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Like children at a funfair with a few quid in their pockets, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling have dropped their latest coin (this one’s worth 100 billion pounds, or $146 billion) into the whack-a-mole game that is the UK financial market.
Banks must reveal the true scale of their bad assets to help revive frozen global credit markets, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Saturday as officials met bank chiefs to thrash out a new rescue package.
The banks have had £50 billion ($72.5 billion), the economy has had £22 billion in stimulus, and now Mr. Brown is asking for another £20 billion to be used to guarantee bank loans to business.
Britain's biggest retailer, Tesco, announced price cuts of 50 percent. Former household favorite Woolworths began a closing-down sale. Music retailer HMV reported a sizable first-half net loss.
Carphone Warehouse said Monday its co-founder has resigned as a director after disclosing that he had pledged millions of his shares in the company to secure personal loans.
Britain will suffer its sharpest economic contraction in almost two decades next year and the number of people out of work could rise to nearly 3 million by 2010, the Confederation of British Industry said on Monday.
British retail sales fell for a fifth straight month in October on a like-for-like basis and by the biggest amount in more than three years, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The Bank of England slashed its key interest rate by one-and-a-half percentage points -- the biggest cut since it became independent in 1997 -- to 3 percent Thursday as recession fears heightened and despite inflation hovering above 5 percent.
The rate at which banks lend dollar funds to each other fell on Tuesday, most notably for periods of a month or longer, pushing benchmark three-month borrowing costs to their lowest in five months.
The S&P 500 and FTSE 100 could plummet further if key resistance levels aren't held, Phil Roberts, technical analyst from Barclays Capital, told CNBC.
Shares of UK bank HBOS have been hit hard of late and are bouncing around Wednesday on speculation of a possible deal with Lloyds TSB.
If history is any guide, the FTSE may be in for a bull run as the index seems to have largely ignored the bad news over the past two months, market historian David Schwartz told "Squawk Box Europe."
For any government it would be hard to ensure the re-election of its party during a time when it's faced with a falling housing market, rising food and energy prices and mounting fears of unemployment.
Some quirky facts from the United Kingdom's central bank.
British house prices fell 4.8 percent year-on-year in August, a survey by property Web site Rightmove showed on Monday, the fastest fall since the series began six years ago.
Confidence in the UK real-estate sector showed tentative signs of recovery in July, but the lack of mortgage liquidity is likely to cause further price declines as banks continue to protect their balance sheets, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors said Tuesday.
Inflation in the UK rose 4.4 percent in July according to the latest consumer price index (CPI) data and the Bank of England's own inflation outlook released Wednesday is sure to paint a similar picture.
An emergency fundraising by HBOS, Britain's biggest home lender, flopped as investors took just 8.3 percent of the shares, leaving underwriters trying to sell almost 3.8 billion pounds ($7.57 billion) of stock.
The British economy is heading into recession and interest rates should fall to "well below" their current 5 percent, Bank of England policy-maker David Blanchflower was quoted as saying in a newspaper interview.
Barclays' shareholders took up just 19 percent of new shares in the British bank's recently announced fundraising, meaning the bulk of the money will be provided by mostly new "anchor" investors led by Qatar.