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Tuesday paper round-up: UK lending, Yellen, Car market

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Businesses warn lending curbs will hit recovery; Janet Yellen confirmed to lead Federal Reserve; new car sales highest since 2007.

Britain’s rapid recovery will be hampered in 2014 unless the government acts to encourage corporate lending, a leading business group warns on Tuesday. The British Chambers of Commerce said growth this year will remain steady, but restrictions on lending to small and medium-sized businesses will restrict the pace of expansion. – The Guardian

The US Senate on Monday approved Janet Yellen as head of the Federal Reserve, making her the first female chief of the US central bank. She was approved in a 56-26 vote, with some senators who had threatened to vote against her unable to get to Washington DC because of flight delays. – Financial Times

Britain’s car market sped up in 2013 to record its best year for sales since before the financial crisis. A combination of cheap credit and improved consumer confidence saw households buy more than 2.26m vehicles in the past 12 months, a rise of 10.5% on 2012. The total beat the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) official estimate of 2.25m vehicles and consolidates the UK’s position as Europe’s second-largest car market behind Germany. – The Telegraph

JP Morgan is set for another $2bn in fines, putting the bank on track to pay out $22.2bn – more than a fifth of its revenues – in fines and settlements in the current financial year. Regulators and federal prosecutors in the US are preparing to fine the investment bank around $2bn, after it allegedly ignored signs of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The settlement could be finalised as early as Tuesday, according to reports. – The Telegraph

Samsung sought to capitalise on its wider range of consumer devices in its ongoing contest with rivals such as Apple, as it launched a new “smart home” initiative that connects smartphones to home appliances like refrigerators. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the South Korean electronics giant also showed off new curved television screens in ultra-high-definition and a 12-inch tablet aimed at business customers. – Financial Times

The Canadian gold mining group part-owned by Borders-based mining tycoon Harry Dobson yesterday said it would look at a potential sale of the company. Kirkland Lake Gold, which has seen its market value drop sharply over the past year due to the falling value of gold, said it had launched a strategic review to look at ways to improve shareholder value. – The Scotsman

Energy companies should be simpler and more open with businesses about the prices they charge to supply gas and electricity, according to the main lobby group for small entrepreneurs. Days after the Government forced the big utility suppliers to make tariffs more transparent for householders, including telling them which deal is the cheapest, the same regime should apply for their commercial customers, the Federation for Small Businesses said. – The Times