Business and City Summary

INFLATION 'TO CLIMB TO 8% OR HIGHER'

Inflation will climb to 8 per cent or higher in the second half of the 1990s as strong private sector spending and capacity bottlenecks lead to an overheated economy, according to Bill Martin, chief economist at UBS.

In his January forecast, he predicts that the Budget has given the economy a year's remission, but will not be judged a success by future historians.

SHELL IN CHINA

Royal Dutch/Shell Group has signed a contract with China National Offshore Oil Corp to explore a block in the East China Sea, the 10th such contract since the East China Sea was opened for exploration in June last year.

CAR FINANCE AHEAD

The number of new cars sold on finance rose 46.9 per cent in November, bringing the increase for the year so far to 16.8 per cent, according to Motor Industry Monitor. Finance for used car sales also rose 17.6 per cent.

FUNDS TO BRITAIN

Fund managers are switching to Britain and the US from Continental Europe and Japan, according to the latest Smith New Court survey. A balance of 27 per cent intend to increase their UK weighting, and 17 per cent their US allocations.

CIVIL-MILITARY LINK

The Confederation of British will today hold the first in a series of seminars aimed at promoting co-operation between the civil and defence industries. Initiated by British Aerospace and sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry, it is aimed at encouraging joint development of key technologies, so avoiding duplication of effort.

HOT FOR FRIDGES

The offer for sale by Hualing Holdings, the Hong Kong-based company that owns 95 per cent of a refrigerator plant in Guangzhou, China, was 351 times oversubscribed.

TODAY: 13.12.93

Producer price index; index of output of the production industries.

Interims: Baillie Gifford Japan, Berkeley Group, Brasway, Greene King, Hamlet Group, London Electricity, Norbain.

Finals: Hardys & Hansons, Mining & Allied Supplies, Richards, Unidare, Widney.

TOMORROW: 14.12.93

Interims: Amberley, Bogod, Ewart, First Technology, Halma, Melville St Investments, Siam Selective Growth, Southern Electric, Southern Water.

Finals: Aukett Associates, Chemex International, Sheriff Holdings, Southern Radio, Trafalgar House, Vaux Group, Whessoe.

WEDNESDAY: 15.12.93

Retail Prices Index Retail Sales; US retail sales (November).

Interims: Bristol Water, Northern Electric, Schroder Split Fund, South Western Electricity

Finals: Acatos & Hutcheson, Alvis, Baggeridge Brick, Chemring Group, Daily Mail & General Trust, Greencore, Group Development Capital, Haemocell, Hunters Armley, Shoprite.

THURSDAY: 16.12.93

Public sector borrowing requirement; US merchandise trade.

Interims: AH Ball, London Merchant Securities, MS International, Plysu, Stewart & Wight, Sutcliffe Speakman, Westport, Yorkshire Electricity.

Finals: Albion, Barcom, Brunner Inv Trust, Chiltern Radio, Electra Inv Trust, Fairline Boats, Kleinwort Charter Inv, Phonelink.

FRIDAY: 17.12.93

US housing starts (November).

Interims: Abtrust Preference Income Investment Trust, Asda Group, Manweb, Reliance Security, Eliza Tinsley Group, United Industries, Unit Group, Waverley Mining Finance, Welsh Industrial Investment Trust.

Finals: Burndene Investments, Trio Holdings.

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