Saturday, May 3, 2008

British house prices down

British house prices down 4.2 pct

Average house prices in Britain have fallen by more than 4 percent this year, the nation's biggest mortgage lender said Friday. Halifax said the average house price fell 1.3 percent in April. Nationwide, another big mortgage lender, reported Wednesday that average house prices were 1 percent below year-ago levels in April.

LONDON - The Associated Press

German retail sales post fall in March

German retail sales in March fell 0.1 percent from February and were down 6.3 percent compared with a year earlier, the government said Friday. The Destatis statistics office said March this year had three less shopping days than March 2007 because of Easter. March 2007 was also a record month for retail sales, making the year-on-year comparison even worse, it said.

BERLIN - Agence France-Presse

Oil prices fall to near $112 a barrel

Oil prices retreated further Friday from the early-week record near $120 a barrel as a strengthening U.S. dollar prompted investors to exit the market. As the greenback has recovered this week against the euro and yen, the front-month crude futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange has dropped nearly $8 from its high to benchmark oils lowest level since April 14.

SINGAPORE - The Associated Press

India inflation hits 7.57 pct

India's inflation rate accelerated to a 42-month peak of 7.57 percent, driven by higher food costs, according to official data on Friday, dealing a fresh blow to the government. Annual inflation quickened more than two-tenths of a percentage point to touch 7.57 percent for the week ended April 19, up from 7.33 percent a week earlier. High inflation has become a top issue with taming prices the key goal of the Congress-led government.

NEW DELHI - Agence France-Presse

Swiss central bank posts first quarter loss

Switzerland's central bank on Friday posted a loss of 3.97 billion Swiss francs ($3.79 billion) for the first quarter of 2008 which it blamed on the appreciation of the Swiss franc against major currencies. In comparison, during the first quarter a year ago, Swiss National Bank posted a profit of 2.16 billion Swiss francs. The dollar is trading at around 0.995 Swiss francs.

GENEVA - Agence France-Presse

Japan calculates subprime blow

Japanese financial institutions together lost more than 1.5 trillion yen ($14.4 billion) in the year to March because of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis, a report said Friday. The nation's eight major banking groups alone are likely to post a combined subprime-related loss of more than 900 billion yen, the Nikkei newspaper said. That is around 200 billion yen more than forecasts made public so far, it added.

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