him a formal letter explaining why you have decided to stay at work or leave at the normal age. Write 120-140 words do not include addresses.

Budget 2010: Tough but unfair-Guardian 24.06.10

Last week the press in the UK was full of budget speculation, so my word of the week for last week is budget. There has been much press attention to this topic since the details were officially released on Tuesday and pages of press comment have been written. Our article for this week is one of the shorter ones you will be pleased to know.
Many people have opinion on the budget and here is the Guardian opinion from today. Budget 2010: Tough but unfair.

If you want more information on the British Budget follow some of the links on this page from the Guardian.

This week's questions for this article.

1. Who did chancellor George Osborne say would be worst affected by the budget?
2. Do the researchers quoted in this article agree? Why/Why Not?
3. In the UK VAT will rise to 20% in January 2011. Compare this level of VAT with the equivalent tax in your country. Write a note to your teacher explaining the comparison. (40 words limit.)
4. Do you think VAT a fair tax to increase at a time of recession? Prepare a short presentation to present to your class on this topic. 1-2 minutes only.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dividend -Especially BP Dividend

• As BP shares plunge, the company may suspend its dividend

Quoted from -Dan Roberts: Why BP should maintain its dividend, for now
Not for the first time in recent weeks, BP has found itself in a no-win situation.
The question has come to a head over the issue of whether BP should meet its routine dividend obligation to shareholders. On the basis of current estimates of fines and clean-up costs, this wealthy company ought to have enough cash resources to pay its dues in the Gulf of Mexico and continue normal dividend payments. But if the politically acceptable level of penalty proves to be one that is unaffordable then, by definition, BP cannot afford to carry on the rest of its activities with any semblance of normality.

Follow the link and read the whole article then answer the questions below in your note book.

1. What are the contrary views regarding dividends which divide UK and US opinion?
2. How have UK companies used ‘rights-issues’ recently?
3. Explain the following words and expressions
o Dividends
o Rights-issues
o One-off reward
Come to a head
o Asset-stripping
o Punitive damages
4. Do you think BP should pay dividends or not? Write a short paragraph to explain your reasons.
5. What questions or comment would you like to make on this issue?
6. Click on post your comments at the bottom of this article and ask your questions or make your comments. You will have to register and log on to post your comments.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Credit Reference agencies

Credit rating agencies
Credit rating agencies, issue ratings for the debt of public and private corporations; this means that they are expected to know if a company or a financial product is a good risk for the investor. They should use this information in their ratings.
Writing in the Guardian this week Elena Moya discusses EU plans to create a watchdog to curb these agencies as they have been widely criticized following the recent credit crisis.
Read the article and answer the following questions in your note book.

1. Which credit rating agencies are named? Have you heard of them before?
2. Write an email to a colleague explaining your opinion of the article.
Start as follows – Hello Jonathan, Did you see the article in the Guardian…
Get your teacher to check your email.
3. Why is the EU scrutinizing Standard and Poor’s?
4. What is Mensa ? What do they mean by Mensa like?
5. Find a present continuous and a simple past usage of a verb that also means putting a ship into the water.
6. How will a watchdog protect the economy from a future credit crunch? Make notes in your notebook.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Euro zone

My word of the week for this week is Euro zone.
As the currency markets plunge and rise the Euro zone area is one of the main topics of financial conversation. Follow the link above and make some notes in your note book about the Euro zone and optimal currency areas.
Many economies in Europe have serious debt problems and all are seeking ways to deal with the crises. The new British government is making its first round of cuts to be followed by a budget very soon as governments all over Europe work to reduce deficits.

Use the link above to make notes of the way Euro zone countries are tackling debts. Are their methods similar or different? Using the search term Euro zone debt reduction search for more information on this topic. Prepare a short, one minute presentation on debt reduction in one of the countries you have researched.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Word of the week

Welcome to the blog Financial word of the week,

Here we are going to look at some of the new language of Financial English which those of you who are involved in finance or accounting must understand and use every day.

The symbol at the top of the page represents the economic cycle. This is my word of the week for the week ending 23rd May 2010.
Read the text from the link above and make notes in your note book.
When could you use this expression?
Where is your country in the Economic cycle?
How does the Economic Cycle affect your company?
Prepare a short elevator speech on this topic and post it as a comment to this article.
Have a good week, until next week.