Pressure grew on the European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday to cut interest rates after inflation slowed sharply in the euro-area. Meanwhile, Germany hit back at a jibe from the US Treasury that laid the blame for deflationary trends at Berlin's door. The euro area's annual inflation rate unexpectedly slowed to 0.7 per cent in October, well below the ECB's target of close to, but below, 2 per cent, the Financial Times explains.
Shell is planning to resume its ill-fated Arctic drilling campaign next summer, less than a year after one of its rigs ran aground in stormy weather. The Anglo-Dutch group has had little to show for its $5bn outlay other than condemnation from environmentalists, censure from US regulators and badly damaged equipment. However, Simon Henry, its finance director, said yesterday: "We would like to drill as soon as possible." The group expects to submit its formal exploration plan to the US federal authorities this month, The Times writes.
The founder of homewares retailer Dunelm, Bill Adderley, has been revealed as the biggest private investor in Marks & Spencer. New stock market filings show Mr Adderley has built a 3% stake in M&S, worth £244m at Thursday night's closing share price. It is understood that the Leicestershire-based tycoon started buying M&S shares
last year, but his investment was only disclosed on Thursday after Mr Adderley's stake crossed the 3% benchmark, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Germany has struck back at the US Treasury after it became the target of an unusual swipe in a report blaming the eurozone's biggest economy for giving a deflationary bias to the euro area and the world economy. Although the US Treasury has criticised German policy before, in its new semi-annual currency report it elevated the comments to a "key finding" alongside China's undervaluation of the renminbi and Japan's monetary stimulus, the Financial Times says.
George Osborne will move to deflate the London and South East property bubble by forcing foreign property owners to pay tax on the gains they make selling UK homes, according to reports. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is considering announcing in his Autumn Statement in December that capital gains tax will be imposed on non-resident property sellers for the first time, Sky News reported. UK residents must pay CGT - at 18% for basic rate taxpayers but more usually 28% - on proceeds from the sale of second homes. This does not currently apply to non-resident owners, The Times says.
Royal Bank of Scotland's new boss has pledged a raft of actions to boost its support for smaller businesses after an independent report out today claims the bank has failed to meet the expectations of its customers. Ross McEwan said he fully accepted the sometimes "uncomfortable" findings of City grandee, Sir Andrew Large, who was commissioned by the bank last July amid mounting criticism of RBS's performance for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), The Scotsman writes.