The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated that governments must act to curb the increasing power of banks in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The IMF has called for cooperation from governments to set out future financial regulatory reform agenda, whilst stressing that some of the “too-big-to-fail” institutions had been made even stronger by the financial crisis. The IMF went on to warn that the large government financed deficits run-up during the financial crisis could pose a risk of starting a second credit crunch.
Proposals from the IMF include imposing two new taxes on banks in order to raise funds to pay for potential future bailouts and to penalise excessive profit-making. UK Chancellor Alistair Darling was reported as having welcomed the proposal:
Recent reports show that the number of Britons buying a home for the first time fell to the lowest in almost two decades as tighter lending conditions curbed people’s ability to purchase property. Some 347,000 first-time buyers took out a home loan in the year through February, less than half the peak figure of 700,000 recorded in the period from 2004 to 2005. Reasons given largely include the bank’s policy of squeezing credit as they seek to rebuild their balance sheets To aid first-time buyers, the government last month scrapped a tax on house purchases for those spending less than £250,000 pounds ($384,000) which help a few buyers, However many don’t have the 25 percent deposit lenders that lenders now demand
Official data released on Wednesday showed that the number of people in the U.K. claiming jobless benefits has fallen further than anticipated in March. Overall unemployment rose above 2.5 million, reaching its highest level for more than 15 years. The data drew conflicting responses from the main parties ahead of the May 6 general elections. The Office for National Statistics said the number of people receiving jobseekers allowance fell 32,900 in March to 1.54 million, the fourth decline in five months.
Britain’s largest supermarket chain Tesco has announced plans to l create 16,000 jobs this year, after the company announced a 10 per cent rise in profits for 2009. Tesco pledged 9,000 new jobs for the UK as they confirmed pre-tax profits of £3.2 billion for the financial year to 27 February 2010. 2009
saw a record turnover of £56.9 billion for the retailer, which have now almost trebled in size over the past decade and currently employs 460,000 people in 14 countries. . The company’s non-food business generated £9 billion in UK revenues alone.
In a bid to expand their share in Europe’s growing market for the auto rental service, the American company Zipcar Inc. has announced that they are to acquire UK car-sharing peer Streetcar Ltd. The acquisition, valued around $50 million, will give Zipcar a larger presence in the U.K., where Streetcar is the biggest car-sharing company,
Zipcar began operating in London in 2006 and has 12,000 U.K. members who pay a fee to rent cars by the hour or day while Wimbledon based Streetcar, based in Wimbledon, has 50,000 members in the U.K. Its revenue last year was about $25 million.
Online fashion retailer ASOS have announced that they anticipate profits of around £20 million pounds ($32.09 million) after an increase of turnover of around one third to £223 million for the year to the end of March. A spokesman for the company announced “another excellent year” and that ASOS are approaching this year with considerably more confidence.”
Tui Travel announced that they have raised £500 million of fresh financing in anticipation of cash flow problems in the wake of travel disruption caused by the volcanic ash cloud. The holiday operator warned yesterday that it was losing up to six million pounds a day. A spokesman for the company said the new finance would be largely used to “exploit its strong pipeline of attractive acquisition opportunities”. Analysts said the finance would also allow Tui Travel to partially repay a £600 million pound loan that they took from Tui AG, the German travel group who are majority shareholders in Tui Travel.
Sterling rose to a two-month high against the euro and advanced against the dollar on Thursday after the minutes of the Bank of England’s policy meeting earlier this month showed a more positive outlook. The pound closed against the dollar on 1.5388 while the Euro stood at 1.1157
London’s FTSE 100 failed to keep intraday gains on Wednesday as a recovery rally among banks faded coupled with concerns about the potential impact of the disruption caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland on the recovering economy.
London’s benchmark index fell 62 points, to 5,665.33, turning round from modest opening gains as financial stocks joined resource companies at the bottom of the market.
US President Barack Obama has again attacked critics of his banking reforms. In a speech which warned that without change the financial crisis will be repeated, Obama pointed out that reckless practices and financial firms that acted like “bandits” should never be allowed to operate again.
Regulatory reform was in the financial sector’s interests, the president said adding that “bankers and lobbyists should not fight against it “.
President Obama made his speech to an audience of bankers and financial experts in New York
US stock prices dropped on Thursday after rising on Wednesday morning, boosted by earnings results from Apple that smashed analyst expectations, with Morgan Stanley and Boeing also posting higher than anticipated first-quarter figures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed on 11,134.29 while the Nasdaq Composite was up on 2,509.10.
Apple led the technology stocks in the Dow higher, rising 6.3 per cent as the company reported a 90 per cent increase in second-quarter profit and a 49 per cent increase in revenue after the session’s close on Tuesday, far surpassing analysts’ estimates. The consumer technology products group had been expected to record sales of around $12 billion; instead, it reported sales of $13.5 billion in the first quarter.
Software giants Microsoft announced a profits leap by 35% in the first three months of 2010, largely due to the continued success of their Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft’s net profits for the quarter of £2.6 billion ($4 billion) were also attributed to “strong growth” from its Bing search engine business and XBox Live. Sales hit a record $14.5 billion, up 6% on the same period in 2009.
Doing less well were Yahoo, whose share dropped by almost five percent as the search engine provider forecast lower-than-expected second-quarter sales citing losing market share.