The Government is to support calls for reforms of sovereign wealth funds, chancellor Alistair Darling indicated yesterday, marking a major departure from his previous laissez-faire attitude toward the state-controlled funds that have become aggressive buyers of UK companies, The Independent reports.
The Chancellor will tomorrow meet other finance ministers of the Group of Seven industrialised nations, with the US expected to table a proposal calling for greater transparency of the massive funds controlled by countries such as China and Qatar.
Mr Darling is expected to back the move, as are the ministers from Japan, Canada and Germany.
Until now Mr Darling has refused to join other governments, principally the US, in calls for regulation and transparency.
Yet speaking on the rising influence of SWFs yesterday, a Treasury spokeswoman said: "Investment activity requires commercially motivated investors, and appropriate regulatory and competition frameworks to ensure well-functioning markets and to prevent market dominance abuses."
THE PROPERTY BOOM of the past ten years has left the British housing market in danger of following the slump in American house prices, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday, according to The Times.
In a bleak warning, the IMF found that homes in Britain were overpriced by up to 40 per cent — far more than the overpricing in the US before the current property slump began there.
The finding will fuel fears over housing market prospects after growing evidence recently that prices have already begun to fall in some parts of Britain.
The warning came as it emerged yesterday that the Bank of England discussed whether to lower interest rates this month to shore up Britain’s growth
But there was substantial reluctance among the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee to rush into lowering borrowing costs, with only one of the nine-strong panel voting for a rate reduction.
RUPERT MURDOCH HAS laid out drastic plans to shake up the Wall Street Journal and launch an assault on the mainstream American newspaper industry, The Guardian reports.
Mr Murdoch, who is set to complete his turbulent $5bn (£2.5bn) takeover of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones later this year, last night said he wanted to move the newspaper beyond its financial roots and target mainstream competitors such as the New York Times.
"We have a lot of plans and a lot of ideas that need to be refined," he told a conference in San Francisco. "But I want to improve it in every way: in what it does now in finance to start with, but I also want to add more national and international news."
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