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The cost of insuring against a catastrophic US default jumped to its  highest level in more than two years today after talks to prevent a breach of the nation’s $16.7 trillion (£10.5 trillion) debt ceiling faltered.

Philip Hensher: Why should the BNP sit with the grown-ups?

This year, the British National Party gained 6.26 per cent of the national vote at the European elections. That was, from their point of view, a great success, and appears to lift them from an insignificant contributor to political debate to a minority presence. They crossed the psychological threshold between those parties who field candidates, and those who have gained seats at a more than local level.

London G20 meeting rejects plan to cap bankers' bonuses

But a new 'clawback' scheme means they can be forfeited if deals later prove unsuccessful

Margareta Pagano: To nationalise or not – that's a tricky question

Banks just won't lend, so what's a Chancellor to do?

Recession over for France and Germany

France and Germany have snapped out of recession unexpectedly early, according to the first estimates of growth released by the European statistics agency.

Guy Adams: Beauty, influence and the fame game

LA Notebook

Row with emerging nations threatens IMF's cash call

Russians warn that the IMF must deliver on its power-sharing commitments

Rates kept on hold as pace of decline shows signs of slowing

Bank keeps interest rates at 0.5% and presses on with 'quantitative easing'

G20 'needs more than empty words'

A minister handling preparations for the upcoming Group of 20 summit said that leaders risk fueling public dissent — and dire consequences for the developing world — if they fail to agree on clear action to tackle the global downturn.

Brown hopeful of G20 agreement

Gordon Brown still believes he can broker an agreement among the world's biggest economies to take further fiscal action to shorten the recession, despite disagreements with France and Germany at the weekend.

Merkel tips Brown's grand plan into crisis

Germany's Chancellor receives French backing as she uses a London meeting to warn against proposals to pump billions more into the global economy

Jeremy Warner: Sterling was far too high. Now it may be going the other way

Outlook: Jose Manuel Barroso, head of the European Commission, thinks Britain is “closer than ever before” to joining the euro and even claims to have had conversations with senior members of the UK Government to that effect. Meanwhile, Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, would be more than happy to welcome us in.

French bank hit by €600m rogue trading scandal

Caisse d'Epargne traders took unauthorised gambles on futures derivatives

Central banks face criticism as inflation fears tie their hands

France's Finance Minister has launched an attack on the interest rate policy of the European Central Bank, amid growing concern about policymakers' inability to combat an economic slowdown in the face of rising inflation.

France looks at ways to curb 'fat cat' salaries across the EU

Pressure is building in the European Union for common rules to discourage, or punish, excessive payments to top business executives.

Economy minister admits she is 'seduced' by idea of French SWF

Christine Lagarde, France's economy minister, may establish a French sovereign wealth fund to counter the rising power of the state-owned funds from the developed world.

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