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Midweek NewsBack

The Financial Times

Oil price optimism grows as Brent climbs to 2016 high

The heads of the world’s largest oil trading houses sought to draw a line under nearly two years of falling prices on Tuesday as Brent crude rose to its highest level so far in 2016. Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, climbed by nearly 4 per cent to hit a four-month high of almost $45 a barrel on Tuesday amid mounting expectation of a deal to freeze production at this weekend’s Opec summit in Doha. Prices fell back in Asian morning trading on Wednesday with Brent crude down 0.8 per cent at $44.35 a barrel by mid-morning. It is still up 12.2 per cent in the month to date.

Consumer credit companies shrink after FCA crackdown

More than 1,400 consumer credit companies have left the industry in response to tougher rules imposed by the UK’s financial watchdog. Thousands of businesses, including credit card providers, debt management companies and payday lenders, had to apply to the Financial Conduct Authority to continue to operate after it began regulating the sector in April 2014.

 

The Times

Chinese driverless cars tests begin, aim to beat Google car

Two driverless cars produced by a Chinese automobile company today began a 2,000-kilometre test drive in a bid to steal a march over US giant Google, which hopes to release its self-driving cars to the public by 2020.

Li Yusheng, engineer-in-chief of Chang’an Automobile Engineering & Research Institute, said the drive will help test their functions in diverse conditions. “The vehicles have performed well in uncomplicated road conditions, such as urban driveways and highways, but they still need the help of a driver to navigate them in places like gas stations and toll booths,” said Li.

Councils cash in by doubling revenue from parking fees

Councils have almost doubled the money that they collect from householders to let them park outside their home. A study by the RAC found that in some areas takings from residents’ parking fees had soared by 90 per cent over the past five years. At least six in ten councils have some form of residential parking scheme, with an average of £59.17 levied on householders. Motorists in one area are charged £750 a year. Many authorities also impose extra charges, including higher fees to park gas-guzzling cars, register more than one vehicle and to replace lost permits.

 

The Daily Telegraph

Inflation rise: the ’13 months’ when savings made money is over

Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) figures show that price inflation was up to 0.5pc in March, a larger than expected rise and the fastest increase in prices since 2014. As a result, any savings account which pays a rate of less than 0.5pc is effectively costing money to save into, as its value is being eroded. There are over 100 savings accounts currently available that pay a rate of 0.5pc or less according to Moneyfacts, including major high street names, building societies and challenger banks.

Posted by Lois Hardy on 13/04/2016