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Has Barclays bank turned the corner?

Barclays bank took the unusual step today of publishing exceptionally detailed information regarding the forthcoming 2008 results. In an open letter to investors from Marcus Agius and John Varley it was revealed that the bank will announce write-downs of no more than £8 billion. It was also confirmed that the group will make a profit of £5.3 billion in 2008, even after the substantial write-downs, and there will be no fund-raising exercise.

In order to clarify and clear up any potential misunderstandings the company is bringing forward its results by eight days to 9 February. The shares responded with a 73% rise to 88.7 pence and the rest of the UK banking sector followed. This surprising development in the banking sector has caught a number of analysts by surprise and ensured many will now be going back to the drawing board regarding their forecasts for the future.

This is perhaps the first piece of good news in the UK banking sector for many months and while we will need further confirmation from other banking institutions that this is not just a one-off, there are hopes for the future. In some ways this will also call into question the government's bank bailout part two and the potential implications for taxpayers.

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