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Bonuses return close to pre-recession peak on back of UK economic recovery

Office for National Statistics says payments rose by 2.7% in 2014-15 to £42.4bn, putting the total figure 0.1% below the record reached in 2007-08

Britain’s economic recovery has helped bonuses return to within a whisker of their pre-recession peak, according to official data.

The Office for National Statistics said that salary top-ups rose by 2.7% in 2014-15 to £42.4bn, despite less generous payouts in the City.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

European stock markets fall again as China worries bite

WPP chief insists he ‘remains a raging bull’ about China as global sell-off continues amid fears over health of world’s second-biggest economy

European stocks resumed their falls on Wednesday as fears about the Chinese economy once again gripped investors and a late plunge in US stocks unnerved the market.

The FTSE 100 fell almost 2% in early trading to 5,972 points, below the key 6,000 mark. Leading British shares had staged a partial recovery on Tuesday after heavy falls on Monday. By 130pm BST the index of leading shares in London was down 20 points at 6062.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Asian markets in volatile mood as China rate cuts fail to calm nerves – live

4.28am BST

A catch-up of this morning’s choppy activity, via Reuters:

Asian stocks fell on Wednesday as investors feared fresh rate cuts in China would not be enough stabilise its cooling economy or halt a collapse in its stock markets.

China’s key share indexes attempted to move higher several times in early trade only to be slapped back by waves of selling, reflecting investors’ views that much more support was needed from the government and the central bank.

In a sign of how fearful investors have become of risky assets, US stock index futures resumed their descent in early Asian trade with the US S&P 500 mini futures down 0.4%, nearing Monday’s 10-month low of 1,831.

Overnight, major US stock indexes shot up after China’s policy easing but later gave up all their gains, with the S&P 500 ending down 1.4%.

4.14am BST

Glenn Stevens, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, has been speaking at an economic reform summit in Sydney – also attended by treasurer Joe Hockey; see here – about the country’s economic growth issues, AAP reports.

Stevens said that despite record low interest rates and business and consumer confidence staying around average, economic growth has not been able to get to 3%.

It may be that potential growth is a bit lower than we used to think, though I don’t think we can know whether that is so at present.

The fiscal policy debate, usually framed as ‘when will we get back to surplus?’ is actually about ‘how do we get more growth?’

The kind of growth we want won’t be delivered just by central bank adjustments to interest rates or short-term fiscal initiatives that bring forward demand from next year, only to have to give it back then.

A key question worth asking is ‘how do we generate more growth?’ Not temporary, flash-in-the-pan growth, but sustainable growth.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Poundland’s green light proves the value of talking to shoppers

Competition watchdog belatedly realised it was a good idea to understand the modern high street before ruling on takeover of 99p Stores

Who would have thought that speaking to shoppers or ­actually visiting a shop would be a useful place to start for a regulator investigating a major high street deal? Well, that is what the Competition and Markets Authority appear to have belatedly discovered.

The competition regulator has provisionally given the green light to Poundland’s £55m takeover of 99p Stores after an “in-depth phase two investigation”. This is a different conclusion to the CMA’s phase one inquiry, in which it said it could force Poundland to sell off 80 stores as well as 12 forthcoming ones for the deal to be agreed.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Coca-Cola to reach water goal five years early

The soda giant announced it would replenish all the water used in making its beverages by the end of 2015

The Coca-Cola Company expects to replenish all the water it uses to make its beverages by the end of 2015, five years ahead of its scheduled goal.

The beverage giant, which manufactures brands such as Diet Coke, Sprite and Powerade, announced Tuesday that it and its bottling partners returned nearly all of the water used to make its beverages in 2014 to local communities and the environment.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

ASA orders Morrisons to clarify price comparisons under loyalty card scheme

Advertising watchdog says supermarket must clearly tell customers where they can get details on how points are awarded for specific shop

Morrisons has been ordered by the advertising watchdog to clarify the way it compares prices with other supermarkets under its Match & More loyalty scheme following a complaint from rival Aldi.

After a 10-month investigation, ASA told Morrisons it must clearly tell customers where they could get details on how points relating to the scheme had been awarded for a specific shop, including which products from their shopping list had been compared with which competitor.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

China 2015: beware the links with 1929

Events of the past few days echo those that led to the Wall Street crash, so optimism about long-term impact on the west of China’s crisis is premature

On day one the stock market fell by 13%. On day two it fell by a further 12%. On day three hopes were high the storm had blown over after equity prices recouped the previous session’s losses. Let this be a cautionary tale. These figures relate not to the Shanghai Composite index in August 2015 but the Dow Jones Industrial Average in October 1929.

Even in the most savage bear markets prices never fall in a straight line. Instead, within a downward trend big daily falls are punctuated by sizeable daily rallies. Events of the past few days conform to this pattern, at least in Europe. Shares in London, Frankfurt and Paris fell heavily on Friday and Monday, then recovered on Tuesday.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

US stock market gains wiped out to close second volatile day on Wall Street

Dow Jones ends day with big losses after initially appearing to bounce back from ‘Black Monday’ of global sell-offs, sparked by China economy fears

US stock markets continued to seesaw on Tuesday following a day of global sell-offs sparked by fears that China’s economic boom is slowing.

The Dow Jones industrial average initially appeared to be bouncing back from “Black Monday” – a day when it crashed more than 1,000 points before ending the day down 586 points.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Just Mayo is just not mayo: FDA says eggless mayonnaise must change name

Hampton Creek Foods’ vegan sandwich spread, which is made without eggs and packaged with ‘misleading’ labels, violates condiment’s ‘standard of identity’

As a name, Just Mayo just won’t do.

Hampton Creek Foods Inc, a California healthy food startup, can no longer refer to its vegan sandwich spread Just Mayo as mayonnaise because it doesn’t contain eggs, the US Food and Drug Administration has said.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Hedge funds set to bank millions by short selling during London share slump

Markit data shows that the value of the short positions hedge funds have taken, effecting betting that FTSE 100 share would fall, is £17.8bn

Hedge funds are set to bank tens of millions of pounds from the slump in share prices in London, having bet almost £18bn that the FTSE 100 would fall.

The funds making the bets include Lansdowne Partners, which is run by George Osborne’s best man, Peter Davies, and Odey Asset Management, which is led by Crispin Odey – who made millions by predicting the credit crisis and earlier this year said the world was heading for a downturn “likely to be remembered in 100 years”.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS