INSURANCE COST AGAINST US DEFAULT HITS RECORD
The cost of buying insurance against a default by the US rose to a record on Wednesday, in a sign of growing unease that gridlock in Washington over raising the federal debt ceiling may result in the Treasury failing to pay interest to bondholders. The market for buying and selling insurance on the creditworthiness of the US is thinly traded, denominated in euros and dominated by European and UK banks in London.
STEVE HILTON WANTS TO ABOLISH MATERNITY LEAVE
Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s enigmatic strategy director, has startled colleagues by proposing the abolition of maternity leave and all consumer rights legislation, as part of an initiative to inject life into Britain’s sluggish economy.
DIAGEO TO SETTLE ASIAN BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS
Diageo, the world’s largest spirits company, has agreed to pay $16m to resolve US allegations that it bribed government officials in India, Thailand and South Korea to boost sales and receive favourable tax treatment. The UK-based seller of brands including Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker scotch whisky and Guinness, reached the civil foreign bribery settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission without admitting or denying wrongdoing.
AREVA WARNS FUTURE UNCLEAR AFTER FUKUSHIMA
Areva, the world’s biggest maker of atomic reactors, has warned that it remains “extremely difficult” to assess the long-term impact on the industry of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster but said orders were only €1bn lower than before the event.
CHILL WINDS THREATEN THE ARAB SPRING, SAYS HAGUE
The democratic gains of the Arab Spring are at risk from sectarian strife, struggling economies and counter-revolutions, William Hague has warned. Fledgeling democracies produced by the wave of people power might prove too weak to deal with the deep-rooted problems that they faced, the foreign secretary said.
LONRHO FINDS EASY ANSWER FOR AFRICAN HOTELS
Lonrho has struck a deal with Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou to develop a chain of 50 or more budget hotels across Africa by 2016. It represents a back-to-its-roots move for the pan-African trading corporation that remains of Tiny Rowland’s empire. Hotels, including the Princess and Metropole chains, were one of its main businesses in its heyday.
The Daily Telegraph
£3,000 A YEAR TO KEEP GOLD-PLATED PUBLIC SECTOR PENSIONS
Public sector workers will have to pay up to £3,000 a year more into their pensions to keep their “gold-plated” retirement schemes, ministers are to announce. Figures leaked to The Daily Telegraph show for the first time the precise amount per month extra that nurses, doctors, teachers and civil servants can expect to pay from next April.
GREEK BAIL-OUT WAS A ONE-OFF, SAYS GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER
The German finance minister has warned that he will not bail out every troubled eurozone country in a move that rattled confidence in Europe's response to the debt crisis. In a strongly worded report to German parliamentarians, Wolfgang Schaeuble explained that the €159bn Greek bail-out was a one-off.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
IMF SEEKS TO LIMIT GREECE EXPOSURE
The IMF is likely to contribute a smaller share of official financing in the new Greek aid package than it did for the Portuguese and Irish rescue programs. The IMF has pledged to lend €78.5bn to Greece, Ireland and Portugal through 2014. That amount is many times the IMF shareholding of these three countries, a growing source of worry to fund officials.
MOODY'S DOWNGRADES NOKIA
Moody’s Investor Services yesterday downgraded Nokia’s debt rating two notches, heaping more pressure on the troubled mobile-phone maker as it struggles to realign its business strategy and regain traction in the lucrative smartphone business. Moody’s downgraded Nokia’s senior debt rating to Baa2, the second lowest investment-grade.