Business & City in Brief

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NIESR warns on tax rises

The Chancellor of the Exchequer was urged yesterday not to raise taxes again dramatically in next Tuesday's Budget, for fear of hampering economic recovery.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a leading economic forecasting group, said underlying inflation was still on course to exceed the Government's target range and that dramatic interest rate cuts would be difficult. It forecast 2.8 per cent growth next year, a current account deficit of pounds 16bn and a PSBR of pounds 35bn. It expects pounds 2.5bn in extra Budget tax increases.

Call for inquiry An independent committee of inquiry should be set up to re-examine the way savers are protected, Mick Newmarch, chief executive of Prudential, said. In a renewal of his call for the abandonment of the Financial Services Act and the introduction of full statutory regulation, Mr Newmarch also urged the Government to make a bonfire of financial services rulebooks.

Assets frozen The Securities and Investments Board has won High Court orders freezing the assets of Peter Robin Jackson, demanding restitution of funds to investors and winding up his company, Stour Financial Services. Up to pounds 1m of savings is involved, some the redundancy money of Harwich dockworkers.

Building orders up Construction orders in Britain rose from pounds 3.86bn to pounds 4.23bn between the second and third quarters of the year, in 1985 prices and adjusted for normal seasonal changes, the Department of the Environment said.

Oil output rises

Britain's oil output rose by more than 10 per cent in October to its highest level since the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988, according to Royal Bank of Scotland's oil and gas index. Increased North Sea production boosted oil revenues by more than 16 per cent to pounds 24.7m in October.

US more durable

Strong demand for new cars and aircraft lifted durable goods orders in the US by 2 per cent to reach record levels. But the backlog of orders fell to their lowest level since June 1988.

Reuters purchase

Reuters, the news and information group, has bought a majority stake in Loan Pricing Corp, a New York-based database information company specialising in the commercial loan market and the analysis of bank loan portfolios.

CBI call on Bank At its monthly meeting the governing council of the CBI formally endorsed a paper calling for Britain to move towards central bank independence.

World Markets

New York: Prices firmed in early dealings, but trading was subdued ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 13.41 at 3,687.58.

Brussels: Strikes in six provinces kept volumes low. The Bel- 20 finished 3.17 lower at 1,384.09.

Frankfurt: The 30-share DAX rose 2.14 to 2,029.55.

Madrid: A wave of futures-inspired foreign selling knocked the general index back 0.96 per cent at close.

Milan: Prices recovered from lows seen earlier this week largely on technical factors.

Paris: Shares were hit by profit- taking and concerns about the Gatt negotiations. The CAC-40 closed 0.86 down at at 2,070.61.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index climbed by 202.24 to 9,238.06

Tokyo: The Nikkei average fell below the psychological support of 17,000 shortly before the close, but ended at 17,067.11, down 317.73.

Sydney: Bargain-hunting and a rebound in futures prices saw the All Ordinaries index close 22.8 points higher at 2,032.4.

London: Report, page 36.