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WireTap 1400 28/03/12

A round-up of the key stories across the specialist financial media, including news that the UK, the US and France are considering an emergency release of oil stocks on concerns that high oil prices threaten economic recovery.

US, France and UK consider oil release

The US, France and the UK are considering a co-ordinated emergency release of oil stocks, the French energy minister signalled on Wednesday, as concerns mount that high crude prices risk derailing economic recovery.

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Disasters hit Lloyd's of London

Lloyd's of London on Wednesday posted its first pretax loss in six years after being hit by lower investment returns and major catastrophes, in what industry experts call the second-costliest year on record in terms of insured disaster claims.

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UK growth for final quarter revised down

Britain’s economy shrank more than previously thought in the final quarter of last year, according to official statistics that caught economists by surprise on Wednesday. Estimated output fell 0.3 per cent from the previous quarter rather than the earlier official estimate of 0.2 per cent.

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ECB: private-sector loan growth slows

The European Central Bank's massive injections of cash into the bloc's banking system haven't yet reached the real economy and have mostly been used by banks to step up their government bond purchases, as evidenced by the slowing of bank lending growth to the private sector.

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U.S. stock-index futures advance after Bernanke’s remarks

U.S. stock futures rose, after yesterday’s decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, on speculation of further policy easing as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recovery isn’t assured.

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