Business and City in Brief

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Mortgage rates come down

Abbey National, Britain's second-largest mortgage lender, has cut its basic mortgage rate by 0.75 percentage points to 9.95 per cent. But the cuts on larger loans are slimmer, with loans of more than pounds 60,000 coming down 0.51 points to 9.69 per cent, and loans over pounds 100,000 down 0.5 points to 9.49 per cent.

Nationwide Building Society has also dropped its rate for loans under pounds 60,000 to 9.95 per cent. Larger loans come down to 9.7 per cent and 9.55 per cent for loans over pounds 120,000. The new rates come into effect on 1 November for existing borrowers.

Andrew losses

The Prudential Insurance Company in the US quadrupled its estimate of its losses for Hurricane Andrew to dollars 1.2bn ( pounds 730m), and said yesterday that a portion - though 'not the majority' - of that amount will be passed on to Lloyd's of London. Its revision suggests overall industry losses may increase to more than dollars 10bn.

Air travel

International air travel is expected to increase by 7.4 per cent a year between 1992 and 1996 as the world emerges from recession, the International Air Transport Association said.

ICI loses case

ICI Australia has lost a court case over the setting of minimum retail prices. The Federal Court dismissed an ICI appeal, upholding a 1991 court order that the company refrain from specifying a minimum price to retailers.

Body Shop

Body Shop International appointed Michael Ross to the board as international director.

Skoda output up

Skoda-VW, Czechoslovakia's biggest car maker, will increase output by more than 10 per cent above its original plan by the end of 1992. Workers will have to work on Saturdays to cope with the increased production.

Conder crashes

Conder, the construction group, has gone into receivership after failing to raise new funds for working capital. Alan Barrett and Peter Spratt of Price Waterhouse have been appointed joint receivers.

World Markets

New York: An oversold rebound, better bond prices and selective buying helped a modest rally. The Dow Jones Average closed up 9.18 points at 3287.87.

Milan: An opening rally gradually fizzled out, and the MIB index closed 5 points or 0.7 per cent up at 721.

Frankfurt: Rumours of downgradings for large companies drove the DAX index 1.7 per cent lower to 1,530.94.

Hong Kong: Continued uncertainty about Hong Kong's new airport combined with overseas selling to send the Hang Seng index down 53.91 to 5,658.73.

Tokyo: Prices rose on hopes the yen's rise against the dollar may permit easing of interest rates earlier than expected. The Nikkei 225 index gained 327.23 points to 18,609.95.

Melbourne: The All Ordinaries Index rose 2.2 points to 1,507.2.

Johannesburg: The industrial index rose 20 points to 4,181 to lift the overall index by 7 points to 3,190.

London: Report, page 27.