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Record Business Insider: Business in brief.

THE outlook for the Scottish economy is good but growth is expected to fall next year, according to a survey.

The Fraser of Allander Institute's quarterly report shows manufacturing coming out of recession and a recovery in electronics.

However, it reveals a decline in the traditionally strong service sector.

The institute,based at Strathclyde University, predict economic growth will fall to two per cent from 2.7 per cent next year.They predict rising interest rates will dull public spending.

OIL and gas firm Cairn Energy are to explore five areas along Nepal's border with India after making a deal with the Nepalese government. Edinburgh-based Cairn said they would start initial data gathering operations. The first exploration phase is for four years.

Chief executive Bill Gammell said: 'We believe Nepal has many of the fundamental geological elements required for future exploration success.'

A SENIOR Shell director who quit in the wake of the reserves crisis earlier this year is to receive a pounds 2.5million pay-off.

Walter van de Vijver, the former exploration and production boss, will pick up the cash in stages and on condition he co-operates with ongoing reviews into the crisis.

He resigned along with chairman Sir Philip Watts after the Anglo-Dutch group shocked investors in January by revealing proven oil and gas reserves were 20 per cent lower than first thought.

ESTATE agency group Countrywide yesterday provided firm evidence of a cooling in the housing market after arranging 25 per cent fewer sales in July than a year ago.

The group, who have almost 900 UK offices, said interest rate rises had put a dampener on the market as buyers began acting 'more circumspectly'.

The update came as figures showed Countrywide enjoyed a better first six months of the year.

Operating profits across their business almost doubled to pounds 40.7million.

ROYAL & Sun Alliance unveiled a 14 per cent fall in half-year profits as they focused on their position as the UK's second biggest general insurer.

Operating profits from the reshaped group in the six months to June 30 were in line with City hopes, down to pounds 301million from pounds 351million a year earlier.

The company said their remaining UK businesses, including More Than, produced strong first-half results.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 13, 2004
Words:373
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