Business and City in Brief

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Credit card rates come down

Barclaycard is cutting its rate by 1 percentage point from 22.9 to 21.9 per cent, the lowest rate for 16 years. National Westminster Bank's Access and Visa rates are to fall from 23.9 to 22.4 per cent, the lowest for 18 years. The new monthly rates will be 1.6 per cent at NatWest and 1.585 per cent at Barclaycard.

Barclaycard charges pounds 10 annually and NatWest, whichE offers Air Miles, a pounds 12 fee. Around half of cardholders rTHER write errorepay the outstanding balance each month.

At Barclaycard the new rate will apply to transactions made after 1 December, appearing on statements from 4 January. The NatWest rates take effect from 4 January.

New SIB deputy

Lord Alexander is resigning from the Stock Exchange board on 31 December to take up his appointment as deputy chairman of the Securities and Investments Board. Four other new members were appointed to the SIB board: Rosalind Gilmore, chairman of the Building Societies Commission, Lord Stewartby, chairman of Throgmorton Trust, Dr Oonagh McDonald, former Labour spokesperson on Treasury affairs, and John Kennedy, senior partner of Allen & Overy.

Express appointment

Rod Hoare, managing director of British Airways' regional operations, has been appointed managing director of the Heathrow Express, the pounds 300m fast rail link between Paddington Station in London and Heathrow being built by BAA and British Rail.

Futures survey

The Futures and Options Association, a new organisation representing 140 firms and exchanges in the UK futures industry, is launching a survey to measure the growing burden of regulatory audits on member firms, in terms of time and money.

US tax plea

The European Union tax commissioner Christiane Scrivener urged Washington to drop its insistence on making foreign companies in the US subject to a discriminatory tax system. Ms Scrivener called for a quick agreement to make local and foreign firms in any one country subject to the same tax regime.

Airport verdict

The Civil Aviation Authority yesterday rejected the complaint of predatory and unfair pricing brought by Luton airport against Stansted, owned by BAA. The CAA said that although Stansted was not covering its costs, it was attempting to raise charges where possible and there was no evidence that Luton's charter traffic was being harmed.

Enterprise job

Enterprise Oil, the UK independent, has appointed Michael Pink as chief operating officer, a new post. Mr Pink, currently Shell's director of production development, takes up the job in May 1994.

World Markets

New York: Closed (holiday).

Tokyo: Lower money market rates helped the Nikkei average to add 155.81 points to 17,222.92.

Hong Kong: With investors awaiting the next round of Sino- British talks on the colony's future, the Hang Seng index added 48.25 points to 9,286.31.

Sydney: Continued bargain- hunting lifted the All Ordinaries index 9.6 points to 2,042.

Bombay: Hopes of low carry-forward charges to be imposed today enabled the index to post a 24.59-point gain to 3,077.94.

Johannesburg: Gold shares held on to most of the day's gains, while overheated industrials retreated slightly. The overall index put on 16 points to 4,192.

Frankfurt: Short-covering and hopes of more interest rate cuts pushed the DAX index up 18.16 points to 2,047.71 in thin trade.

Paris: The CAC-40 index climbed 47.79 points to 2,118.4.

Zurich: Better-than-expected consumer price data boosted sentiment. The Swiss Performance Index rose 6.96 to 1,728.64.

London: Report, page 32.

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