Chinese inflation slowed sharply in March on the back of falling food prices following the New Year holiday and as the People’s Bank of China drained money from the economy, says Financial Times. Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.1 per cent in March, below forecasts.
Accounting giant KPMG faces a possible inquiry over its audit of failed lender HBOS, reports The Telegraph. The paper says that KPMG gave HBOS a clean bill of health yet the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards found that it was carrying £47bn of losses when it was rescued by the government.
House sales were at their highest since 2010 in the first quarter, while like-for-like retail sales figures in March were the strongest since 2009, which raises hopes that the UK economy is emerging from the doldrums, says The Guardian. The paper said: “With the release of the next set of quarterly growth figures due later this month, the upbeat data from surveyors and retailers is likely to dampen speculation that Britain slipped into an unprecedented triple-dip recession during the first quarter of 2013.”
According to The Guardian, the new Secretary of the US Treasury Jack Lew has urged Europe to focus on growth on the back of fears that Portugal could be headed for another bailout. “Our economy’s strength remains sensitive to events beyond our shores and we have an immense stake in Europe’s health and stability,” Lew said. “The Unites States has no bigger, no more important economic relationship that it does with Europe.”
Mortgage fees jumped to a 25-year high, breaking through the £1,500 mark, “as banks sting homeowners despite enjoying cheap money through the Funding for Lending Scheme,” writes The Times.
Sir Richard Branson has claimed that the Heathrow take-off and landing slots received by Virgin Atlantic’s new domestic airline Little Red were just “crumbs off the table”, reports The Independent. Virgin was able to get its hands on the slots after British Airways had to hand them over as part of its deal to buy bmi.