Barack ObamaAs thousands of British men set their razors to one side to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK by growing a moustache throughout "Movember", America prepared to vote for either existing President Barack Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney on November 6.

It was a hard-fought battle, but Obama came out on top in the end.


Other stories hitting the headlines at the start of November 2012 included HSBC announcing a fall in quarterly profits as it prepared to investigate potential money laundering in the US due to its "lax controls".

There was also bad news for London commuters, as Mayor Boris Johnson revealed that tube and bus fares were set to rise by an inflation-busting 4.2%.

On a more positive note, the Bank of England decided not to extend its quantative easing (QE) stimulus programme, and kept the base rate at its long-term level of 0.50%.

Debt-ridden Greece also got a bit of breathing space towards the middle of the month as Eurozone ministers decided to give the country until 2016 to meet its deficit reduction targets.

Elsewhere, payday loan firms got a dressing down from the Office of Fair Trading, which accused them of reckless lending and aggressive debt collection tactics.

And the Bank of England's Funding for Lending scheme, which was designed to boost the housing market by channelling cheap money to mortgage borrowers, came under fire from analyst Moneyfacts for depressing savings rates.

Nationwide building society announced half-year profits down in part due to the money the organisation has had to put aside for Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) compensation claims.

In the South West, meanwhile, hundreds of homes were flooded following several days of very heavy rain, prompting the government to announce flood defence funding of £120 million ahead of its Autumn Statement on December 5.