Fi­nance in brief

The Guardian Weekly - - Finance -

The three rich­est peo­ple in the US – Bill Gates, Jeff Be­zos and War­ren Buf­fett – own as much wealth as the bot­tom half of the US pop­u­la­tion, or 160 mil­lion peo­ple. Anal­y­sis of the wealth of Amer­ica’s rich­est peo­ple found that the three were sit­ting on a com­bined $248.5bn for­tune. The In­sti­tute for Pol­icy Stud­ies said the grow­ing gap be­tween rich and poor had cre­ated a “moral cri­sis”. In a re­port, the Bil­lion­aire Bo­nanza, the think­tank said Don­ald Trump’s tax change pro­pos­als would “ex­ac­er­bate ex­ist­ing wealth dis­par­i­ties”.

The UK is fi­nal­is­ing ar­range­ments for a $2bn loan guar­an­tee to Saudi Ara­bia’s na­tional oil com­pany, but the govern­ment has de­nied the sup­port is linked to the state-owned firm’s po­ten­tial list­ing on the Lon­don Stock Ex­change. The UK’s credit ex­port agency, the UKEF, which helps Bri­tish com­pa­nies win con­tracts with for­eign com­pa­nies, is back­ing the loan. The oil-rich king­dom is plan­ning to pri­va­tise 5% of state-owned Saudi Aramco in 2019, to raise funds to help di­ver­sify its econ­omy. The UK is hop­ing Aramco will list on the Lon­don Stock Ex­change.

Shop­pers have spent more than $25bn dur­ing China’s an­nual Sin­gles Day, smash­ing pre­vi­ous records for the world’s largest re­tail event. Sin­gles Day, pro­moted an­nu­ally by Chi­nese e-com­merce gi­ant Alibaba and held on 11 Novem­ber, was sup­pos­edly started by bach­e­lor univer­sity stu­dents in the 1990s who bought them­selves presents as a kind of anti-Valen­tine’s day. The date 11/11 was cho­sen for its col­lec­tion of lonely ones. Com­pa­nies of­fer deep dis­counts for a range of prod­ucts sold dur­ing the 24-hour pe­riod.

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