Business

Morning business round-up: Huge demand for ECB loans

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

Eurozone banks have rushed to take out cheap three-year loans offered by the European Central Bank, borrowing 489bn euro ($643bn; £375bn).

The central bank had expected to lend up to 450bn euro to stop another credit crunch crippling the banking system.

When the plan was announced, French President Nicholas Sarkozy said that banks could use the money to invest in eurozone sovereign debt.

EU plans to levy an emissions tax on airlines are valid, according to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The decision means all airlines flying to and from the 27 states of the European Union will face a tax on emissions from 1 January.

US, Canadian and other carriers argue the charges violate climate change and aviation pacts.

Four Chinese airlines have also opposed the scheme which they say could cost them 95m euros ($124m, £79m).

Italy's economy shrank by 0.2% in the three months to the end of September, fuelling fears of a recession in the eurozone giant.

The figures, released by the country's official statistical agency, Istat, show the first contraction in the Italian economy since 2009.

Italy's government has predicted the economy will contract by 0.4% in 2012.

Earlier this month, the government announced an austerity plan to "save Italy".

Japanese prosecutors have raided the headquarters of camera and medical equipment maker Olympus as part of an ongoing investigation.

Olympus is being probed over its accounting practices and the admission that it hid losses.

The issue came to light after former chief executive Michael Woodford claimed he was fired for questioning payments relating to mergers.

Olympus admitted it hid $1.5bn (£968m) of losses over the past two decades.

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Japanese exports have fallen again as demand for the country's goods continues to suffer.

Overseas shipments fell 4.5% in November from a year earlier, Ministry of Finance data showed.

The strength of the Japanese yen as well as the ongoing European debt crisis have weighed on external demand.

Meanwhile the Bank of Japan has decided to keep its key interest rate on hold at between zero and 0.1%.

In the UK, the government borrowed less in November than it had in the same month last year, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics said public sector net borrowing excluding financial interventions was £18.1bn, down from £20.4bn in November 2010.

It means the government is still on track to meet the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecast of £127bn of borrowing for the whole financial year.

The latest edition of Business Daily examines whether the dollar can continue as the world's true reserve currency.

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