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Business Comment

Hamish McRae: A permanently high oil price might not be a bad thing if it forces conservation

Oil is in blow-off territory and a reaction in the price is inevitable, probably quite soon. But that does not mean that we will return to cheap oil in our lifetimes.

Inside Business Comment

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: As if the credit crunch wasn't bad enough, the oil price is now piling on the agony

Thursday, 24 April 2008

No wonder the British Airways share price fell to a new four-year low yesterday. Less than two months ago, the finance director Keith Williams warned that his operating profits would be completely wiped out by an oil price of just under $120 a barrel, and that, if sustained, such a price would lead to fundamental change across the airline industry as a whole.

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Mistakes were made, but it is time to move on. Is this a credible defence from RBS?

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

So that's it then. The world has changed, we are where we are, no one individual is responsible, time to move on.

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: A banking bail-out that sticks in the craw even if economic salvation requires it

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

It may look like a bail-out, and to all intents and purposes actually be a bail-out, but please don't call it one. Rather, yesterday's "special liquidity scheme" is depicted by Bank of England and Treasury spiel as a temporary piece of support for the distressed banking system designed to improve liquidity and raise confidence at no risk to the taxpayer.

Sean O'Grady: How the Bank became a pawnbroker

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

At £50bn, and possibly much more, the scale and ambition of the Bank of England's intervention is unprecedented.

Stephen King: Food protectionism could provoke a crisis on a par with 1970s oil shocks

Monday, 21 April 2008

The biggest threat to the world economy isn't the sub-prime crisis. Nor is it the credit crunch or the US recession. It's food.

Margareta Pagano: Arrogance got Sir Fred into this mess. The herd instinct could get him out

Sunday, 20 April 2008

A stockbroker friend says he would have laughed at Sir Fred Goodwin if he had been at the board meeting when the Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive and his directors agreed to increase the final dividend to shareholders back in February. But for whatever reason, Sir Fred and his chairman, Sir Tom McKillop, decided to go ahead.

Economic View: With mortgages clogging up the system, a purgative from the Bank is just what the doctor ordered

Sunday, 20 April 2008

The woes of British banking come to a head this week with two seminal events. One will be the details of Royal Bank of Scotland's fundraising; the other the rescue operation of the mortgage market by the Bank of England and the Treasury. The former is extensively discussed in these pages, so let me just add one comment. What is fascinating is that the markets can cope with bad news but they hate a lack of frankness. So now that RBS has, so to speak, come clean, the shares can be sensibly valued and may be set to recover. Markets are more adult that many people think.

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Sir Fred's head may be part of the price that has to be paid for Royal Bank rights issue

Saturday, 19 April 2008

There have long been two views in the City on Sir Fred Goodwin, the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland. One paints him as an imperious egomaniac whose reckless hubris has placed his bank in such extreme financial danger that it needs to raise some £9bn to £12bn of new equity from shareholders, the largest such rights issue in UK corporate history.

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Royal Bank of Scotland seems reconciled to a rights issue, but can Sir Fred survive it?

Friday, 18 April 2008

Something is going on at Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and it seems ever more certain that it is a blockbuster rights issue that is burning the midnight oil. As reported by the banking team at Exane BNP Paribas, a number of high-profile investor meetings have been cancelled this week, including a couple that the chief executive, Sir Fred Goodwin, was due to host.

Hamish McRae: Next year will be the real problem year for UK plc – not this one

Thursday, 17 April 2008

The contrast could hardly be greater. On the one hand, there is the doom and gloom of the housing market and the prediction of 40,000 jobs in finance being lost. On the other, there is plenty of evidence that the economy right now is still growing at a decent rate. A huge amount of attention has been devoted to the former; not a lot to the latter. So let's first redress that imbalance and then try to reconcile these two opposing perceptions of what is happening.

More business comment:

Columnist Comments


Steve Richards: The clash between Gordon Brown and his MPs was never quite what it seemed

A man, who as Chancellor, agonised over how to do more for the poor


Adrian Hamilton: An ethical foreign policy is still within reach

No apologies for returning to the subject of human rights


Janet Street-Porter: St George: the patron saint of cashing in

April 23: a date hijacked by crafty entrepreneurs

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