Douglas Fraser, Business and economy editor, Scotland

Douglas Fraser Business/economy editor, Scotland

Come here for my take on money matters from a Scottish perspective

RBS: Retreat and misdemeanours


Seven years of Fred Goodwin's plenty, followed by seven years of famine, or at least seven vast losses.

It has an Old Testament resonance to it, just as the Royal Bank of Scotland has been plagued by problems on a Biblical scale.

But unlike the story from the Book of Exodus, don't assume that the RBS famine years are over.

As the market has judged in the wake of its annual results publication (the share price down 4%) there's a lot more mess to be sorted out.

What's striking about Ross McEwan's approach is that the chief executive is upping the pace of taking that action, with an ever more radical approach to just how small he wants the Royal Bank to be.

Read full article RBS: Retreat and misdemeanours

The drill bill bites

Oil platform

Let's start with the good news for Britain's oil and gas industry. This won't take long.

Last year saw a record level of investment. At £14.8bn, that's something to celebrate, isn't it?

Read full article The drill bill bites

Selling Scotland the Rebrand

Businessman holding card with saltire
The N-56 reports argues for a new Scottish brand

It's a while since we had an economic strategy. And as we've got a new-ish first minister, a new strategy can't be far behind.

Indeed, it's being prepared for publication next month.

Read full article Selling Scotland the Rebrand

Key election numbers

There will be more economic statistics before the Westminster election. One of them might even tip inflation into negative territory.

And although that terrifies some economists, because that way lies a vicious spiral, most people for now are enjoying cheaper fuel, food and all those retail discounts.

Read full article Key election numbers

Centrica 'rebase' threat of early gasfield shutdowns

Centrica HQ

"Rebasing": it's one way of debasing the English language. And if you're one of 650,000 Centrica shareholders, it's what's happening to your dividend. That is: a 30% cut.

And that helps explain the 8% drop in share price.

Read full article Centrica 'rebase' threat of early gasfield shutdowns

Bright flare amid North Sea gloom

North Sea oil

Not dead yet: the North Sea still has the capacity to spring a pleasant surprise for the oil and gas industry.

And the news from Statoil this week is that there's still the confidence to invest, even with the price of Brent crude being close to half its recent value.

Read full article Bright flare amid North Sea gloom

Magazines misfire online


While newspapers face declining sales, at least they can point to the shift to some big readership numbers online.

The free and the international, such as the Daily Mail and the Guardian, may not be turning much of a profit from well over 100 million website visitors each month, but they're showing that the news business can be reinvented.

Read full article Magazines misfire online

Sturgeon: 'The deficit is hugely important'

Nicola Sturgeon at UCL
Ms Sturgeon has several speaking engagements in London ahead of the general election

Nicola Sturgeon seems to be doing much of her election campaigning in London.

She's a new leader, with a message about progressive priorities, and she has an attentive audience.

Read full article Sturgeon: 'The deficit is hugely important'

Tax, spend, borrow and squeeze

John Swinney on Budget Day 2015

It's Budget Day, and two government ledgers are being weighed.

In one, this is the point at which John Swinney sails his 2015-16 budget through Holyrood, with the fair wind of an SNP majority.

Read full article Tax, spend, borrow and squeeze

The world's biggest scrapyard

Brent Delta platform

The upside of the downturn in the oil industry is a gigantic business opportunity to break up all that equipment in the North Sea.

Shell is today setting out plans to break up its Brent field platforms, after nearly 40 years of being battered by the elements.

Read full article The world's biggest scrapyard

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About Douglas

Douglas joined BBC Scotland at the moment the financial crisis struck in 2008, reporting on the meltdown at RBS and the collapse of Dunfermline Building Society.

His beat also includes close attention to the offshore oil and renewable energy sectors, and he takes a mostly professional interest in whisky.

Working in Scottish journalism since 1989, he previously worked for The Herald and The Scotsman, among other newspapers.

He has covered politics from the Holyrood parliament, as well as education, the arts and the Highlands and Islands.

He is co-author of the Political Guide to Modern Scotland.

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