Credit crisis diary: Read all about it: inflation is back

Mandy heads for the Middle East

You’ve got to give Lord Mandelson some credit ? it doesn’t matter where in the world it is, the Business Secretary will go there if he thinks there’s even a sniff of work going for British companies. So it was yesterday that Mandy led a trade delegation to Iraq, pitching for business for British concerns in Baghdad and Basra. Apparently the country needs a modicum of help rebuilding its basic infrastructure. Can’t think why.

Barclays accused of double fault

Poor old Barclays Bank has run into yet more trouble, thanks to its sponsorship of a tennis tournament in Dubai. The tournament proved controversial after an Israeli woman player Shahar Pe’er couldn’t play because she was refused a visa to get into the UAE. Campaigners have since been urging Barclays to say it won’t sponsor events that discriminate against competitors on the grounds of race, and while the bank has tried to steer clear of the row, shareholders now plan a protest at its next AGM.

Why the smart money went into retail

What a terrible time to own shares in a retailer, given that the first quarter of the year was dominated by a horrible recession and bouts of awful weather. Curious then that the value of some of the worst-hit retailers has soared since the beginning of the year. Shares in M&S, for instance, are up by 44 per cent, while crisis-stricken DSG is up by 61 per cent. Indeed, the only retailers whose shares have fallen are Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco. Not so reliable after all.

Back seat drivers for business bosses

We’re intrigued by the CBI’s idea that all new cars ought to have a dashboard indicator telling the driver when to change gear in order to be fuel efficient. The business group thinks this is just one step Britain should be taking “on the revolutionary road to a low carbon economy”. Nothing wrong with the idea, of course, though you imagine the titans of business the CBI represents aren’t going to be keen on being told how to drive.

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