Business

Morning business round-up: Greek confidence vote won

What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Greece topped the news table again on Wednesday - with some rare good news after the country's prime minister survived the confidence vote, held late last night.

Even so, that merely paved the way for the next stage in the continuing crisis - the vote on highly unpopular austerity measures - and markets remained jittery.

But since that vote is yet to come, the UK turned its attention to domestic concerns. The consumers' organisation Which? warned home buyers over single variable rate mortgages, which now apply to more than 40% of UK mortgage borrowers.

It said that lenders were squeezing profits out of people whose mortgages were standard variable rate ones, with interest rates of 6% in some cases, 12 times the record low base rate of 0.5%.

And that low interest rate looks here to stay for the next few months at least, after the new member of the Bank of England's policy committee opposed a rate rise.

The panel voted 7-2 in favour of leaving borrowing charges where they were, despite inflation at double the target of 2%.

To international company news, which kicks off with Qantas settling its dispute with Rolls-Royce.

The Australian carrier agreed to accept 95m Australian dollars ($100m; £62m) for a mid-air blast incident in a Rolls-Royce engine which lead to the grounding of the Qantas fleet of superjumbos.

The compensation helped boost Qantas' pre-tax profit for the year ending 30 June 2011 to between A$500-550m.

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Elsewhere, the Dutch consumer electronics and lighting giant Philips shocked the markets with a profit warning.

Shares fell 10% after it said falling demand in western Europe would hit second-quarter profits.

Falling demand also hit H&M, whose profits were also affected by rising costs.

The budget fashion chain, which is the world's second-largest fashion retailer, said its gross profit margin fell from 65.9% a year ago to 61.7% and profits were down 18% in the second quarter.

Finally, we return to the burning issue of Greece. Today's Business Daily podcast asks: Should Greece default on its debts and leave the euro? Listen in to hear of the sacrifices being made in Athens - and the options open to the struggling country.

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