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RBS proposes buy-back; global markets slump

Ross McEwanTue: Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Ross McEwan (left) says the bank could buy back shares to help the government reduce its 73% shareholding.

The Treasury raised £2.1 billion after selling a 5.4% stake in RBS at a loss of £1bn last month and wants to sell three-quarters of its stake over five years.

“I would rather participate as the government is selling down … I think it’s probably the best thing for all investors, where excess capital goes back through buy-backs,” Mr McEwan told the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Banking & Insurance conference in London.

He said the government should imitate a similar tactic used by American International Group which bought shares to cut the US government’s stake after it needed a bailout in 2008.

Global stocks slid to their lowest in more than two years as commodity prices and emerging markets continued to be subdued on concern over an economic slowdown in China.

Mining giant Glencore, whose shares fell by almost a third on Monday on investor concern over its debt levels, managed to gain of 4% in London.

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