The UK government has raised £3.2bn from the sale of a 6 per cent stake in Lloyds Banking Group it confirmed on Tuesday in the first stage of the reprivatisation of the high street lender, reports the Financial Times.
The sale – the UK’s second-biggest share placing ever – is a milestone in Lloyds’ recovery, which has gathered pace in the past year as António Horta-Osório, chief executive, has steered the group back into profit.
Mario Draghi risks row with Germany over bank plan
Mario Draghi has put the European Central Bank on a collision course with Berlin after insisting that Europe needs a single authority to wind up failing banks — just two days after Germany said the idea was legally questionable, reports The Daily Telegraph.
The president of the ECB told a conference in Berlin that a single resolution mechanism was needed to restore the eurozone’s banking sector, boost business lending and prepare for future banking crises.
Spain switches cars for bikes
Spaniards bought more bicycles than new cars last year as the economic crisis, which has left at least a quarter of the workforce unemployed, strengthened its grip on the country, reports The Times.
The lure of a free means of transport led about 780,000 Spaniards to buy a bicycle last year, an increase of 4 per cent from the year before. Sales of cars fell by 31.4 per cent to 700,000.
UK inflation expected to fall to 2.7%
Economists are predicting that pressure on British households eased only slightly last month as inflation stuck above the government’s target for the 45th straight month, reports The Guardian.
The headline consumer price measure of inflation (CPI) is expected to ease to 2.7 per cent in August from 2.8 per cent in July, according to a Reuters poll of economists ahead of an official announcement on Tuesday morning. The cost of living measure has been above the 2 per cent target since December 2009.
German campaigns get desperate
Germany’s slow-burning election campaign has finally sprung into life with less than a week to go, as controversy and shifting voter sentiment force some parties to fight for their political existence, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The leaders of chancellor Angela Merkel’s current coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democratic Party, were left pleading for votes on Monday after a disastrous defeat in Bavarian regional elections the previous day.
US super-rich hit new wealth record five years after financial crisis
Five years after the financial crisis, America’s super-rich have recovered all their losses to see their wealth reach an all-time high, reports The Guardian.
According to Forbes magazine the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a record $2.02trn (£1.4trn), up from $1.7tn in 2012, a collective fortune slightly bigger than Russia’s economy. In another sign of fizziness at the top of the economy, the cost to enter the billionaires’ club has also gone up to levels not seen since the 2008 crash.