French GDP shrank by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter, the same rate of decline as the final three months of 2012, according to Insee, the national statistics office. Germany, by contrast, managed to swing back into growth, but only barely. First-quarter GDP grew by 0.1 per cent, up from a downwardly revised contraction of 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, according to a preliminary estimate by the Federal Statistics Office.
BP and Shell braced for market reaction to oil price rigging probe
BP and Shell were braced for the reaction of the markets on Wednesday after European regulators began an investigation into whether the companies may have manipulated the price of oil for more than a decade, reports the Telegraph.
RBS chief admits: I don’t know if scandals are over
The chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland conceded under tough questioning from the bank’s shareholders yesterday that he could not guarantee an end to the rash of “skeletons in the cupboard” which have plagued the taxpayer-funded bank over the last few years, reports The Independent.
US budget deficit shrinks far faster than expected
The Congressional Budget Office said the 2013 fiscal deficit would fall to roughly $642bn (£410.2bn), or 4 per cent of GDP, $200bn less than it estimated just three months ago, The New York Times reports.
Severn Trent rejects takeover approach
Severn Trent has rejected an approach from a consortium of Canadian and Kuwaiti investors, saying the £5.3bn proposal is too low, the Telegraph reports.
Isa investments suffer first annual fall
The amount of money tucked away in Individual Savings Accounts (Isas) fell for the first time last year as savers were deterred by rock-bottom interest rates, reports The Times.
In 2011/12 - the most recent year for which figures are available - they invested a total of £53.5bn. This was a decrease on the £53.7bn put in the previous year. The decline was driven by a fall in the amount of money invested in cash Isas.
Pensioner debts top £100bn
Retired Britons have mortgage and personal debts totalling an eye-watering £105.5bn, according to new research, according to The Times.
The study from MGM Advantage, the annuity provider, indicates that 13 per cent of retirees have mortgage debts worth an average of £47,458 each, while 34 per cent of retired people are managing loans, overdrafts and card debts averaging £6,952.