Friday Newspaper round up.

Britains’ gold-plated sovereign credit rating has suffered another blow after Standard & Poors became the third major agency to downgrade the outlook to ‘negative’. The change means there is a ‘one-in-three chance that we could lower the ratings in the next two years’, S&P said. Moody’s and Fitch already have the UK on ‘negative outlook’ and plan to review the AAA status next year. S&P, which has cut the US and France to AA+, said its decision reflected the weak recovery in Britain and sharply rising national debt. Many economists now believe the UK will lose its cherished top-notch rating, with one of the three agencies expected to move in 2013. [The Telegraph]

The EU needs fresh powers to wind up failing banks in a speedy push to the next phase of banking union, according to Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, after a landmark agreement on centralised supervision. The hard-won agreement among eurozone finance ministers on Thursday to appoint the ECB as the single supervisory mechanism (SSM) is just the first, and easiest, step in a banking union plan designed to prevent a repeat of the financial contagion that dragged down banks and sovereigns in the debt crisis. The next phase agreeing on a common resolution authority to oversee the orderly winding down of insolvent lenders is likely to be even more fraught, as it implies that taxpayers might have to pay for the mistakes of a bank in another country.[Financial Times]

Banks face another big hit to their reputation as UBS of Switzerland prepares to pay a fine of around 630m for rigging Libor more than twice the amount Barclays paid for attempting to manipulate the key interest rate. Details of the settlement with the Financial Services Authority and a number of US and Swiss regulators are expected to be released next week. The news will be a fresh embarrassment for the Swiss bank after Kweku Adoboli, a former employee, was jailed for fraudulent trading last month. [The Guardian]

Sir Philip Green is taking his first steps into Greater China with the opening of Topshops’ first store in Hong Kong. The move comes just days after he sold a 350 million stake in Topshop to Leonard Green & Partners, the American private equity group. Topshop, and its sister brand Topman, are the most exportable of the brands in Sir Philip’s Arcadia stable. The Hong Kong outpost will be run in a joint venture with LAB Concept, a new subsidiary of Lane Crawford, the Hong Kong department store. The shop is intended as a platform for expansion into the Chinese mainland. [The Times]

Oil & gas giant BG Group has asked a former Shell executive who was once accused of dangerous health and safety breaches in the North Sea to be its new boss. Chris Finlayson, who is a BG board member and joined from Shell in 2010, was one of the men who were accused by an insider of having been involved in a Touch F*** All policy when he was a director for the company’s UK division in the late 1990s. This supposedly involved top directors allowing managers to stop maintenance and safety inspections in the North Sea so as to prevent costly shutdowns. [The Independent]

Japanese large manufacturers are the most pessimistic they have been since March 2010, underlining the scale of the challenge facing Shinzo Abe, who is poised to become prime minister after Sunday’s election. The Bank of Japan’s quarterly Tankan report, released on Friday, showed that the key measure of business confidence among big manufacturers fell to minus 12 from minus 3 in September. It marked the fifth straight quarter that pessimists outnumbered optimists. [Financial Times]

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