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QFINANCE news round up

Bringing to you the top finance and business news stories of the week. This week, oil prices rise sharply due to unrest in Libya, Barclays bonuses are frowned upon, and a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan rock the markets.

Oil prices rose this week to $115 per barrel (Brent crude) after Gaddafi's air force bombed the country's main oil terminal. The International Energy Agency has reported that less than 500,000 barrels of Brent and WTI crude are now being produced per day, in comparison to 1.58 million barrels per day before the crisis.

Mervyn King criticized British banks in an interview with the Telegraph, saying of the 2008 crisis, that "Bankers were given incentives to behave the way they did. That’s what needs to change. We must resolve this problem." He put this down to an inherent problem with the system: “We allowed a [banking] system to build up which contained the seeds of its own destruction”, and that “We’ve not yet solved the 'too big to fail’ or, as I prefer to call it, the 'too important to fail’ problem. The concept of being too important to fail should have no place in a market economy.”

It was revealed that Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays bank, earned a £6.5m bonus in 2010, while two co-heads earned over £20m in bonuses between them. This has raised doubts over how effective Project Merlin will prove to be, as it does not seem that bankers are ready to give up their high bonuses any time soon.

As a result of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on Friday morning, the yen and Asian, US and European stock markets plunged. Along with Spain's downgraded sovereign-debt rating this week and continuing unrest in the middle east, markets are expected to be volatile.

Plus, WIN one of five copies of Alice Schroeder's highly acclaimed complete biography of Warren Buffet, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.

Just let us know you'd like a copy by commenting on either the first or the second of Ian Fraser's Buffett blogs by 11.59pm GMT on Thursday, March 17, and your name will be entered into the prize draw. Good luck!

Tags: Asia , banking , bonuses , commodities , Japan , Libya , oil prices , Spain , stock markets , UK
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