Morning business round-up: Eurozone mulls Greek funds

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

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Eurozone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss whether to release new funds to indebted Greece.

After passing next year's budget involving large spending cuts, Athens hopes it has done enough to secure the latest instalment of bailout money.

But it could take some weeks before the EU reaches an agreement on how to deal with Greece's debt level.

Greek PM Antonis Samaras earlier warned that without the new loan, Athens would run out of money within days.

Japan's economy contracted in the July to September quarter, as a global economic slowdown and anti-Japan protests in China hurt its exports, while domestic consumption remained subdued.

Compared with the previous three months, gross domestic product contracted by 0.9%, and was down 3.5% from the same period a year earlier.

The weak data is likely to put pressure on the government to boost stimulus measures to spur growth.

Japanese electronics firm Olympus has returned to profit after an accounting scandal dented earnings last time.

The camera and medical equipment maker reported net profit of 8.02bn yen ($101m; £63m) in the six months to September compared with a loss of 32bn yen in the same period last year.

The profit was partly due to the sale of some subsidiaries but its medical systems unit also made a profit.

The camera business made a loss as a result of the strong yen and popularity of camera-equipped smartphones.

Business headlines

In India, the country's industrial output registered a surprise fall in September, adding to concerns about slowing growth in the country's economy.

Factory output fell 0.4% from a year earlier. Most analysts had projected a rise of 2.8%.

Manufacturing activity, which accounts for almost two-thirds of overall output, fell 1.5% from a year earlier.

The weak data has once again raised calls for policymakers to boost stimulus measures to spur growth.

China has said it will give foreign investors more access to its financial markets as it tries to spur a fresh wave of economic growth.

It said it will raise the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) quota once the current limit of $80bn (£50bn) is reached.

It is the second time this year that China has increased the quota.

It will also raise the limit for investors seeking to put yuan funds, raised overseas, in China's markets.

The latest Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service considers why so many big companies manage to pay so little tax when working people have no choice but to pay their share.

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BBC Business Live

  1.  
    FRENCH ECONOMY 10:06:

    French business activity was stagnant in August, the latest Markit purchasing managers index shows. But in fact that's an improvement as in July it contracted. The index shows activity in the manufacturing and services sectors climbed to 50 in August from 49.4 July. So not quite growth - as 50 separates growth contraction so technically "growth" needs to be 50.1 - but things may be getting marginally better in the eurozone's second-largest economy. Markit itself says France is stabilising at least.

     
  2.  
    PUBLIC SECTOR FINANCES 09:52:

    Usually, public finances for July show a surplus due to tax payments, but this year the Office for National Statistics says the government had to borrow £200m in the month. That's still quite a bit down on July last year when the government had to borrow about £1bn but economists had been expecting a surplus - albeit a tiny one - of £50m.

     
  3.  
    RETAIL SALES 09:39:

    British retail sales grew in July at a slower pace than forecast, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. Retail sales volumes rose 0.1% in July compared to June and 2.6% growth was seen year-on-year.

     
  4.  
    PUBLIC SECTOR FINANCES Breaking News

    Public sector net borrowing for April to July was £32.4bn compared with £23bn for the same period a year earlier, official figures show.

     
  5.  
    AIR BERLIN PROFIT 09:26:

    Air Berlin, Germany's second-biggest airline, said it returned to profit in the second quarter, up 8.6m euros compared with a loss of 38m euros a year before. It also promised a restructuring programme later this year, which it will describe in September.

     
  6.  
    CHINA MANUFACTURING 09:07:
    Workers in a manufacturing plant in Chengdu

    China's manufacturing growth slowed last month, indicating a recovery in the world's second-largest economy has yet to fully take hold, HSBC said. The Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 50.3 in August from July's 18-month high of 51.7.

     
  7.  
    GIVE PEACE A CHANCE 08:53: World Service

    On the BBC World Service's Newsday, reporter Tony Bonsignore has just interviewed Sir Richard Branson, who along with 15 other global business leaders has written an open letter to governments urging them to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine. The conflict has led to bans on everything from French pears to German sausages in Russia in response to Western sanctions. Branson said people in Russia, Ukraine and the West are "incredibly sad that after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when so much hope was taking place, we seemed to be reverting to a cold war situation".

     
  8.  
    MARKET UPDATE 08:38:

    European markets are flat as investors await economic data due out later this morning. They are looking for indicators as to the health of the eurozone with many wondering how much longer it will be before the European Central Bank is pushed into launching quantitative easing. The biggest rise on the FTSE 100 so far today is Schroders which is up 0.86% to 2,350.00p.

     
  9.  
    JACKSON HOLE 08:23: BBC Radio 4

    More from Pippa Malmgrem. She says central banks want to argue over inflation. In the developed world, there isn't enough of it and in emerging markets there's too much. So the debate, she says, will be about whether "we keep our foot on the gas pedal with all the free money or should we start to take it away?" She suggests the data is behind what is really going on in western economies, particularly on wage rises and that inflation is already a problem for emerging markets.

     
  10.  
  11.  
    MOTORING ON 08:07:
    Nissan working on the Qashqai

    Almost 8 out of 10 cars built in the UK is exported to another part of the world - who said we don't export anything these days? That's according to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). It adds 5m cars have been made and shipped out of the UK since 2010, which is the best performance of any decade.

     
  12.  
    CHARITY GIVING 07:53: Radio 5 live

    "People aren't motivated by the tax element," of giving to charity, says Anne-Marie Huby of JustGiving. Charities qualify for a number of tax exemptions and reliefs on income and capital gains, and on profits for some activities.

     
  13.  
    CHARITY GIVING 07:40: Radio 5 live

    Anne-Marie Huby, co-founder of charity donation company JustGiving, is on Wake Up to Money talking about which is the most generous town in Britain. It's Bedford. She's not sure which is the tightest, though.

     
  14.  
    SAGE OF OMAHA FINED 07:26:
    Warren Buffett

    Proof that we are all human comes from the FT this morning, which reports that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has been fined nearly $1m (£603,319) by the US Department of Justice for allegedly breaching reporting requirements when building a stake in a construction supplies company. In fairness, it's basically pocket change to a man like Buffett.

     
  15.  
    WH SMITH 07:11:
    A man walks past a WH Smith store

    WH Smith said its high street business delivered a "good performance" for the year to the end of August. It publishes full results on 16 October. It expects earnings to meet analyst forecasts.

     
  16.  
    JACKSON HOLE 07:00: BBC Radio 4

    It's that time of year when central bank policymakers come to together to discuss interest rates, inflation general world economic matters - otherwise known as Jackson Hole. Pippa Malmgrem a former advisor to President Bush on all things economic tells Today this year's meeting could be more interesting than previous years because the private sector - the banks which have been the main beneficiaries of monetary policy in recent years - have been uninvited. That, she says, is because the central banks want to have an argument and want to do it behind closed doors.

     
  17.  
    BANK OF AMERICA FINE 06:45: BBC Radio 4

    Colin McLean of SVM Asset Management tells the Today programme that an expected fine for US bank, Bank of America, will be paid half in cash and half in customer redress. There have been rumours for days that the matter with US regulators is about to be settled, he says. We're awaiting the official announcement today. The fine is expected to be the biggest in corporate history but McLean says: "Nobody wants to put the banks out of business. They really want to draw a line under this, so this does that and will let them move forward."

     
  18.  
    INTEREST RATES 06:29: Radio 5 live

    "It's normal for there to be a slight difference of view," economist Marian Bell, a former Monetary Policy Committee member tells Wake Up to Money following yesterday's minutes on the interest rate decision. Two people wanted to hike the rate from its record low. "I agree wage growth is muted... it's not an argument for not moving interest rates to a more normal setting." She'd increase it by one eighth of a percentage point.

     
  19.  
    BALFOUR MERGER 06:17: Radio 5 live

    Colin McLean of SVM Asset Management is on Wake Up to Money talking about building firms Carillion and Balfour Beatty's will-they-won't-they merger talks. Balfour rejected another offer yesterday. "It may not be the end of it," he says. "It just depends the way people are approached... These things don't ever die".

     
  20.  
    CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS 06:05: Radio 5 live

    Andy Milligan, a brand consultant, is on 5 live. How come some celebrity endorsements do well and some fail? "When it goes wrong there's a problem with credibility," he says. "In some cases we've never heard of them." George Foreman and his grill worked well because boxers want to eat healthy protein, he says.

     
  21.  
    06:01: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Morning! Get in touch with us via email: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on twitter @BBCBusiness.

     
  22.  
    06:00: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Morning folks. So what's new? Well, the Labour party is pledging this morning to give the energy regulator greater powers, while the US Federal Reserve has warned there is more slack in the labour market than first thought. We have public borrowing figures out later, while interest rates are still being discussed following the release of the Bank of England minutes yesterday. Stay with us - there'll be more.

     

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