NORTHERN ROCK TO OFFER 90 PER CENT MORTGAGES
Northern Rock is poised to launch a range of mortgages offering up to 90 per cent of a property’s value, marking the nationalised bank’s return to riskier lending three years after its collapse and government bail-out. The lossmaking lender could make the new high loan-to-value mortgages available as early as today, according to people familiar with the plans, as it seeks to boost revenue ahead of a return to private ownership.
INTEREST IN LONDON LAND SOARS
Competition for land in London is hitting pre-recession levels, as international investors prepare to inject more than £5bn into the city’s lucrative residential property market. The money, more than £1bn of which has been raised since the start of the year, will target high-end developments and could lead to the construction of about 10,000 homes in the capital.
STEEL MILLS FACE RECORD PRICES FOR IRON ORE
Steel mills are set to pay record prices for iron ore next quarter, as resurgent global demand butts up against limited supply. The cost of iron ore, used to make steel, is critical to the global economy as it filters into steel prices and, ultimately, into the cost of everyday goods. The sharp rise in costs – up from 23-25 per cent from the first quarter – will add to concerns about inflation as oil and food prices are also rising rapidly.
EXXON URGES US TO ALLOW DEEPWATER DRILLING
ExxonMobil, the largest US oil company, backed by industry groups, has urged regulators to allow deep water drilling to resume in the Gulf of Mexico, as the turmoil in north Africa raises the pressure on the US to develop its own sources of supply.
BREAKING UP WATER FIRMS “COULD SAVE MILLIONS”
Breaking up English water companies and allowing businesses and local authorities to choose their own supplier could slash bills by tens of millions of pounds a year, according to the Scottish water regulator. “The savings and efficiencies that have been achieved in Scotland and shared equally between investors and customers has meant a two per cent per annum benefit to customers,” Alan Sutherland, chief executive of the Water Industry Commission for Scotland, said.
INDIA CRAVES CHAMPAGNE LIFESTYLE, AT RIGHT PRICE
The lush hills of Nashik in India bear little resemblance to France’s Champagne. Yet here, the maker of Moët & Chandon plans to produce its next sparkling wine.
The Daily Telegraph
A1 GRAND PRIX RACE FIRM FACES FRAUD INQUIRY
The Serious Fraud Office has started looking into companies behind the A1 Grand Prix Series – the collapsed rival to Formula One – whose creditors still claim to be owed more than £400m. It is almost two years since the event ran out of money, cancelling a key race on Australia’s Gold Coast and calling in the administrators to its UK operating company.
MALE PENSIONERS COULD LOSE OUT IN EU SEX DISCRIMINATION RULING
Male pensioners could lose around £340 a year if the European court backs gender equality rules for insurance companies this week. Men could be left thousands of pounds worse off if the European Court of Human Justice rules companies can no longer use gender to calculate annuity rates and insurance premiums.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
GM HASTENS TUNEUP OF OPEL
General Motors is pushing to speed up a restructuring at its European Opel operation, long an unprofitable quagmire for the auto maker and the missing link in its budding turnaround. GM Chairman and Chief Executive Dan Akerson, impatient with the losses, is turning his attention to the Opel problem now that the company has returned to the public markets and is producing a solid profit in North America, people familiar with the matter said.
EURO AIMS FOR $1.40
A hawkish tone from European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet at the central bank's policy meeting this coming week could push the euro toward $1.40, analysts expect, but the impact of Middle East upheaval on currencies remains a wild card.