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Morning business round-up: Lonmin regrets mine deaths

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

Mining firm Lonmin says it "deeply regrets" the deaths that occured after clashes between police and strikers at its Marikana platinum mine.

More than 30 people were killed on Thursday when police opened fire after failing to disperse strikers armed with clubs and machetes at the mine.

The mine has been at the centre of a pay dispute, made worse by tensions between rival trade unions.

Shares in Lonmin fell by about 8% on Friday morning before recovering. The company's share price has fallen by more than 12% since the clashes began and is now at its lowest level for more than three-and-a-half years.

China's state-owned miner, China National Gold, has held preliminary talks to buy a stake in African Barrick Gold (ABG), one of Africa's largest gold miners.

Demand for gold in China has surged and it is expected to become the world's biggest market for the metal this year.

African Barrack has large reserves but has struggled to meet production targets.

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Singapore's non-oil exports jumped in July as robust demand from Asia helped offset a decline in shipments to Western economies.

Exports rose 5.8% from a year earlier, boosted by rise in shipments to China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

However, exports to the US and eurozone fell amid the ongoing economic issues in those regions.

Analysts said shipments, which include electronics and pharmaceuticals, may slow in the coming months.

"The concern is that going forward the US outlook is still rather uncertain given the fiscal headwinds and our view that Europe's recession will probably deepen," said Chua Hak Bin, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Singapore's non oil-exports are dominated by the electronics, petrochemicals and pharmaceutical sectors.

The average rent paid by private tenants in England and Wales reached a new record high in July, of £725 a month, a letting group has said.

LSL, which owns the Your Move and Reeds Rains property chains, said average rents rose by 1% last month and were 2.9% higher than a year ago.

This was due to growing numbers unable to get a mortgage, it said.

The number of homes started by builders in England has also fallen again, to the lowest level for three years.

The latest Business Daily programme from the BBC World Service looks back on another bad week for bankers, with new developments in American investigations into interest rate manipulation and sanctions busting with Iran. Is this a sign of cultural problems in the industry and if so, can they be fixed?

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