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Morning business round-up: China eyes financial reform

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 07:04 GMT

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China, the world's second-largest economy, is looking to increase investment and competition in its financial and banking sectors.

On Tuesday, it almost tripled the amount that international fund managers can invest in China to $80bn (£50bn).

At the same time, Premier Wen Jiabao told China National Radio that the monopoly of state-owned banks needed to be broken.

The shift may boost growth and create a more international Chinese currency.

Also in China, a report showed that the country had become the world's largest market for food and grocery retail, surpassing the US.

The grocery sector in China was worth £607bn ($972bn) by the end of the 2011, according to research published by IGD.

The US market was valued at £527bn for the same period, which means it ranks second.

By 2015, the research forecasts that the Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, China and India) will be the top grocery markets.

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In European business news, the eurozone's services sector contracted again in March, but at a lower rate than in February, a report has suggested.

The Markit eurozone services purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 49.2 last month, up from 48.8 in February.

With any figure below 50 indicating a drop in output, the Markit index has now posted contractions for six of the past seven months.

In the Republic of Ireland, Markit said the country's services sector continued to expand in March, but at a slower rate that in February.

However, it added that employment levels in the Irish services sector rose in March for the first time in 11 months.

Markit also said the UK's services sector picked up in March, with more jobs being created.

It follows similarly strong March surveys from the UK's manufacturing and construction sectors.

Also in the UK, power generation company International Power has rejected a move by France's GDF Suez to take full control of the company.

Meanwhile, the latest edition of the BBC World Service's Business Daily programme looks at James Murdoch's decision to stand down as chairman of satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

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