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Rosneft acts to easer effect of rouble fall – Rosneft, the Russian state-controlled energy group, has sought to mitigate the effects of the plunge in the rouble on its results by changing the way 8it accounts for foreign currency swings. The company said yesterday it would now record the impact of such fluctuations when they materialised rather than calculating the temporary effect every quarter. Rosneft has yet to announce its fourth-quarter rsults and declined to say what impact the accounting change would have. But the move, backdated to October 1 last year, has benefited BP, which owns 19.75 per cent of the Russian company.
Oil industry in grip of ‘raging gale’, says BP chief – BP chief executive Bob Dudley warned yesterday that the oil sector faced its worst slump since 1986, with crude prices likely to stay at sharply lower levels for “several years” after plunging more than 50 per cent since last summer. His prognosis for the industry, which he described as being in the grip of “a raging gale””, came as the fall in crude sparked steep cuts to capital spending and jobs at BP and BG Group, two of Europe’s biggest energy groups. Cnooc, China’s third-largest producer, also announced spending cuts.
Road deaths mishandled – Families bereaved by road accidents are treated poorly by prosecutors compared with victims of rape or terrorist offences, inspectors say today. Decision-making by the Crown Prosecution Service and their handling of bereaved families is described as “poor”. One in ten charges laid is wrong, leading to collapsed prosecutions, the report finds. The comments come in a joint report by Michael Fuller, the chief inspector of the CPS, and Sir Thomas Winsor, the chief inspector of constabulary, who say that little has been achieved since a report in 2008.
Tech giants tussle over driverless taxi – A turf war is looming over driverless taxis after it emerged that Google and Uber are developing competing technologies. Uber is to challenge Google’s supremacy in driverless cars by setting up its own testing facility with Carnegie Mellon University, which houses the world’s largest robotics research organisation. Meanwhile, Google is reported to be developing a taxi-booking service to rival Uber’s. Uber is to focus its research on vehicle safety, autonomous driving and mapping.
New roads will have to pass beauty test – All new roads will be subjected to a “beauty test” under plans to prevent the countryside and inner-city areas being blighted by poorly designed routes. The Department for Transport wants to stop developers building roads that are “brutalising, ugly and dull”. Ministers believe that too many fail to consider the historic layout of villages, towns or cities and that little attempt is made to add attractive features. John Hayes, the roads minister, said many post-war inner-city ring roads showed little respect for the “existing built environment”.
Big lobby groups may step in to defend small businesses – Large companies that abuse their suppliers could be sued by business groups acting on behalf of their members, under government proposals designed to tackle the mistreatment of small firms. The business department said the organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses should have powers to challenge companies when their payment terms are “grossly unfair”, as suppliers can be afraid to speak out for fear of losing trade.
Car sales pick up speed – New vehicle sales in America got off to a roaring start in January, driven by demand for pick-up trucks and SUVs, in what is usually a quiet months for dealers. Ford said its sales had jumped by 15.3 per cent from a year earlier, while General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Group reported increases of 18 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively.
BP expects several years of low oil prices and investment cuts – The oil price slump is likely to last for several years and companies will need to adjust to this “new reality” by making enormous cuts to their capital spending. BP chief executive Bob Dudley waned yesterday, as he announced plans to chop $6bn (£4bn) off the group’s capital spending this year.
Car-hackers driving off with top motors – Increasing numbers of top-of-the-range vehicles are being stolen every day by thieves who simply drive off after bypassing security de vices by hacking on-board computers. Gangs using ‘keyless’ techniques are estimated to have stolen more than 6,000 vehicles in London alone last year – almost half of all cars and vans stolen.
Bill shock over car finances – Hundreds of customers who take out hire-purchase deals on cars have complained after finding themselves lumbered with unexpected bills. The Financial Ombudsman Service has received 1,271 complaints this year about hire purchase deals, most of which have involved car finance. With these kinds of deals a customer pays an upfront fee and then pays monthly instalment for the vehicle. They can make an extra payment at the end of buy the vehicle. This figure should be set out in your contract.
Price at Pumps Up – It was bad news for motorists yesterday as the price of oil rallied with analysts warning petrol at the pumps will follow. Brent Crude hit $56.34 a barrel from $48 last week. Shares also rose, especially in oil companies.