BRIEFS

BANKING

BANKING

EU rules push

European Union leaders have pledged further steps towards common banking rules for the bloc, but have delayed plans for a shared budget for the euro zone. At the end of a summit, the leaders endorsed a deal to place the region’s biggest banks under the supervision of the European Central Bank. They agreed on the need to put in place by 2014 a central means for shutting down failing eurozone banks.

GIFTS

$8.5b holiday

Australians are expected to spend about $8.5 billion on Christmas presents, with almost a third admitting they feel pressured to spend more than they can afford, a survey says. A report from financial comparison company RateCity found adults planned to spend $511 on average. Some 51 per cent of respondents said they were going to pay with credit cards.

PROSECUTION

Rate cases

US prosecutors will file charges this week against multiple bankers associated with UBS’s rigging of Tokyo interbank lending rates. The charges would be the first brought by the US Justice Department against individuals alleged to have manipulated the London interbank offered rate and comparable lending rates in Europe and Japan.

INVESTMENT

Rules eased

China scrapped a ceiling on investments by overseas sovereign wealth funds and central banks in its capital markets, part of efforts to encourage long-term foreign ownership and shore up slumping equities. Wealth funds, central banks and monetary authorities can now exceed the $US1 billion limit that still applies to other foreign institutional investors, according to revised regulations.

VEHICLES

US sales rise

Signs of recovery in the US housing and construction industries have given a much-needed lift to the market for utility vehicles. Pickup truck sales are up about 9.6 per cent this year through November, with a 13.9 per cent gain for total vehicle sales. Analysts estimate auto companies can earn up to $US10,000 in profit on each pickup they sell.