Business

Morning business round-up: EU and UK fall out

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

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Last Updated at 17:37 GMT

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EU member states that use the euro have agreed to a tax and budget pact to tackle the eurozone's debt crisis.

But a German and French attempt to get all 27 EU states to back changes to the union's treaties was dropped after objections from the UK.

Prime Minister David Cameron had insisted on an exemption for the UK from some financial regulations.

Instead, eurozone members and others will adopt an accord with penalties for breaking deficit rules.

Meanwhile, there was further grim economic news from the eurozone itself. Credit rating agency Moody's downgraded France's three big banks, because of their difficulty in borrowing money.

The agency cut Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas from Aa2 to Aa3, and Societe Generale from Aa3 to A1.

The move followed a previous rating cut by Moody's for Credit Agricole and Societe Generale in September.

And German exports fell 3.6% in October as demand from crisis-hit southern European markets shrank, data showed.

It was the biggest fall in six months, and much bigger than the 1% decline expected by markets.

German imports shrank by 1% versus a month earlier - also more than expected - suggesting demand is also weakening in Europe's biggest economy.

The country's trade surplus fell from 17.3bn to 11.6bn euros ($15.5bn; £9.9bn), or about 5.5% of its GDP.

UK economic news was brighter. The country's trade deficit narrowed sharply in October, as the value of exports hit a record high, official figures have shown.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the deficit in goods fell to £7.6bn, down from £10.2bn September.

Exports of goods rose to a record £26.5bn, while imports fell from September's record £34.6bn to £34.1bn.

Despite the uncertain climate, European stock markets made modest gains in morning trading.

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In Asian business news, China's rate of inflation fell in November to its slowest pace in 14 months.

Consumer prices rose at 4.2% compared with the same month last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.

Inflation was at 5.5% in October, after hitting a three-year high in July of 6.5%

Analysts said this creates more room for authorities to ease monetary policy and encourage economic growth.

And Toyota, Japan's largest carmaker, halved its profit forecast for this year because of disruptions caused by Thailand's floods.

It now expects a net profit of 180bn yen ($2.3bn; £1.5bn) for the year ending 31 March 2012.

The firm issued its previous forecast of a 390bn yen profit in August.

It withdrew the forecast last month after supply disruptions of some crucial parts halted production at factories in 10 countries.

The latest edition of the Business Daily programme asks why the short term always tends to triumph - and puts forward some radical strategies for long-term economic thinking.

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