It seems the winter chill in the UK has sent Britons overseas in search of Spanish property. According to the latest figures, more and more people are turning their backs on a traditional Christmas in Blighty in favour of sunnier climes.  Travel Cash claims that 24 per cent of people spending the Yuletide abroad are choosing a holiday or...

TOO harsh or too soft? Standard Chartered and HSBC both agreed to settlements with American regulators over money-laundering allegations this week. On December 10th Standard Chartered agreed to pay a fine of $327m, on top of an earlier $340m penalty; a day later HSBC stumped up $1.9 billion. The penalties are record-breaking by historical

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THE stockmarket is bewildering. So it is hardly surprising that investors turn to professional fund managers for help. But when they do, they face a paradox. Since the market is dominated by professional managers, the average fund manager will earn the index return, minus costs. Since the index does not reflect the impact of costs, investors are

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THERE is still time for free-market types to enjoy the journey in India that will make them feel the smuggest—that from Delhi to Chennai, the southern city of 9m people once called Madras. You leave a gleaming airport terminal in the capital, built and run by a private firm and opened in 2009. You land at an airport run by the government and are t

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THESE are nervy times for price-fixers. Banks that allegedly manipulated LIBOR, an interbank interest rate, are awaiting their punishment. At $800 trillion, the market is the largest ever to have been rigged. Fines to follow that imposed on Barclays in the summer are expected soon for other rate-fixing banks; this week saw the first arrests

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TAXING finance is easier for European politicians than taking responsibility for it. This week saw fraught all-night talks among EU finance ministers on a common euro-zone bank supervisor—and overwhelming support in the European Parliament for plans by 11 EU states to pioneer a harmonised financial-transactions tax (FTT), starting in 2014. The aim

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“PHEW,” says a senior bank regulator, leaning back in his chair, when asked how he would cope with the collapse of a big global bank. “It’s a daunting task.” On December 10th the Bank of England (BoE) and America’s Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) took a step towards making it a little less daunting when they outlined plans to work toge

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THANKS to apartheid, broken job markets and monopolistic mining, South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world. The top 10% of households pocketed 58% of the income in 2008, according to researchers at the University of Cape Town. The country’s Gini coefficient, which measures inequality on a scale of 0 to 1, was 0.7.

But South

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LOW inflation and full employment have been statutory goals of the Federal Reserve since 1977, but its officials have always felt more comfortable with the first than the second. The stubbornly weak economy has prompted some to question their neglect of the second mandate. “The Fed’s dual mandate…has the force of law behind it,” said Charlie Evans,

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