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Winter warming and forward-thinking for the future- From  blankets, space heaters and air fryers to scalping and plummeting financial markets

(EyeFM/Philippe Princippe)

Since the pound’s value has plummeted and the cost of living rose, people’s purchases turned to the winter ahead, with purchases recorded being the usual winter essentials like hot water bottles and blankets, as well as the new popular purchases, like space heaters.


 Air fryers have been recorded as rising in purchases, especially as they can partially heat a room or keep a small one quite toasty for as little as one or two watts an hour.


 It seems like keeping warmer, despite the oil supply expense, is now solvable with tried and true methods, despite the cost of living being overwhelmingly broken and not working in its current state for people to live safely concerning their physical well-being, including the negative impacts and stresses caused to emotional, and mental health.


According to Sky News, debating at the time of this article (October 11, 2022), ‘Britons are buying up air fryers, air dryers and blankets in a bid to save money on energy this winter; the Bank of England is further bolstering its emergency bond-buying plan as it warns an ongoing rout in the gilts market poses a ‘material risk to UK financial stability.’


Sales of blankets, warm clothing, and energy-efficient appliances such as air dryers and air fryers are up as people brace for a winter squeeze.


The UK Government is stepping up a campaign to make people aware of the support available to deal with the cost of living pressures, including high energy bills - including a TV advert to help encourage people that support is out there.


According to analysis, the average two- and five-year fixed mortgage rates are continuing to climb above 6%. Still, the Bank of England's governor has ruled out extending its bond-buying support for pension funds beyond Friday's deadline, prompting a dramatic fall in the pound's value.


Ed Conway, Parliamentary financial advisor, and Jayne Secker, a newsreader for Sky News Live, discussed the recent financial report from September the eleventh of this year.


“We've just heard from the Bank of England just now, Jane, with rather extraordinary statements saying that they are planning a guilt market operation which is an intervention from the Bank of England. They say to try to restore orderly market conditions. Let me just read out part of the statement, literally just in the last few minutes, from the Bank of England.” 


“They say as the governor said in this statement on Monday, the bank is monitoring developments in financial markets very closely. In light of the significant repricing of UK and global financial assets, the repricing has become more significant in the past day, and it's particularly affecting long-dated UK government debt.”


“Now what, what they're talking about there is essentially part of the thing we've been talking about recently, the yields on government debt, which has spiked up to the highest rate that we've seen since the financial crisis. Then, the statement goes on to say about the dysfunction in this market, and wether it is going to continue to get worse, and there would be a material risk to UK financial stability.”


“So essentially saying that this could happen, Well, we're already seeing it, aren't we? You were just talking to Ian about this, the fact that mortgage lenders are pulling some of their products because of what's happening right now in line with its financial stability operations.”


 “ The bank has two roles here. They have a role of dealing with what's going on in the monetary side, that's, interest rates and financial stability as well. Looking, making sure the market can function. The bank stands ready to restore market functioning and reduce any risks from contagion to credit conditions for UK businesses and households.”


“This is the key bit. Sorry, I'm reading this out because we have literally just got it. To achieve this, the bank will carry out temporary purchases of long-dated UK government bonds from the 28th of September. So that's what they are planning to do. Obviously, that's from today; the purpose of these purchases Will be to restore orderly market conditions. The purchases will be carried out on whatever scale is necessary to affect this outcome on whatever scale is necessary to affect this outcome. The operation will be fully indemnified by HM (His Majesty’s) Treasury.”


“One of the things that, you know, many of you might have thought when you heard about the government kind of going in and buying government debt. Because it's not to fulfil a monetary objective, it's to try to calm those markets down and get them functioning properly.”


“This is the bank Intervening to try to get the markets working again. And in intervening on, you know, quite a novel basis, I don't recall seeing anything quite like this during the financial crisis. And it's specifically looking at the government bond market; the idea is that You know, they can see what's happening right now as we can.”


“They are worried about it and where we've got their statement on Monday. This is going further than the statement. This is actually intervening and obviously follows the IMFs announcement yesterday of their concern. So we've just had that, Just explained, sorry to interrupt there, but just explain to us what the bank will carry out Temporary purchases of long-dated government bonds.”


“In layman's terms, what does that mean? It means they are going to buy so, so long-dated government bonds that are basically its government debt. It's government debt that the government issues to try to finance itself. And the bank has two roles. It has a role of just making sure that interest rates are kind of working and getting out there into the economy. Still, it also has another role to make sure that all of the markets, and that includes these government bond markets, includes other markets as well.”


“-And what they do is they monitor that to make sure that there are no disturbances and to make sure that money is able to get out there to people who need it. And that's their verdict. On that latter part, the financial stability part that they need to step in. To make sure these markets are functioning.” 


“-And remember, those interest rates have gone up from kind of where they were around kind of 3%, 4% to, well, 3% or so, up to four and four and a half percent I think this morning on at least the 10-year government debt. Those are movements, which you know, as Ian said before, and I'm sure will reiterate, this is almost unprecedented.”


“It's certainly very unusual to see. Big movements in these markets. And that in turn affects all of the rest of us because if you've got that kind of yo-yoing around it means getting money to people who need it, whether through mortgages or other kinds of lending, becomes very difficult. And you see kind of what you're seeing at the moment, which is mortgage lenders just pulling back, saying, We're, are not quite sure what to do with our products, how to price them at the moment because the market looks so unstable.” 


“I'm sorry, I'm looking down at my kind of screen because literally this statement has just arrived. And the risk really is that you see what's happening now, and this I think is what's in the minds of the policy makers at the bank who have been monitoring this. You see what's going on in the interest rate on those long dated government debt.”


“It's not an interest rate hike, which is what some people might have been expecting from the bank. It is something else. It's something unusual. It is an intervention which, like I say, I can't remember anything quite like it. Cause it's not like quantitative easing, where they're printing money in order to buy government debt. They are getting money out there. Which I assume is not going to be monetarily financed, although going to have to, you know, have a deeper look at this.”


“They are getting money out there. To try to target parts of the government bond market that they feel aren't really functioning right now. So an extraordinary intervention from the Bank of England will bring you more on precisely how it works and what the implications could be as well, of course as the market reaction.”


“Actually, if you wait there, I will literally just look at my screen while I'm talking to you and just see what's happening to guilt markets. Well look. I'm just looking at the rates on UK government debt, which is, this is what we're talking about here. I'm looking at the 10 month the 10 year bond.”


“And the yield on that, as I say, which is what I'm talking about, is down from 4.5% straight away. It dropped down to about 4.2%. Again, a very big move. Indeed, it's come up to about 4.3, 4.37 at the moment. So we're seeing some big movements here, some big reaction, everyone out there in the market trying to understand what the bank is doing here.”


“It's clear though that they are intervening because they're very concerned, deeply concerned about what's happening in financial markets right now.”


Because of the pressure financially on the country, many have been checking out ways to save money on important ways to stay warm and eat heartily but healthily.


Some people have even made purchases or taken slow cookers and blankets from storage for the winter ahead.


But does that save money?


Cooking with an appliance, such as a slow cooker, as investigated by Daily Record, costs five pence per hour, which is only thirty pence for an hour of cooking for one point two killer watts, as opposed to an oven, which can cost up to sixty-eight pence an hour of cooking, whether you have electric, induction or gas ovens.


However, an Air fryer costs the same as a slow cooker and, in the long term, costs less than twenty pounds to buy, costing thirty pence per hour to run.


The cheapest air fryer at one particular retailer costs thirty-nine pounds, whether you get a larger sized seventeen-litre one or a smaller two-litre one, and runs for the average price per hour mentioned above.


Even your microwave is slightly better than your oven for tasks like melting butter, defrosting bread or meats, and melting things like chocolate. Making small meals like oat porridge or scrambling eggs using fifteen-second intervals is better than using a stove, as   

the average microwave costs one pound ninety-eight to run for fifteen minutes and about twenty-three pounds and eight pence to run for approximately an hour.


  Even certain heated blankets can be used anywhere around the home and can be bought for around fifteen pounds, with the most expensive being about sixty pounds for a full-body blanket, which runs for one penny per hour.


One retailer Is selling a cheaper option of another full-size version, a wearable blanket, ‘Snugsy’, which can also be folded into a pillow to save space. In contrast, the more expensive option, the ‘Dreamland’, is a heated and safety-switch-off version at sixty pounds.


It seems like most cooking appliances, and heated blankets will actually help people financially during the winter, except perhaps heaters.


The average space heater costs eighty-four pence to run an hour, which could efficiently heat your bedroom before you sleep if used sparingly.


The Price comparison website, Uswitch, details that a space heater can use up to three killer watt-hours of energy when on, though it doesn’t say for how long they tested the space heater from switch on to switch off.


Popular retailers have been charging roughly £59 for one brand of heater since the announcement a few weeks ago, detailing how harsh winters will affect oil and gas prices globally.  

One brand has capitalised on this, with up to four heaters in a bundle for sale, which begs the question… Is it helping the Recession’s demand, or is it unethical to capitalise on panic situations?


 We’ve seen it at the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic, with PPE, toilet roll, cleaning products, soap, and hand sanitising gel, with some scalpers selling these much-needed products at the time for thousands online.


Even the most in-demand gifts for the holidays are still in demand, as popular pay in instalments plans are undercut by scalpers online. The software can pretend to be a human buyer to purchase gifts, which the seller will then post online at an inflated price.


According to PC Mag UK, the pandemic and the Cost of living crisis have worsened the scalping, with people looking to buy their gifts for less. At the same time, sellers make inflated profits once the panic of not getting an essential item such as a heater, game console, or computer part sets in.


“Yes, the pandemic has had an exponential increase in people coming into online reselling,” said Alex Kabbara, VP of AIO Bot. His company publishes a popular “all in one” automated bot for three hundred and twenty-five dollars in the US (Two-hundred and ninety-four pounds and eight pence currently for the pound’s worth from October 12, 2022) which is capable of ordering items from numerous e-commerce sites almost instantly.


Kabbara estimates online reselling activity has tripled since the pandemic began in March. “The demographic of the reseller generally is male aged between 18 to 30, with many being even younger,” he told us in an email. “Most have retail or casual jobs so you can imagine how hard the community was hit by the pandemic.”


On Twitter, we also spoke with four other resellers, who declined to be named for fear of public backlash. All described increased reselling activity during the pandemic due to more people joining the underground trade and the range of products being targeted.

While it is incredibly important to prepare for the times ahead in a forward-thinking manner,

the way that important products are being bought and resold for cheaper to help sellers financially or extorted to the point that it ruins someone’s holiday plans this year is a difficult situation.


From one perspective, buying and reselling is not illegal and can even be considered eco-friendly in terms of upcycling and making sure someone has the gift they want or the essential item they need.


However, Scalping does increase market prices and fuel people’s stress and desperation to buy an item they need, and ironically, one of the bots—which is publicly available on GitHub—was created by a software developer upset over scalpers buying up the stock of graphics cards needed for building or upgrading computers.


It seems like Scalping has become a rather grey area of increasing personal finance for sellers who are doing nothing illegal in basic terms but are also increasing market prices for others who really need the essential items they may be selling.


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