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Morning business round-up: Moody's downgrades banks

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

Credit rating agency Moody's announced on Friday that it had downgraded a number of financial institutions in both the UK and Portugal.

In the UK, Moody's downgraded 12 UK financial firms including Lloyds TSB, RBS, Nationwide and the UK operations of Santander.

Moody's said it now believed the UK government was less likely to support some firms if they got into trouble.

However, the firm emphasised that the downgrades did not "reflect a deterioration in the financial strength of the banking system".

Moody's also downgraded nine Portuguese banks, blaming their exposure to government debt and the weak forecast for economic growth.

Bank of England governor Mervyn King has said this financial crisis could be the worst the UK has ever seen.

His comments came after the Bank authorised the injection of a further £75bn into the economy through quantitative easing (QE).

"This is the most serious financial crisis we've seen at least since the 1930s, if not ever," Mr King said.

On the stock markets, shares in Asia saw another day of strong gains, with the Hong Kong Hang Seng index ending the day 3.1% higher after having jumped 5.7% the day before.

In Europe, markets were muted, with most bourses trading slightly lower, as investors remained cautious ahead of the latest set of US jobs figures.

Samsung Electronics has issued a better-than-expected profit forecast for the third quarter as its handset business helped to offset falling demand for TVs and computer chips.

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Samsung said it expected an operating profit of 4.2tn won ($3.5bn; £2.3bn) a 14% dip from a year earlier, but better than market projections of 3.5tn won.

Compared with the previous quarter, the projected profit is up 12%.

The Bank of Japan has extended its loan scheme for banks operating in areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami by six months.

The central bank had offered 1tn yen ($13bn, £9bn) in special loans to banks to ensure liquidity for reconstruction efforts after the natural disasters.

The loan scheme was due to expire at the end of this month.

The bank also left its interest rate unchanged at 0.1% in an attempt to boost growth amid uncertain economic outlook.

The latest edition of Business Daily from the BBC World Service looks at what rising unemployment implies for Western nations' hopes of recovery.

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