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What a difference a couple of weeks make. One of the best hedge fund trades of the year had been to go long on oil and short the banks and it paid off handsomely. Buying Nymex oil from 1 January until 11 July would have produced returns of 50 per cent and simply selling the [...]
Credit quality “declined rapidly” throughout Western Europe in the second quarter of this year as the credit crunch exacerbated inflation and slowing growth, according to a report published by ratings agency Moody’s today. The agency, which downgraded 41 debt issuers in the quarter, believes conditions are worsening thanks to rising inflation and slowing economic growth, [...]
The biggest monthly fall in retail sales on record has heightened fears that the UK will fall into a technical recession. British retail sales slumped in June by 3.9 per cent, the sharpest monthly fall since the series began in 1986, bringing the annual growth rate down to 2.2 per cent, according to the Office [...]
A surprise three-way split between Bank of England rate setters left economists guessing whether an interest rate rise was on the cards. The minutes of July’s Monetary Policy Committee rate contained the word inflation 54 times, which is higher than the average, according to Lehman Brothers, highlighting the MPC’s concerns about cost rises. Seven members [...]
Chancellor Alistair Darling must put an end to “ill-considered” tax measures and create greater tax certainty to enable British businesses to compete internationally and encourage investment from overseas, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI). A report published today puts forward a series of proposals that it thinks will help see Britain through the [...]
UK economic news over the last week has been bad. Consumer prices are now increasing at an annual rate of 3.8 per cent, almost double the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target. Inflation is now likely to reach almost 5 per cent by the autumn. At the same time, the labour market is being [...]
Worsening economic conditions are taking their toll on business confidence in the capital, according to the latest Business in Britain survey. The study, from Lloyds TSB Commercial, revealed that firms’ optimism for the coming six months is lower than ever, with London-based companies hit hardest. The Business Confidence Index for July showed that the balance [...]
Treasury officials are working on plans to reform Gordon Brown’s fiscal rules to allow for increased borrowing. The move comes as the government comes dangerously close to breaking its rules limiting public sector debt to 40 per cent of national income. Any changes are likely to be announced in the autumn pre-budget report, once the [...]
Expectations that the Bank of England would keep interest rates on hold were heightened yesterday as official data revealed the number of people claiming unemployment benefit had surged by the highest monthly amount for 16 years. The Office for National Statistics said unemployment rose by 15,500 last month, after an upwardly revised 14,300 increase in [...]
Inflation could reach 6 per cent by the end of the year if an anticipated 30 per cent hike in energy bills hits consumers later this year, according to BNP Paribas economist Alan Clarke. His prediction comes after the official consumer price index inflation rate jumped to a record 3.8 per cent in the year [...]
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