TO FINANCE AND INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL REGULATORS HAVE EASED THE RULES GOVERNING THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF CASH AND LIQUID ASSETS BANKS MUST HOLD.

THE AGREEMENT BY THE BASEL COMMITTEE ON BANKING SUPERVISION WILL BE PHASED IN FROM 20-15 AND TAKE FULL EFFECT FOUR YEARS LATER.

THE CHANGES ARE DESIGNED TO MAKE BANKS LESS VULNERABLE TO FINANCIAL CRISES LIKE THE 2008 GLOBAL FINANCIAL MELTDOWN.

BANKS WILL HAVE TO HOLD ENOUGH CASH AND SELLABLE ASSETS TO TIDE THEM OVER DURING A 30 DAY CRISIS.

SOME CAR MANUFACTURERS MAY HAVE HAD A TOUGH YEAR IN 2012 BUT MERCEDES-BENZ IS CELEBRATING RECORD SALES.

THEY'RE UP BY NEARLY FIVE PER CENT GLOBALLY.

THAT'S AROUND ONE POINT THREE MILLION NEW MERCEDES CARS PURCHASED LAST YEAR.

MUCH OF THE GROWTH WAS IN CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES.

TO THE MARKETS...

U. S. STOCKS CLOSED UP SLIGHTLY ON FRIDAY.

AND IN LONDON, THE FOOTSIE CLOSED ALMOST ONE PER CENT HIGHER.

TO COMMODITY PRICES -

WEST TEXAS CRUDE IS TRADING AT 93 U-S DOLLARS A BARREL.

TAPIS CRUDE IS TRADING AT 118 U-S DOLLARS A BARREL.

AND GOLD IS WORTH 16-HUNDRED AND 56 U-S DOLLARS AN OUNCE.

THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR IS BUYING 105 U-S CENTS, 80 EURO CENTS AND 65 PENCE STERLING.

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