|Barclays plc under fraud inquiry threat over Arab bailout|
|Thursday, 09 August 2012 08:30|
News round up: Barclays, News Corp, ING, Standard Chartered, China, Single Currency.
News Corp has written down its newspaper businesses by $2.8bn and taken a $224m charge to cover the costs of investigations into scandals at its UK titles, as it announced full-year revenues that fell short of forecasts. The scale of the writedown surprised investors, and shares fell 3.5 per cent in after-hours trading. Rupert Murdoch’s media group plans to spin off its publishing assets from entertainment brands such as Fox, Sky and Star next year, The Financial Times reports.
The Dutch financials group ING is pressing ahead with a quick-fire sale of its $7 billion insurance businesses in Asia as it moves to repay state aid and with profits under pressure. ING is thought to be exploring several alternatives in its Asian disposal, including a whole sale to Canada’s Manulife or AIA, an Asian insurer run by former Prudential chief executive Mark Tucker.
Standard Chartered has sought advice about whether it can pursue a legal action against the US regulator that on Monday accused the British bank of being a rogue institution which had funded $250bn of Iranian sanctions breaches. The bank’s legal advisers believe “there is a case” for claiming reputational damage, according to two people close to the situation, although StanChart is conscious of the delicacy of taking an aggressive stance towards its regulators, reports The Financial Times.
China's annual consumer inflation fell to a 30-month low in July, suggesting that the central bank has scope to ease policy further after rate cuts in June and July to keep the economy on track to meet an official 2012 growth target of 7.5pc. The government is on track to ease policy to cushion the impact of global headwinds on the world's second-largest economy, but needs to tread cautiously to avoid reigniting property sector risks and fuelling renewed consumer price rises.
One of the founding fathers of the single currency and a former chief economist at the European Central Bank has warned that some nations may not be able to remain inside the euro. Otmar Issing, in a book published this week, said: "Everything speaks in favour of saving the euro area. How many countries will be part of it remains to be seen." Issing added that funds could not be channelled indefinitely to nations that did not reform their economies.
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