News in Brief: Bear market, emissions scare, jobs cull, China’s economy, Barclays

News in Brief

FTSE 100 enters bear market

London's leading share index has fallen by more than 3%, a fifth below its last peak, taking it into bear market territory.

The FTSE 100 has fallen sharply after the world oil price slump and fears over China prompted a renewed share sell-off, reported Sky News.

The shares index dipped below the 5,700-mark as it shed more than 3% of its value, or more than 180 points, knocking up to around £48bn off the value of constituent companies.

The index has had a grim start to 2016, having lost more than 500 points in just the first few weeks of the year.

Renault recalls 15,000 new cars in emission scare

Renault, which has been under the spotlight over high levels of harmful emissions, is recalling 15,000 new cars.

The move comes after tests showed emission levels from some of its vehicles were too high, reported the BBC.

Last week, three of the French carmaker’s sites were raided by fraud investigators.

The searches led to billions of euros being wiped off its market value, after fears that it could be another scandal similar to that at Volkswagen.

Renault has promised to come up with a “technical plan” to bring down the level of emissions from its vehicles.

Credit Suisse to cull 1,880 jobs 

In an effort to cut £2.4bn (CHF3.5bn) of costs, Credit Suisse is expected to slash as many as 1,800 London-based jobs this week (January 19).

The Swiss banking giant told investors in order to rein in spiralling costs £624m (CHF900m) of the planned reductions will come from “rightsizing out London footprint”.

The news comes after new chief executive Tidjane Thiam announced plans to slash costs in October, reported City A.M.

At the time, there was speculation that bank-office jobs could be moved to Poland or India. The bank employs more than 6,000 people in London.

China’s economic growth at slowest pace in 25 years

China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2015, compared with 7.3% in 2014, marking its slowest growth in a quarter of a century.

This is a major concern for investors worldwide as China’s growth is seen as a driver of the global economy.

Beijing had set an official growth target of “about 7%” for the world's second-largest economy, reported the BBC.
Chinese premier Li Keqiang had said weaker growth would be acceptable as long as enough new jobs were created.

But some observers say its growth is actually much weaker than official data suggests, though Beijing denies numbers are being inflated.

Analysts said any growth below 6.8% would likely fuel calls for further economic stimulus. Economic growth in the final quarter of 2015 edged down to 6.8%, according to the country’s national bureau of statistics.

Barclays’ offshore trust business sold

Barclays has sold its offshore trust arm to an independent investor group but will keep a 20% stake in the new company for at least three years.

The sale marks another step in the British bank’s efforts to simplify its wealth and investment management activities, reported Reuters.

“Barclays holds a minority stake ... which demonstrates our interest in the ongoing success of this business,” said a Barclays’ spokesperson.

The bank said in June 2015 it planned to sell the business following an internal review.

The price was not disclosed.

The independent investor group, led by the Sarikhani and Nielsen families, plans to expand the business, now renamed as ZEDRA, which has 300 staff and offices in Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands, Singapore, Britain and Switzerland.