5 March 2015
Will vital public confidence in the Bank of England be shaken by the SFO's probe of whether its schemes to provide cheap finance to banks were scammed?
The Serious Fraud Office is investigating liquidity auctions held by the Bank of England during the financial crisis, the Bank says.
China, the world's second-largest economy, has set its growth target at about 7% for this year, the government said.
UK house prices fell 0.3% in February leaving the average house price at £192,372, according to the Halifax.
Brazil's central bank lifts interest rates to a six-year high of 12.75% in an attempt to restrain inflation.
3 March 2015
Antony Jenkins speaks out as Financial Conduct Authority finalises clampdown plans for traders.
The UK's biggest prawnbroker has said its annual profits were hit after the price of gold fell during the year. H&T, which has 191 outlets, said its pre-tax profit fell almost 18% to £5.5m in the 12 months to the end of December as the average gold price fell 15% to £768 per troy ounce. But H&T shares rose after it maintained its full-year dividend.
tweets: The Fast Food train is blasting it's way into Africa. This week on "Africa Business Report" we look at the trends.
Greece can't rely on the ECB to raise the limit on its issuing of short-term debt, Mr Draghi said. "The ECB is a rule-based institution. It is not a political institution," he said. This could limit one possible option for Athens to fund itself.
"In one sense you could say the ECB is the central bank of Greece," says Mr Draghi. "In fact you could say the ECB is the central bank for all countries in the eurozone," The purchase programme can't buy Greek bonds, he says. That's firstly because Greece is part of a debt restructuring programme. Secondly, the ECB can only buy investment grade bonds and Greece's bonds aren't rated that highly yet. Thirdly, the ECB can't buy more than a third of a sovereign's bonds.
The ECB increased emergency liquidity assistance for Greeks banks: "We have raised the ELA today by €500m," Mr Draghi said.
The euro briefly rose to $1.1115 during Mr Draghi's press conference before falling until it was 0.4% down on the day. The drop happened after Mr Draghi said there was a chance quantitative easing could continue beyond September 2016.
The ECB now sees GDP growth accelerating to 1.5% in 2015 from last year's 0.9% and ahead of its December forecast for 1.0%. It foresees GDP growth of 1.9% in 2016, higher than December's forecast, and of 2.1% in 2017.
In case you were looking for Mr Draghi's exact wording on bond buying, this is what he said: "We will on 9 March 2015 start purchasing euro-dominated public sector securities in the secondary market. We will also continue to purchase asset-backed securities and covered bonds which we started last year." Hope that's clear.
High structural unemployment and low growth in certain parts of the eurozone "is not grounds for complacency," Mr Draghi says. In a clear reference to Greece he adds "structural reforms need to be implemented swiftly... and credibly".
Mr Draghi says inflation is expected to be a bit lower this year as a result of lower oil prices, but inflation is expected to be somewhat higher in 2016, rising to around 1.8% in 2017.
There are risks to the eurozone, Mr Draghi says, but the lower oil price and the actions of the ECB mean those risks have been mitigated. He expects inflation to pick up in late 2015, he says.
Mr Draghi says domestic demand should be supported by the ECB's policy measures. Demand for European exports, for example, should increase as prices become more competitive, he adds. Mr Draghi also expects the lower oil price to be helpful over the next few months.
Mr Draghi said the ECB had "already seen a significant number of positive effects" from its monetary policy, including improved borrowing conditions for firms and households.
ECB president Mario Draghi tells assembled journalists that bond-buying will start on 9 March. The combined monthly purchases will amount to €60bn, he adds. The intention is to continue with monthly bond purchases until September 2016. But Mr Draghi leaves the door open to continuing the programme beyond this deadline, if necessary, to get inflation back up to the bank's target of 2%.
Eighties' pop smoothies Daryl Hall and John Oates are suing an upmarket breakfast cereal maker called Early Bird, which was had the temerity to call its granola (muesli on this side of the pond) Haulin' Oats. The duo's lawyers claim the name is "an obvious play upon [their] well-known Hall & Oates mark". Chew on that.
Who doesn't love an LTIP? That's a long-term incentive plan in biz speak - or "windfall" if you prefer. Shares vesting under such a plan have boosted IAG boss Willie Walsh's pay package to an impressive £6.4m for 2014 - 27% higher than the previous year. Still, shareholders may not complain too much considering the share price of the BA and Iberia owner has risen 27% over the past year too.
Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members may have spent more time deciding what biscuits to have at their regular policy meeting than the actual policy decision this month.
And now the European Central Bank has announced that it too is doing nothing to interest rates this month, leaving the main bank rate unchanged at 0.05%. We'll hear more on its bond-buying programme at the press conference at 1330 GMT.
Banks may be forced to compensate some customers after failing to meet standards on selling complex investment products, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said in a review of the sector. Structured products range from alternatives to cash deposits to complex investments linked to multiple financial assets or indices. Some firms assessed by the watchdog have been asked to determine if customers were harmed.
Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY Item Club, says the next rate rise could be almost a year away. "While the risks of an earlier rate rise have probably increased lately, we still think it most likely that the Bank will wait until February 2016, by which time inflation will be back above 1% and heading towards the 2% target."
That's it: six years of interest rates at 0.5%. The Bank of England, in the least surprising move of all time, has left rates unchanged - and neither has quantitative easing been altered.
The Irish government expects BA owner IAG to sweeten its €1.36bn offer for Aer Lingus to convince it to sell its 25% stake in the airline. Deputy prime minister Joan Burton said the transport minister anticipated "further offers forthcoming from IAG".
David Cameron's spokesman says the PM "entirely backs" the seven-day deadline to decide the fate of Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman's newly acquired North Sea assets. He added that the government was ready to act if assurances were not received.
TSB has revealed its chief executive Paul Pester (pictured) received a salary and bonuses totalling just shy of £1.9m last year. As a comparison, Barclays boss Anthony Jenkins was paid £2.3m last year. TSB listed in London last June - although its shares are 10% below the float price at 260.1p.
Staying on a car theme, UK new car sales rose 12% in February, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). February car sales totalled 76,958, taking sales in the first two months of 2015 to 8.3% overall. Sales rose by nearly 10% last year, their highest rise in a decade, the SMMT said in January.
Do you like Aston Martins? Of course you do. In which case you really ought to take a look at its new car, the Vulcan.
The health watchdog NICE - the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - is calling on plumbers and heating engineers, as well as family doctors to sound the alarm if people in England are living in homes that are too cold. The aim is to reduce the higher level of deaths in winter.
Greece's jobless rate rose to 26% in December from 25.9% a month earlier as the economy shrank slightly in the last quarter of 2014, statistics agency ELSTAT says. That's the lowest unemployment rate since September 2014 and now quite a bit below the record high set in September 2013, when unemployment hit 27.9%.
Watch out Asos... Zalando, Europe's biggest online-only fashion retailer, plans to hire 2,000 new staff as it aims for sales growth of 20% to 25% this year. It is considering setting up local distribution hubs in Britain as well as Italy, Spain and the Nordics to complement its existing warehouses in Germany. Frankfurt-listed Zalando is worth almost €6bn (£4.3bn); Asos is valued at £2.7bn.
The current figures may be slightly deceptive however. Halifax says prices rose by 2.6% in the three months to February, compared with the previous three months. Its housing economist, Martin Ellis, says a modest rise in activity reflects increases in real earnings and spending power, recent falls in mortgage rates and changes to stamp duty.
House price in February were 8.3% higher than the same month a year ago, according to the latest Halifax figures, falling back from 8.5% rise last month and a peak in July of 10.2%. Compared with January prices were 0.3% lower. The average house now costs £192,372, Halifax adds.
London's FTSE 100 Index is up 0.14% at 6,929 as traders wait for more details of the European Central Bank's bond-buying programme to be released later today. Aviva shares have jumped this morning after it raised the dividend by 30% on a strong set of annual results.
Carrefour - the world's second-largest retailer after Walmart - plans to spend about €2.5bn (£1.81bn) on revamping stores in 2015 - the final leg of a three-year turnaround plan. The French group could also go ahead with an IPO of its business in Brazil - the supermarket chain's second-largest market - if conditions remain favourable. Operating profits came in at €2.38bn for 2014.
After listing in November, the challenger bank is set to be admitted to the FTSE 250 later this month. Its shares are up 13% to 327.5p, valuing it at £1.4bn. Virgin Money, which sponsors the London marathon, said today that underlying pre-tax profits rose 127% to £121.2m for 2014.
Andrew Wilson, chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, also tells Today it will take time before we will see the impact of the ECB's bond-buying programme. He expects inflation to remain low for most of this year: "Almost certainly we will see negative rates of inflation this year; we're really talking about 2016 to see the impact of this policy."
Bupa wants to capture a slice of India's fast-growing health insurance market when rules on foreign investment are relaxed. Stuart Fletcher, chief executive, says it's "still quite a nascent market - there is tonnes of headroom for growth". The private healthcare group posted annual profits up 8% to £638m today.
Mr Wilson's comments came as the insurance giant Aviva reported a 6% rise in pre-tax operating profit of £2.17bn, compared with just over £2bn a year earlier. The insurer has has been going to through a strategic overhaul including the sale of its North American business last year. It also raised in annual dividend by 30%.
Aviva chief executive Mark Wilson says its annual results show the insurer is making "tangible progress". Aviva - sponsor of Dublin's rugby stadium - started "2015 in a position of strength", but he adds it would be "wrong to assume that our turnaround is nearing completion, as we have further to travel than the distance we have come".
Another good year for London Stock Exchange Group, with revenue up 32% to £1.28bn and adjusted pre-tax profits up 17% to £445.9m. However, on the pure pre-tax level profits slipped 5% to £284.3m. The company is worth £8.3bn and its shares have risen 18% in the past year.
The European Central Bank reveals more details of its bond-buying programme later today - but don't expect any surprises, Andrew Wilson, chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, tells Today. He says we've already seen "marked weakening" of the euro, so it will be interesting to see what impact ECB action will have.
The House of Lords has called for a tracking system for all drones and their users. A report by the EU Committee of the House of Lords described drones - or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, to give them their official title - as an "exciting new technology", but warned that their use poses risks to the general public and other airspace users.
China's 7% economic growth target for 2015 is about "sending a message" particularly to local governments, which look to Beijing for guidance in setting their own targets. But at the the same time the government is very concerned about the level of debt in the banking sector - something it is trying to address, Duncan Innes-Ker, China analyst with the Economist intelligence Unit, tells Today.
Big news from the pharma world overnight as US company AbbVie announced a deal to buy leukemia drugmaker Pharmacyclics for $21bn (£13.8bn). It appears to have won the prize from under the nose of Johnson & Johnson, which some reports say was close to a deal.
The Brazilian currency - the real - has hit a 10-year low after the central bank raised interest rates by half a point to a stonking 12.75% overnight. The BBC's Daniel Gallas in Sao Paulo tells Wake Up to Money that the country could tip into recession this year as the government embarks on an austerity drive, raising taxes and cutting spending.
It's been six whole years since the Bank of England cut the base rate to 0.5%. That's been good for borrowers, but not so great for savers - of which there are many more after all. Vivan Slattery, an independent financial adviser, tells Wake Up To Money many of her clients have stayed in cash but are now looking at alternatives given that rates do not seem set to increase sharply anytime soon - particularly as many mortgage holders are now on the standard variable rate.
China has announced that its target growth rate for 2015 is 7% - down from 7.5% for last year. The BBC's Ali Moore in Singapore says the new target is not a reflection of panic in Beijing but part of its drive to lower expectations and rebase the economy to focus more on domestic demand. "It's more about quality than quantity," she adds.
What impact has Lean In had on women?
Aston Martin's battle to reinvent itself
How countries are competing to attract foreign entrepreneurs
Is wind power coming of age?
When an ordinary car just isn't good enough
Carmakers face a challenge from Google and Apple
Why are petrol prices rising again?
University feeds 270,000 taking refuge from Boko Haram
Images of the models to look out for this year
Last Updated at 10:09 ET
|Market index||Current value||Trend||Variation||% variation|
|BBC Global 30||8007.90||Up||4.39||0.05%|
The big global business issues that affect consumers, investors and the environment
Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.