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Thursday newspaper round-up: Banks, Food prices, Age of Oil

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Mark Carney opposes 'crude' bank bonus cap idea; EU moves to curb food price bets by traders; age of oil set to end as gas becomes fuel of choice.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney said on Wednesday he opposed both the idea of a “crude bonus cap” and of reducing retail banks’ market share, dealing a blow to Ed Miliband’s proposals to shake up the banking sector. The Labour party leader plans to announce on Friday that a Labour government would ask competition authorities to investigate whether high street banks are abusing their dominant positions. He has also called on the government to veto bonuses of up to twice the salary of bankers at state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland. – Financial Times

The European Union has voted through rules to limit the ability of banks and hedge funds to bet on food prices. Arlene McCarthy, a Labour MEP for the north-west, said the new rules, known as Mifid, would “curb speculation and help decrease price volatility and inflation” which had a “devastating impact on poor and food dependent countries”. “For the first time the EU will regulate commodities to tackle food speculation,” she said. – The Guardian

It has lasted nearly a hundred years, but soon the age of oil will be over as gas becomes the fuel of choice for wealthy nations, leaving Europe even more dependent on imports from Russia. Rising fuel efficiency and the growing role played by gas to generate electricity will push oil into second place. By 2035, oil consumption in the European Union will have fallen to its lowest level since 1967. However, the fact that gas is harder to transport than oil means that Europe’s fragile energy security will weaken further over the next two decades. – The Times

Mobile phones and tablet computers are now used for nearly 6% of all retail sales as Brits embrace shopping from the sofa, the train and under the duvet. While total online sales rose 18% year-on-year in December to £11.1bn, according to the latest figures from e-tail industry body IMRG and advisory firm Capgemini, sales via mobile devices doubled to £3bn. – The Guardian

The Bank of England expects house prices to rise by about 10% over the next two years before the market cools. Although the Bank does not publish its housing projections, Mark Carney, the Governor, revealed to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee that it expected prices to continue rising at their present pace until late next year, before moderating in 2016. – The Times

Yahoo has lost its chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, who was brought in by chief executive Marissa Mayer just over a year ago as part of her turn-around strategy. Mr de Castro, who steered the advertising business, will leave Yahoo on Thursday, the internet company said, and may still receive a sizeable chunk of his original $60m pay package. His departure comes as Yahoo’s share of the digital advertising market continues to decline, even though the perception of Yahoo on Wall Street and Silicon Valley has improved dramatically. – Financial Times

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