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Friday newspaper round-up: Japanese Yen, Banks, UK recovery

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Yen drops to four-year low against the dollar; Cameron admits coalition is confused on advice to banks; Britain's recovery is 'gathering momentum'.

The Japanese yen has broken through a major psychological barrier against the dollar for the first time in four years, setting the stage for further weakness seen as a boon for the country’s exporters and economy. For the past month, the yen had stalled before the 100 threshold and traders said its weakening in afternoon trading in New York on Thursday to Y100.79 reflected stop-losses being triggered that sparked selling of the yen and purchases of the dollar. The yen continued its fall on Friday morning in Tokyo, sliding to 100.85 against the greenback, the FT reports.

Deals cut by Eurasian Natural Resources Corp (ENRC), the FTSE 100 miner, have been lambasted for “opaque concession trading” costing the Democratic Republic of Congo $725m, in a hard-hitting report on Friday by Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel. The report to be published on Friday calculates that the Congo incurred losses of $1.36bn between 2010 and 2012 as a result of the alleged undervaluation of state assets in five mining deals three of which involve ENRC, the FT says.

David Cameron was forced to admit that the Government was issuing contradictory orders to the banking sector even as he pledged to end the remorseless “bashing” of the City. The Prime Minister told an investment conference in London that he wanted Britain to play to its strengths by defending its banking sector, amid fears over tougher Brussels regulations including a cap on bonuses and a mooted tax on financial transactions, according to The Times.

Britain’s recovery is gathering momentum on the back of a “stunning” resurgence in manufacturing, economists said, as advertising spending – another economic bellwether – bounced back to levels not seen since the recession struck. Peter Dixon of Commerzbank called the figures “stunning”, saying they showed the UK “is getting back on its feet” following growth of 0.3% in the first quarter. Nida Ali, economic adviser to the Ernst & Young ITEM Club, added: “There is a good chance that second-quarter growth could even be stronger than the first quarter,” The Daily Telegraph says.

“Boris Island” airport plans should be ditched in favour of new runways and more flights at Heathrow to solve Britain’s air transport capacity crisis. MPs on the Transport Select Committee want “long overdue” action to build a third runway at the UK’s only hub airport and permit more air traffic, a call supported by some of London’s leading businesses. Rejecting proposals championed by the Mayor of London for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, committee chairman Louise Ellman said a new runway at Heathrow is “necessary”. She added that expanding it even further into a four-runway hub which could rival European airports may also have “merit,” The Daily Telegraph reports.

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