Brent crude contract underpinning
Slowing output from the North Sea may require IntercontinentalExchange to add oil grades from beyond the offshore European fields to underpin its flagship Brent crude contract. The comments from David Peniket, president of the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, echo growing industry concern that the global crude oil benchmark is backed by a declining source of supply. Brent trading generated $228m in revenue for ICE last year. While Brent futures volumes are climbing, the physical oil production from the North Sea that forms the basis of the market has fallen sharply in recent years. Critics contend Brent is “broken” as a marker for global oil prices.
Disney in Maker Studios deal
Walt Disney is nearing a deal to acquire Maker Studios in a deal worth $500m which could rise to as much as $900m if certain financial conditions are met, according to people familiar with the situation.
UK German bond yield gap widens
Differences in government borrowing costs between the UK and Germany have reached levels not seen since the late 1990s, highlighting market judgement on diverging growth and inflation prospects for the two countries. The difference, or “spread,” between yields on 10-year UK gilts over equivalent German Bunds this week reached its highest since 1998.
Million more people to pay 40p tax
More than a million extra middle-income workers will have been dragged into the 40p tax bracket by next year because of George Osborne’s plans to boost income for the low-paid. A further rise from £10,000 to £10,500, due to be announced in next week’s Budget, risks a backlash from Tory MPs.
Chinese group heads for Docklands
A Chinese investor group that splashed out £600m on a large site in South London in January has spent nearly the same amount on property in the Docklands area. Greenland, owned by the Chinese state, will confirm today that it has purchased the Hertsmere site in Canary Wharf.
The Daily Telegraph
Apple pressuring music labels to release songs solely via iTunes
Executives at the iPhone maker are reportedly pushing for an “exclusive window”, so that iTunes would be allowed to offer new releases before its rivals. The model echoes the way that television companies like BSkyB pay to be able to show major releases ahead of the competition.
Ryanair to sell through travel agents
Ryanair will start to sell its flights through travel agents next month, for the first time in a decade, as it looks to double the number of business passengers using the airline.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
AIS Capital sues gold-fix banks
A US investment management firm is suing the five banks that set the London benchmark gold price, alleging that they conspired to manipulate the price of gold for their own gain.
Poland proposes tax breaks for shale
Poland's government yesterday offered six-year tax breaks to the shale gas industry to speed up exploration work and reduce the country's reliance on Russian gas amid rising tensions in Ukraine. It has also been building pipelines connecting it with European Union neighbours.