World Bulletin/News Desk
Britain's government and main opposition have agreed on who will participate in a parliamentary inquiry into the professional and ethical standards of bankers, documents from parliament showed on Friday, although one lawmaker described the process as a "whitewash".
The government has come under pressure to scrutinise the bank sector, particularly since last month when Barclays was fined for trying to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), used worldwide as a benchmark for prices on about $350 trillion of derivatives and other financial products.
The parliamentarians from the British assembly's lower house, the House of Commons, put forward for the inquiry are Andrew Tyrie, who chairs parliament's influential cross-party Treasury Select Committee, and fellow committee members Mark Garnier, Andy Love, John Thurso and Pat McFadden.
"The recent scandals demonstrate the need for higher standards in banking," said Tyrie, who was proposed as the chairman of the banking commission.
"It is the fact that so many appear to have got off scot-free that really sticks in the gullet of the electorate."
The House of Commons has yet to approve the membership list, said a spokesman for the house. It is likely to do so, however, as the nominations have been agreed between all three major parties.
The commission will also have members from the House of Lords, the upper house, the spokesman added, and its proposed powers include the ability to summon people and call for records, examine witnesses on oath and appoint specialist advisers.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "It will have powers and resources to do a thorough job."
But Treasury Select Committee member John Mann, who was not nominated for the banking commission, called the inquiry "a total whitewash".
"We need to get to the bottom of this scandal, and I'm therefore setting up my own inquiry into this dreadful mess," he said in a statement, without elaborating.
Volatility eased as traders focused on the world economy and corporate earnings after a week dominated by the dramatic spike in tensions over North Korea, which triggered a global sell-off before prices bounced back Monday.
Investors greeted the more conciliatory tone after US stocks dropped three days in a row last week on President Donald Trump's vow of "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to pursue its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The ultra-conservative kingdom has moved to diversify its traditionally oil-dependent economy following a sharp fall in crude prices.
In its monthly report on the global oil market, the International Energy Agency said, however, that it believes the supply glut is easing, partly because demand is growing faster.
US stocks have been in retreat since President Donald Trump Tuesday issued a fiery warning to North Korea to halt its nuclear program.
The move by one of Japan's best-known firms greatly reduces the chance of an embarrassing delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE).
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index weakened by 0.5 percent to 7,503.39 points.
The approval by the European Commission comes just over two months after the European Central Bank -- which took on the role of the eurozone's banking supervisor in 2014 -- allowed the sale to go ahead for a symbolic fee of one euro.
BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total have all published results in recent days, showing they pocketed $23 billion in net profit in the first half fo the year.
Higher cereal, sugar and dairy prices pushed food price index by 10.2 percent annually in July
HSBC was also a big riser, gaining three percent at £7.65 ($10, 8.5 euros) in late morning trade after the British banking giant announced a share buyback plan alongside a rise in first-half profits.
Both main crude contracts made strong gains, with WTI testing $50 a barrel for the first time since late May and Brent heading towards $53, while mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto saw their share price rise as commodities strengthened.