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Morning business round-up: EU agrees on bank supervisor

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

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EU leaders have agreed to set up a single eurozone banking supervisor - a major step towards a banking union. A legislative framework is to be in place by 1 January next year, with the body starting work later in 2013.

The European Central Bank-led mechanism will have the power to intervene in any bank within the eurozone.

The deal appears to be a compromise between France and Germany, who earlier disagreed over the timing and over the number of banks the ECB would oversee.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has upheld its decision that China's tariffs on imports of certain US steel products were illegal.

Beijing had imposed duties on a particular kind of US steel, alleging that its makers were being given subsidies by the US government.

The WTO ruled against the tariffs in June, a decision it upheld saying that China had failed to prove its charges. The case is the latest in a series of trade conflicts between the counties.

"Today we are again plainly stating that we will continue to take every step necessary to ensure that China plays by the rules and does not unfairly restrict exports of US products," US trade representative Ron Kirk said.

Microsoft has reported a 22% fall in quarterly profits, after deferring some revenue ahead of the upcoming releases of its Windows 8 operating system and its latest version of Office.

Net profit for the three months to September fell to $4.47bn (£2.79bn), from $5.74bn a year earlier, and missed expectations. Total revenues fell 8% to $16bn.

PC sales fell as consumers either put off new purchases in a tight economy or opted for tablet devices instead.

Microsoft deferred a total of $1.36bn of revenue, which it will regain in the following quarter.

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Nearly all the 15,000 South African gold miners who faced dismissal for going on an illegal strike have reported for duty, their company says.

Gold Fields said that only 1,500 miners did not return for work on Thursday and so have lost their jobs.

South Africa's mining sector - one of the world's biggest - has been hit by a wave of unrest recently, which has left almost 50 people dead. Workers at several other gold mines remain on strike.

The unrest over pay has badly hit South Africa's economy, with the rand losing value and its credit rating downgraded.

In a bid to end the disputes, President Jacob Zuma this week called on workers to return to work and urged company executives to freeze their pay.

Chinese-owned carmaker Volvo has appointed a new chief executive to replace Stefan Jacoby.

Former MAN chief Haakan Samuelsson was appointed after it became clear that Mr Jacoby would not return to his post following a mild stroke in September.

The Bank of Scotland has been fined £4.2m for failing to keep accurate records of the mortgage payments of 250,000 customers.

The Financial Services Authority said the problem had lasted for seven years. The problem was due to the bank keeping the records on two separate computer systems, without always updating them.

The problem emerged when the bank tried to compensate some customers, for previously sending them confusing information about their mortgages.

The latest Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service considers how the wave of labour unrest sweeping through South Africa is transforming the entire nation's prospects.

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