Business

Morning business round-up: India's budget upbeat

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

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India's Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, has unveiled the country's annual budget, saying that the economy is turning around.

He added that India would look to reduce subsidies, accelerate reforms and state asset sales and boost infrastructure spending.

Italian carmaker Fiat has shut down five of its plants in its home country as it struggles to cope with an ongoing transport strike.

Lorry drivers have been protesting over taxes on petrol passed in the austerity budget of Prime Minister Mario Monti since January, maintaining road blocks.

Fiat has said that it has made 20,000 fewer cars over the last three weeks due to the protests.

Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne is due to meet Mr Monti later.

Germany's second largest airline, Air Berlin, has reported worse-than-expected losses for 2011 as it continues its efforts to downsize.

The budget carrier reported a net loss of 271.8m euros ($322m; £205m) for the year to 31 December 2011. It made a loss of 97.2m euros in 2010.

Air Berlin - which is 30%-owned by Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad - blamed the weather, strikes, rising fuel costs, the Arab spring and a new tax for its poor performance.

China's fifth-biggest lender Bank of Communications, known as BoCom, is raising money to meet new, tougher capital requirements.

BoCom is raising 56.6bn yuan ($8.9bn; £5.7bn) by selling shares to 12 institutional investors, including HSBC, which already owns 19% of BoCom.

BoCom previously had the lowest capital ratio of China's five biggest banks. It is expected to be the start of a series of fundraising announcements from Chinese banks this year.

Local authorities in the UK are set to be paid back funds lost when the Icelandic bank Glitnir failed in 2008.

More than 50 local councils lost £186m when Glitnir failed, and universities and charities also lost money.

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Glitnir will transfer a total of 635m euros ($829m; £527m), divided among the organisations affected.

The UK has hit back at Argentina's threats of court action over Falkland Islands oil exploration, calling its behaviour "illegal intimidation".

Foreign minister Hector Timmerman had threatened legal action against firms drilling off the UK territory, over which Argentina claims sovereignty.

But the UK Foreign Office said it was a legitimate commercial venture. Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK would "continue to protect and defend" the islands.

The latest edition of Business Daily looks at quantitative easing and investigates who are the winners and losers.

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