Prudential is watching sales in Asia slip says the FT today, after the asurer said fourth quarter sal...
Overall, the figures from the company out today do not, however, make for bad reading.
"Group insurance and investment sales rose by 54 per cent to £21.5bn ($24.5bn). Sales rose 46 per cent to £2.8bn on an annual premium equivalent (APE) basis, the industry measure that includes new annual premiums plus a 10th of all single premiums," the FT says.
The company's UK sales grew thanks to a strong performance by intermediaries, as the company's own direct door-to-door sales dropped.
Just how this performance will be affected due to the FSA's proposed scrapping of existing polarisation rules remains to be seen.
In The Times it is accountants that get a grilling, as the spotlight remains focused on the fallout from the bankruptcy of US energy trading firm Enron.
Andersen, which audited the books for Enron, is facing massive legal pressure in the US, and it now says it will sack the partner responsible for the Enron account.
Andersen has already admitted to destroying documents relating to its work for Enron, an action that could yet see the regulatory regime for accounting firms undergo extreme changes.
The documents were destroyed after the US equities market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, asked Enron to provide information about its business.
Three other Andersen partners have been put on leave.
The Telegraph today highlights the fact figures now confirm inflation fell to its lowest level in 40 years in December.
"The last time the figure was lower was in March 1960 when cuts in alcohol duty led to deflation of 0.5pc," the paper says.
The underlying rate, excluding mortgage interest payments, rose slightly to 1.9% from 1.8%, but it is still way off the Bank of England's target of 2.5%.
And the low rate is likely to stay in place for some time to come.
"Analysts do not expect high street retailers to be able to sustain prices rises in the face of slowing consumer demand, suggesting there are few inflationary pressures in the pipeline. Core goods inflation remains sluggish and service charges could moderate this year as a result of reduced wage settlements," the Telegraph says.
Indeed, other issues might come to the fore, such as lack of retail demand, as early indicators for January retail sales show the number of visitors at shopping centres is falling.
The Scotsman follows up the issue by pointing out that Scottish consumers increased their retail spending by a greater rate than the UK average during the last quarter of 2001.
However, the pace of spending is likely to fall off, the paper says, quoting Jeremy Peat, chief economist at Royal Bank of Scotland.
"The pace of sales growth is likely to slow, however, as unemployment increases marginally and overall economic activity slows during the first half of 2002."
Also adding to the downward pressure on spending are increased debts, which debt advisory agencies say is causing an increase in the number of calls they must deal with.
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