In brief: Factory gate prices increase by 0.3pc
FACTORY gate, or manufacturing, prices increased by 0.3pc in June, according to the Central Statistics Office. The figures show an increase of 3.2pc in June 2012, when compared with June 2011. This compares with an increase of 2pc in May 2012 when compared with May 2011. The price index for export sales increased by 0.6pc in June while the index for home sales decreased by 0.9pc. Computer, electronic and optical products were up 1.3pc in the month while basic pharmaceutical products and preparations were up 0.9pc. The cost of building and construction materials rose by 2.8pc in the year to June 2012.
US house-buying rate down for June
AMERICANS bought fewer homes in June than May, indicating the weak economy could make a modest housing recovery choppy. The National Association of Realtors said yesterday that sales of previously occupied homes fell 5.4pc in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.37 million homes. That is the fewest since October. Sales are up 4.5pc from a year ago, evidence that the market is still recovering.
Lloyds sells 632 branches to Co-op
LLOYDS Banking Group has struck a deal to sell 632 branches to the Co-operative, transforming the group into a powerful new rival to Britain's dominant high-street banks. Mutually owned Co-op said the sale would lift its share of Britain's bank branch network to 10pc from less than 4pc, equipping it to take on the country's "Big Four" lenders -- HSBC, Barclays Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds itself. (Reuters)
Britain to cut banks' powers on policy
BRITAIN took steps to reduce banks' powers to set policy for the payments system, which handles trillions of pounds. Financial Services Minister Mark Hoban said yesterday he wanted a new body that would be directly supervised by market regulators, ending a system whereby banks, who own the payments networks, decide policy. The payments network, which handles cheques and debit and credit card payments, is run by the banks-funded Payments Council. (Reuters)