Business

Morning business round-up: UK-France nuclear power deal

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

The UK is to sign a deal with France to strengthen co-operation in the development of civil nuclear energy.

The UK government says the agreement will create a number of commercial deals in the nuclear energy field, worth more than £500m and creating 1,500 UK jobs.

Staying in the UK, retail sales rose 0.9% in January, according to the latest official figures.

The figure was much stronger than forecast as many economists had expected sales to have fallen last month.

Mining giant Anglo American has said it expects demand for commodities to remain "robust".

The forecast accompanied Anglo's 2011 results, which showed operating profits rose 14% to hit a record $11.1bn (£7bn).

A strong performance by its iron ore business offset weaker prices and volume for its copper operation.

In Asian news, the Japanese cabinet has passed a plan to double sales taxes in an attempt to control the soaring costs of public debts.

The plan, which needs parliament's approval, will see taxes raised from the current 5% to 8% in April 2014, and then up to 10% by October 2015.

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Asian markets gained on hopes of a recovery in the US after the world's biggest economy reported better-than-expected jobs data.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1.6% and South Korea's Kopsi gained 1.3% - after US shares closed at their highest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

Baidu, China's largest search engine, reported a 77% surge in profits between October and December as its advertising revenue continues to grow.

In Australia, Billabong shares surged more than 60% as the company announced a restructuring plan after receiving a takeover bid.

The latest edition of Business Daily looks at what it is like to take out a loan in one of the world's worst economies - with Steve Vickers in Zimbabwe.

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