The top 10 finance search terms in 2019 on Yahoo Search

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
The pound has fluctuated significantly over the past year. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

2019 has been a turbulent year for the British economy, from Brexit drama and a general election to stagnating growth and iconic firms hitting the wall.

Some of that upheaval and uncertainty is reflected in the most-searched for finance terms by Yahoo Search users throughout the year.

Here are the 10 most commonly searched terms:

10. Gold price

Investors turn to perceived safe havens like gold when times are tough. There may be no yield, but the value of gold (GC=F) is less susceptible to market stress and interest rate decisions, providing a hedge against currency decline and inflation.

With the trade row between the US and China gripping market attention for much of the year, gold’s fortunes have waxed and waned with the latest twists in the tariff war.

9. Universal credit

Brexit may dominate the political agenda, but the UK government is also embarking on one of the biggest shakeups of Britain’s social security system in decades.

Universal credit is gradually replacing six other benefits, rolling them into one payment for unemployed and low-income households alike.

Some of the changes are complex and controversial and leave certain claimants worse-off, so high search traffic should come as no surprise.

8. Lloyds share price

Lloyds is Britian's top retail bank. Photo: Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

This reflects Lloyds’ (LLOY.L) status as one of Britain’s most-traded stocks.

The UK’s biggest retail bank and mortgage lender, its UK-focused operations mean it is often seen as a convenient proxy for investors betting on or against the health of the wider UK economy.

7. House prices

Property prices have continued to grow across much of Britain in recent years, but a slowdown has hit London and the south-east.

Current and aspiring home-owners are often keen to keep track of the latest trends, not least as Brexit turmoil has spooked many would-be sellers and buyers alike. Rightmove is predicting prices will rise 2% in 2020.

6. Minimum wage

The UK government increases the national minimum wage every year and rates vary for different age groups, meaning employees and employers both need to keep up to date with current entitlements.

The minimum wage has also attracted significant political attention this year. Chancellor Sajid Javid pledged in October to raise it to two-thirds of median UK pay, while Labour promised an immediate hike from its current £8.21 rate to £10 an hour.

5. Bitcoin

Bitcoin rallied after Facebook unveiled Libra. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

The announcement of Facebook’s Libra project sparked renewed attention on cryptocurrencies like bitcoin this year.

Rather than triggering competition fears from rivals, it boosted hopes that Facebook’s plans could lift the sector as a whole and prompted a rally in other cryptocurrencies.

But a regulatory backlash and several major companies’ decisions to quit the project, including Visa and PayPal, have sown fresh doubts over its future.

4. Thomas Cook collapse

The collapse of the world’s oldest travel firm earlier this year not only marked the end of an era, but also left more than a million people out of pocket.

The UK government had to oversee the biggest peacetime repatriation effort in history, flying home 150,000 stranded customers.

Staff told Yahoo Finance UK they feared for their homes, and many customers were still waiting for refunds for cancelled bookings from the authorities even after a 90-day deadline earlier this month.

3. London Stock Exchange

The latest share price movements and announcements from Britain’s major listed companies naturally drew significant search traffic from readers in the business world.

But the London Stock Exchange itself (LSE.L) also attracted significant attention after receiving and starkly rejecting a surprise £32bn takeover bid from Hong Kong in September.

2. Forex

The pound’s fortunes against the dollar (GBPUSD=X) and euro (GBPEUR=X) have dovetailed with the latest Brexit developments.

Investors have taken flight on the several occasions Britain has looked on course for a radical break with the EU, which would devastate trade ties.

First Theresa May and then Boris Johnson took Britain close to the cliff-edge as prime ministers ahead of two Brexit deadlines that were eventually missed in 2019.

1. Brexit

Prime Minister Boris Johnson drives a Union Jack-themed JCB in the election campaign. Photo: PA

The B-word has dominated political debate in Britain for much of 2019, from the TV studios to family living rooms.

While Brexit has bored some and frustrated others, it has clearly gripped the attention of large swathes of the country.

With countless political, economic and other consequences that could be felt for decades to come, Brexit was the most searched-for finance term in 2019.