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Summary

  1. Oil prices rebound after hitting five-and-a-half year low
  2. Indian wholesale inflation falls to zero in November

Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Matthew West

All times stated are UK

Matthew West

Business Reporter

Right that's it for today folks. Tomorrow we'll have the Bank of England stress tests. Also, executives from the Financial Conduct Authority can expect a grilling when they appear before the Treasury Select Committee. MPs will want to know more about that bungled press briefing earlier this year, which wiped billions off the value of insurance companies. So there should be plenty to chew on. We'll see on at 06:00.

Double-decker trains?

Passengers wait for trains in Waterloo Station
Getty Images

File this under "unlikely". The

London Evening Standard reports that Network Rail is considering introducing double-decker trains during busy periods between Southampton, Woking and London Waterloo as a solution to overcrowding on London's busiest rail services. Apparently other ideas being considered are building "flyovers" to allow trains to bypass busy stations, a new terminus in London - that's in Shoreditch - and greater use of narrow train seats.

Via Twitter

John Moylan

Industry correspondent, BBC News

"

Av UK price of litre of unleaded now 116.9p - just last week it crashed through 120p. Diesel now at 122.33p...figs from Experion Catalist"

TV market shake-up?

The BBC, ITV and Channel Four could be allowed to charge cable and satellite pay-TV companies for showing their channels,

Ofcom has said. That could lead to a major shake-up of funding in the sector. Ofcom said the freedom to charge so-called "retransmission fees" would help compensate public service broadcasters for their costly obligations, such as news provision. Ofcom has launched a consultation over the matter.

Market update

European markets have turned positive with energy stocks rising as oil bounced back from a five-and-a-half year low.

Brent crude is currently 1.3% higher at $62.68 a barrel.

  • The
    FTSE is currently trading up 0.44% at 6,328
  • Germany's
    Dax is higher by 0.37% at 9,629
  • France's
    Cac-40 is higher by 0.48% at 4,128

Via Blog

Robert Peston

Economics editor

Does a country's economic growth potential or its government's austerity policies encourage investors to buy its debt? According to

an Oxford economics professor and a Nobel-prize-winning economist - Simon Wren-Lewis and Paul Krugman - it's the former, rather than the latter. Both have given the BBC's economic editor a bit of a telling off for his "fey anthropomorphism of the financial markets as Mr Market" and his reporting that George Osborne's record as a deficit-cutting chancellor may be worth something in terms of the interest rate the government would pay to borrow after the election. Yikes!

Oil prices fall

Tioga, North Dakota, oil well
Getty Images

How many oil wells are there in the US that produce no more than two barrels of oil a day? Four hundred thousand. They are known in the industry as "Mom and Pop" wells or "stripper" wells. But they account for a surprising large amount of US production - 700,000 barrels or 11% of production in 2012,

reports the Financial Times. That matches the production of OPEC member Qatar.
The FT says that many such wells will be mothballed if oil prices remain low.

Fare dodger ban

Jonathan Burrows has released his own statement to the BBC following the FCA ban, which was announced a little while ago. In it he says he has "always recognised" that what he did was "foolish" and has "apologised to all concerned" and reiterates that apology publicly today. He adds the settlement he has made with Southeastern rail company was "in excess of the value of the fares" he dodged "on the small number of occasions that I failed to pay".

The chancellor writes

Chancellor George Osborne
Reuters

Chancellor George Osborne has written an opinion piece in

today's Wall Street Journal (behind a pay wall). He reiterates his desire to get debt falling as a percentage of GDP. He said that not doing so "would be a dereliction of duty to future generations". So far the coalition has reduced the deficit as a proportion of GDP and the Tories aim to run a budget surplus by the end of the next parliament. That's if they win another term.

Fare dodger ban

Remember Jonathan Burrows? He was branded the country's biggest fare dodger earlier this year when it emerged he had avoided tens of thousands of pounds of train fares on his commute into London. As a result, he resigned from his high-powered job at Blackrock Asset Management.
Now the Financial Conduct Authority has barred him for life from any regulated activities in the City. The FCA said he said such a senior person should have been "a role model for others".

Belgium strike

Belgian trade union members block traffic outside the EU institutions during a nationwide general strike in Brussels
AFP

A general strike in Belgium has brought air and rail traffic to a standstill, as well as closing schools. Around 600 flights have been cancelled, affecting 50,000 passengers. Unions are unhappy about the government's plans to cut public sector workers' salaries, extend working time and restrict social services.

Carpetright shares soar

Carpetright share graph
BBC

Shares in

Carpetright are up nearly 12% this morning after it returned to profit. Shares are currently up 36.75p to 350p. Earlier the firm reported profits of £6.7m for the six months to 25 October.

Rising coal use

Coal factory, Baicheng county, northwest China"s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Reuters

Global demand for coal will continue to rise over the next five years and will break 9 billion tonnes by 2019

according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). China is the world's biggest coal user and despite efforts to diversify its energy mix, its use of coal will not peak over the next four years says the IEA.

Inflation - it's personal

Some interesting research from the

Office for National Statistics (ONS) about how different income groups experience inflation. Inflation for those who spend the least has risen 3.7% since 2003. For those who spent the most it was 2.3%. That's because lower expenditure households are more exposed to the price of fuels, food and energy, the ONS said.
The BBC website has a handy inflation rate calculator if you want more info.

Sony fights back

Sony Pictures theatre, Los Angeles
Getty Images

Journalists have pounced on documents taken from Sony Pictures

during a recent cyber attack as they included all sorts of juicy details, including embarrassing emails that made disparaging remarks about Hollywood stars. But Sony Pictures has had enough. Its lawyers have written to several news groups telling them to stop using that stolen information. Good luck with that.

France to ban UberPop

Just a quick clarification. Earlier we reported that taxi app firm Uber was to be banned in France from the beginning of 2015. In fact, the ban only relates to UberPop. It's a car pooling service, different from its better known service for booking minicabs. The French government's concern is that users are not just unregulated but also that their motor insurance policy will not cover them for carrying passengers in the event of an accident.

Bank stress tests

BBC Radio 4

More from Paul Sharma. He says that broadly speaking there are two ways a bank can improve its position: one is to increase its level of capital, the other is it can reduce its exposure to risk. If too many banks reduce their risk appetite at the same time that could have a detrimental effect on the economy. That is something the PRA takes into consideration, he says.

Bank stress tests

BBC Radio 4

The Bank of England
PA

Tomorrow sees the publication of the results of the Bank of England's stress tests of eight banks, including the Co-op Bank.

The bank has already said it would come as "no surprise" if it failed the test. Paul Sharma, is a former deputy head of the UK's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and tells
Today that while there is a lot of talk in the City concerning the results of the stress tests "it's idle speculation." It's just not possible to anticipate the results of that work, he adds.

Basic bank accounts

BBC Radio 4

The banking industry wanted "to get ahead" of a new European directive on banking that would have required them to provide basic bank accounts in 2016 anyway, Eric Leenders, executive director of retail banking at the British Bankers Association (BBA), tells the

Today programme. It's worth noting the new bank accounts aren't available until September 2015 however.

Lunch break tycoon

A 17-year old student from Queens, New York is rumoured to have made $72m (£46m) trading shares in his lunch breaks. That's according to the MarketWatch website. Mohammed Islam would not say exactly how much he is worth, but described it as in the "high eight figures", according to MarketWatch. Mr Islam and two friends plan to start a hedge fund next summer and intend to make a billion dollars next year, the report says.

Via Twitter

Victoria Fritz

Business reporter, BBC News

"

Bricks are big business. The US private equity group Bain Capital snaps up a UK brick maker for £414m. Betting on a property market boom"

Market update

European markets are down ever so slightly this morning, with the continuing fall in oil prices and the Japanese election result seemingly the only main explanations for the falls.

Tullow Oil is leading gains on the FTSE 100 index so far. It's up nearly 1.5% to 372.50p.

  • The
    FTSE is down 0.05% at 6297
  • Germany's
    Dax is 0.09% lower at 9586
  • France's
    Cac-40 is 0.41% down at 4092.27

Indian inflation surprise

India market
Getty Images

A key measure of inflation in India slowed for the sixth month in a row in November. The wholesale price index was flat compared to a year earlier. That was not expected by economists and follows a 1.77% rise in October from a year earlier.

France to ban UberPop

Parisian taxi drivers demonstrating in their taxis in January
AFP

One of Uber's services is to be banned in France from the beginning of next year. The French interior ministry said it wanted to ban UberPop, Uber's car-sharing service. It comes on the same day French taxi unions called a one-day strike in their latest protest against the rise of Uber, promising to block roads around Paris with slow-moving traffic.

Via Twitter

David Buik

Market Commentator, Panmure Gordeon

"

Surely BT will go with O2 rather than EE to expand media dreams? We may know as early as today from CEO Gavin Paterson! The tab? Maybe £10bn"

Air traffic control failure

Heathrow, 12 December 2014
PA

A panel will investigate the failure of UK air traffic control systems on Friday that caused severe disruption.

The Civil Aviation Authority and Nats will appoint an independent chairman and a panel made up of Nats experts and independent experts.

Christmas deliveries

Radio 5 live

Delivery firms have been swamped by online orders this year. "We are in unprecedented times" and "systems are being stretched", says John Pal a retail expert from Manchester Business School. He says that many retailers, including M&S, Amazon and Shop Direct have subcontracted delivery work. But customers "don't care" about that, they just want their parcels on time, he says on

Radio 5 live.

Tesco asset sales?

BBC Radio 4

Signage is seen at a Tesco supermarket in central London
Reuters

Tesco is looking to sell some parts of its property portfolio, according to

a report in the Sunday Telegraph. David Cummings at Standard Life Investments, tells
Today there are a number of businesses it could sell including its banking business or even its clubcard business, he says. The retailer may also look at selling more shares on the stock market to raise cash, he adds.

Newspaper review

Business pages
BBC

What are the business pages saying this morning? OPEC's most important oil producers are willing to allow oil to fall as low as $40 a barrel

says the Daily Telegraph.
The Times says that energy companies in emerging markets might be in financial trouble because of the fall in oil prices. And
the Financial Times says that the Afghan war has cost the US taxpayer $1 trillion dollars.

Carpetright results

After at least two years's of losses, Carpetright appears to be recovering. Sales for the half-year to 25 October rose 2.6% and it reported a profit of £6.7m. Chief executive Wilf Walsh, highlighted a return to profit at its "rest of Europe" operations. In previous years losses at its Dutch unit had hurt results.

House prices

Houses Brighton
PA

Asking prices for homes on sale fell by 3.3% in December

according to Rightmove. That's the biggest monthly fall that Rightmove has recorded. However, the property website expects prices to rise between 4% and 5% next year. For 2014 asking prices rose 7%.

BT mobile phone deal

BBC Radio 4

David Cummings from Standard Life Investments, tells

Today it "doesn't really matter" whether BT buys EE or 02. Both are willing sellers so it should be able to get a good deal for shareholders, he says. If BT can get back into mobile they will "create a number one position in the UK for that," he says. Rivals such as Sky and Vodafone will have to respond, he adds.

Oil prices fall

BBC Radio 4

Anna Stupnytska, global economist at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, tells

Today, one of the consequences of the oil price fall is further downward pressure on prices, creating more deflation worries for the European Central Bank (ECB). For her that means the ECB will finally starting buying government bonds. "Inflation expectations are falling and that's not something the ECB will be comfortable with," she says.

Oil prices fall

BBC Radio 4

Louisiana, Gulf of Mexico, Silhouette of oil rig at sunset.
Science Photo Library

Marie Diron, senior vice president at Moody's tells the

Today programme the big fall in prices since the summer won't yet be a concern for most OPEC countries, which is why they are still refusing to cut production. They are very resilient, have large sovereign wealth funds and can cancel non-vital infrastructure projects, she says. Countries like Venezuela and Russia, which are hurting as a result of the big fall in oil prices, already had economic problems she adds.

Basic bank accounts

Radio 5 live

High Street banks are launching new basic bank accounts today, which won't charge if a direct debit or standing order fails. They are aimed at people who have never had a bank account before, or who have had financial problems. Customers shouldn't be able to go overdrawn with these accounts, says Eric Leenders, executive director of Retail Lending at the BBA, which represents the banking industry.

BT mobile phone deal

Radio 5 live

EE sign
Reuters

Could this be the week that BT does a big deal to buy a mobile phone network? Michael Jarman, chief market strategist at H20 Markets expects that BT will buy EE for up to £11bn. "It looks like something is going to happen," he said on

Radio 5 live. One factor that could complicate things is the ownership structure, says Mr Jarman. Deutsche Telekom, which owns half of EE, would like to keep that share and BT would like complete ownership, he says.

Japan election reaction

Radio 5 live

Share screen in Tokyo
AFP

Shares in Tokyo are down 1% following the (expected) victory of

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Sunday's general election. "The opposition has been crushed," says the BBC's Business Correspondent Rico Hizon on
Wake Up to Money. Rico says the win means Mr Abe can easily push through economic reform - the only opposition might come from inside his own party.

Oil prices fall

Radio 5 live

North Sea Brent Crude, three sessions
Bloomberg

Oil prices hit a fresh 5-and-a-half year lows in early trading on Monday morning.

North Sea Brent Crude fell to $60.93 a barrel. The price did recover after those early losses, as the chart above shows. The recent fall has "mainly been driven by oversupply in the market" and not a collapse in demand, says Anna Stupnytska, global economist at Fidelity International on
Wake Up to Money.