Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
Union expects Barclays job cuts

BIFU, the banking union, said yesterday it expected several hundred jobs to go in Barclays' corporate and institutions group as a result of reorganisation.

But the bank dismissed the claim, saying it was 'pure speculation' to link changes in management outlined last month by Martin Taylor, the new chief executive, to any reorganisation or jobs cuts in the banking division. Barclays has announced plans to lose 5,000 jobs in two years.

View from City Road, page 26

RBS phone bank

Royal Bank of Scotland yesterday launched a new 24-hour telephone banking service for the price of a local call. The new service, operated from four regional centres employing 120 banking advisers, is called Direct Banking and aims for 300,000 customers by the end of the year.

Insurance change call

Life insurers were urged by John Chapman, assistant director of consumer affairs at the Office of Fair Trading, to introduce policies with the commission spread over the whole life of the policy, rather than paid up-front.

Ecu clearing system

A group of Central and East European commercial banks has started a private clearing system for the settlement in Ecus of trade-related payments. The system will handle payments in 18 convertible currencies between the six participating banks, with a daily settlement in Ecus provided by three Western clearing banks. The Ecu clearing banks are Belgium's Generale Bank, Italy's Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino and Barclays Bank.

Frequent flyers

BAA's seven airports handled 6.7 million passengers in March, an increase of 10 per cent on the same month last year.

Japan surplus rise

Japan posted a dollars 13.95bn ( pounds 9.6bn) trade surplus in March, the Ministry of Finance said, up from the dollars 13.39bn surplus posted in March last year.

Krupp looks up

The German steel and engineering group Krupp said it made a group net loss of DM600m ( pounds 243m) in 1993 but expected to break even in 1994. Krupp's chairman, Gerhard Cromme, told the weekly magazine Focus that 1993 results were marked by a loss in its steel division of DM800m.

US banks trade up

(First Edition)

Three large Us financial institutions - Merrill Lynch, Chase Manhattan, and Nationsbank - all reported sharply higher profits for the first quarter of the year yesterday, exceeding Wall Street expectations. Chase's profits - dollars 364m, compared with dollars 153m a year age - were particularly surprising, showing higher trading revenues despite the poor performance of the markets generally.


New York: Higher interest rates sent shares tumbling, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 41.05 points lower at 3,620.42.

Tokyo: Foreign buyers, encouraged by political developments, pushed the Nikkei average up 112.73 points to 20,277.36.

Hong Kong: Trading remained in the doldrums, with the Hang Seng 29.22 lighter at 9,506.84.

Sydney: A futures-driven rally took the All Ordinaries index ahead 15.3 points to 2,095.9.

Bombay: With investors waiting for the results of several large companies, the index dropped 34.26 points to 3,860.92.

Johannesburg: Most shares edged higher, but the overall index eased seven points to 4,961.

Paris: Shares gave up almost all their early gains on news of the US credit tightening. The CAC- 40 index ended just 0.47 of a point to the good at 2,160.06.

Frankfurt: Demand for motor and engineering stocks boosted the DAX index 28.36 points to 2,228.78 in brisk trade.

Milan: Prices closed lower as profit-taking after recent gains reversed an earlier rise.

London: Report, page 26.