Business

Morning business round-up: Eurozone fears mount

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

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European Union leaders will meet in Brussels on Wednesday as fears mount over the region's debt crisis, amid concern that Greece may have to leave the euro.

Leaders are expected to hear the new French President, Francois Hollande, challenge the EU's German-led austerity drive.

The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, is also keeping up the pressure on Greece to fix its finances.

In an interview with the BBC, Ms Lagarde said there had to be more tax collection and structural reform.

That is despite the deep unpopularity of austerity measures imposed on Greece by the IMF and European Union in return for bailout funds.

Greek politicians are divided over whether to continue supporting those measures and face a 17 June election.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has warned that the eurozone crisis could harm the growth of East Asian economies.

The bank said that a "serious disruption" in the eurozone could hurt growth and dent demand for exports from East Asia.

It said that East Asian countries needed to boost domestic demand to rebalance their economies and sustain growth.

In company news, Fiat and Mazda have formed an alliance to develop two-seater sports cars.

The alliance will work on a car for Fiat's Alfa Romeo brand and a roadster with a different engine and styling for Mazda.

The cars will be built at Mazda's plant in Hiroshima. Both will be based on a new version of Mazda's MX 5, the car that Mazda is best known for.

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The Indian rupee hit a record low against the dollar in early trade on Wednesday.

The Indian currency fell to 55.82 rupees against the US dollar, down from 55.39 on Tuesday.

The slide comes amid concerns that slowing growth and a high rate of inflation may hurt India's economy.

Lenovo, the world's second largest PC maker, has reported a big rise in annual profits thanks to strong demand for its products in China.

Beijing-based Lenovo made $473m (£300m) in the year to 31 March, compared with $273m in the previous year.

Japan's exports rose less-than-forecast in April, hurt by a drop in shipments to China and Western Europe.

Exports rose by 7.9% from a year earlier. Most analysts had forecast growth of close to 12%.

Reebok India has lodged a police complaint against two former executives, accusing them of commercial and financial irregularities.

The firm alleged that former managing director Subhinder Singh Prem and ex-chief operating officer Vishnu Bhagat set up secret warehouses, fudged accounts and indulged in fictitious sales.

It said such activities by the two had resulted in a loss of almost 13bn rupees ($233m; £160m).

UK defence giant BAE has signed a £1.9bn ($3bn) deal with Saudi Arabia to supply aircraft, including 22 Hawk trainer jets, and training equipment.

According to trade union Unite, 218 jobs at the East Yorkshire factory where the aircraft is made will now be saved.

Retail sales volumes in the UK fell by 2.3% in April, largely because of a record fall in petrol sales, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Sales of fuel were down by 13.2% in April. In March, motorists had panic-bought petrol ahead of a threatened tanker driver strike.

Sales of clothing and footwear were also affected by April's record rainfall.

Luxury fashion retailer Burberry has reported strong growth in annual profits as it continues to expand around the world.

Pre-tax profits were up 24% to £366m, with sales also up 24% to £1.86bn.

The company said the Asia Pacific region accounted for 37% of both retail and wholesale revenue. The firm plans to invest £200m this year and open 12-14% more space.

The latest Business Daily podcast considers the impact that a slowdown in China could have on the rest of the world.

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