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New Zealand

Mortgage stress easing for some, but with further pain likely, Rudd's handout went straight to the bank for many.

Fujitsu Australia Limited

Sydney, January 27, 2009

Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand, a leading service provider of business, information technology and communications solutions today released its January 2009 Mortgage Stress-O-Meter monthly update.

In January 2009, households in Mortgage stress fell 6% from December with 635,000 households in some degree of pain, compared with a peak of 900,000 in August 2008. Significantly there was a 15% fall in those facing a potential sale or foreclosure, thanks to the significant drop in interest rates, and the government payments in December. Young Families and First Time Buyers experienced significant reductions in stress. 161,000 households still are at risk of having to sell up or loose their homes.

Martin North, Managing Director, Fujitsu Consulting said "the research highlighted that for many cost of living concerns have dissipated thanks to falling rates and fuel prices. However, there is growing concern about the potential for rising unemployment to drive stress up again." He further states, "Since July 2008, fear of unemployment has risen by 15%, the impact of poor investment returns by 12% and redundancy by 5%. In contrast 28% fewer households were being driven into stress by high interest rates and 11% fewer households were being impacted by high costs of living."

Stress levels remain high amongst more affluent home owners, where the impact of falling investment returns and employment uncertainty are significant.

Mr North said "we expect unemployment to rise to 5% by July 2009, and to 7% by 2010. As a result, we are predicting that mortgage stress will begin to lift again with a rise to 929,000 households by July 2009, of which 302,000 will be in severe stress. This will more than offset any upside offered by the increased First Time Buyers grants or further rate cutes and we expect to see house prices drift lower over the coming months."

The impact of the cash payments which were made in December was the subject of specific research this month. The payments were targeted at specific groups of Australian families. Overall 23% of households used the money to buy necessities, 16% spent the money on luxuries, 18% repaid debt and 43% saved the payment as a hedge against future stress and unemployment. "Whist the payments made a significant different to some less well off families, it does not appear to have provided any sustained economic stimulation" Mr North said. "Many are concerned about what's going to happen over the next few months, so put the money straight into the bank". The next Stress-O-Meter release will be end February 2009.

Download the Mortgage Stress Report January 2009

About Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand

Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand is a leading service provider of business, information technology and communications solutions. As the third largest ICT Company in the Australian and New Zealand marketplace, we partner with our customers to consult, design, build, operate and support business solutions. From strategic consulting to application and infrastructure solutions and services, Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand have earned a reputation as the single supplier of choice for leading Corporate News and government organisations. Fujitsu Australia Limited and Fujitsu New Zealand Limited are wholly owned subsidiaries of Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702).
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About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 170,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.4 trillion yen (US$47 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013.
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Tracy Weller-McCormack

Phone: Phone: +61 2 9113 9225
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Company:Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand
Marketing Manager

Date: 27 January, 2009
City: Sydney
Company: Fujitsu Australia Limited