Morning business round-up: Fears of 'currency wars'

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France is set to voice concerns about the strength of the euro at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers later.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici is worried that the rising single currency is making the country's goods less competitive.

The euro has risen by 6% against a basket of other currencies in the past six months, but with other countries also wanting to weaken their exchange rates, there are renewed fears of "currency wars".

Last week, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi was deemed to be trying to talk down the euro at his press conference following the bank's latest rate decision.

This appeared to have some effect, with the euro dropping sharply. However, on Monday morning the euro rebounded, jumping more than 1% against both the yen and the pound.

The euro was up 1.1% at 125.30 yen, while against the pound it rose 1% to 85.41 pence.

Barclays misled shareholders and the public about one of the biggest investments in the bank's history, an investigation by the BBC Panorama programme has found.

The bank announced in 2008 that Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour had agreed to invest more than £3bn.

But the BBC found that the money, which helped Barclays avoid a bailout by British taxpayers, actually came from the Abu Dhabi government.

Barclays said the mistake in its accounts was "a drafting error".

French ministers are to hold talks with key players in the meat industry as the horsemeat scandal widens to up to 16 countries.

Seven French supermarket chains have withdrawn frozen beef meals made by Findus and Comigel.

The move followed the discovery that foods sold in Europe labelled as beef contained horsemeat.

The scandal has raised questions about the complexity of the food industry's supply chains across the EU, and it has already had an impact on distributors in the UK, France, Sweden, Ireland and Romania.

It is feared that food products in a further 11 EU countries may be affected.

Technology giants Apple, Microsoft and Adobe have been called by the Australian parliament to appear before a committee looking at pricing levels.

The House of Representatives launched an investigation in July last year to see if some goods were more expensive in Australia than in other parts of the world.

Consumer bodies have often complained that Australians are overcharged.

The firms have previously made written submissions to the committee, but have so far declined to appear in person. They are now scheduled to appear before the committee on 22 March.

Staying in Australia, figures have shown that home-loan approvals in the country have fallen for a third month, despite the central bank cutting its main interest rates.

Approvals fell 1.5% in December from November.

Australia's central bank cut interest rates four times in 2012 in an attempt to boost investment and growth in non-mining sectors such as construction.

However, analysts said many mortgage lenders had not passed on the lower borrowing costs, while consumers feared that rates may climb again.

In the UK, confidence among businesses hit its lowest level in at least 21 years last month, a survey has suggested.

Accountancy firm BDO, which published the survey, says its findings indicate that the economy will struggle to grow in the first quarter of this year.

That is despite signs of improvement in the labour market, it says, with firms intending to hire more staff.

On the latest Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service, Uganda's central bank governor speaks of his frustration with the banks who refuse to lower their high interest rates. The programme also looks at debt problems in Uganda, and the scourge of inflation - how it affects ordinary people.

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BBC Business Live

  1.  
    ANA PROFITS 08:31:
    Japan scene

    Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) has reported a return to profits in the three months to June. The better result was thanks to expansion at a Tokyo airport and changes to its pension plan. Net profit came in at 3.5bn yen (£20m) against a loss of 6.6bn yen. Sales were 10% higher.

     
  2.  
    BANKER BONUSES 08:24: Radio 5 live

    Shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, says the previous Labour government should have been tougher on bankers' bonuses. "Most of the criticism of the Labour government from the banking sector and the Conservative party was that we were much too tough on the banks. Now in retrospect, those criticisms were wrong because we should have been tougher," he tells 5 live. He points out that no one at the time was pressing them to crack down further.

     
  3.  
    AMAZON INDIA Via Email Simon Atkinson Editor, India Business Report

    The editor of India Business Report in Mumbai emails: "Online shopping is still in its infancy in India but growing fast. The market's led by local players but Amazon is upping its presence - and today said it's investing $2bn in its India operations. But restrictions on e-commerce here mean it can't hold its own stock like it does in the UK and US. - for now at least it is only a 'platform' for others to sell through."

     
  4.  
    BAT PROFITS 08:07:
    A pile of cigarettes

    Tobacco giant British American Tobacco reports a fall in profits to £2.6bn in the six months to 301 June from £2.9bn a year earlier. It blames the strength of the pound but revenue is also lower, down 10% to £6.8bn in the period. Volume - which measures the number of actual cigarettes sold - fell 0.4%.

     
  5.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 07:55: BBC Radio 4

    Back to Barclays profits for a moment as Antony Jenkins also tells Today that staff at his bank are changing their ways: "Staff at Barclays are fully behind what we're trying to do with our culture change programme." He says staff know this is not only "the right thing to do" but also the way to better profits.

     
  6.  
    ELECTRICITY CUT 07:43:
    Pylons

    Regulator Ofgem has announced a cut in distribution charges that will mean a £12 a year average reduction in electricity bills. And, incidentally, offers us the opportunity to publish a nice picture of pylons.

     
  7.  
    BANKER BONUSES 07:32: BBC Radio 4

    Barclays boss Antony Jenkins tells the Today programme his bank can already take action against mis-behaving bankers: "If someone has done something wrong and performed badly we have the right too claw the bonus back today."

     
  8.  
    HEADLINES
  9.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 07:27: BBC Radio 4

    Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays is on the Today programme: "These are an encouraging set of results... Our capital position has never been stronger."

     
  10.  
    ITV PROFITS 07:27:

    ITV boss Adam Crozier says the broadcaster's "share of viewing" improved during its second quarter helped by the World Cup. He says he is confident of ITV's Autumn schedule of both new and returning drama and entertainment will help keep audience figures high. Meanwhile, ITV has benefitted from the economic recovery - specifically an improved advertising market.

     
  11.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 07:19:

    Investment bank income at Barclays fell 18%, reflecting a fall in customers. This follows allegations about malpractice in "dark pool" trading. Essentially, these are private stock markets and are the latest area of banking to be probed by regulators.

     
  12.  
    ITV PROFITS 07:19:

    ITV says total external revenues rose 7% to £1.2bn in the six months to 30 June, while revenue from its online, pay and interactive TV unit was up 20% to £67m.

     
  13.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 07:13:
    Barclays logo

    More on Barclays: Statutory pre-tax profit was £2.5bn (2013: £1.7bn), reflecting the fact bank had to set aside another £900m for PPI redress Read the full release here.

     
  14.  
    ITV PROFITS 07:10:
    ITV logo

    A strong set of numbers from broadcaster ITV this morning. Annual pre-tax profits are up 40% to £250m in the six months to 30 June compared with £179m for the same period last year.

     
  15.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 07:03:

    Barclays profit before tax is down 10% at £3.84bn.

     
  16.  
    BRITISH GAS BOSS 07:03:
    Iain Conn

    In all the excitement over bankers' bonuses we nearly forgot this. British Gas owner Centrica has succeeded in its pursuit of Iain Conn, confirming he will become its new chief executive from January 2015, succeeding Sam Laidlaw who is retiring. Mr Conn joins from BP where he has been chief executive, of BP's refining and marketing division,for the past seven years.

     
  17.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 06:52: BBC Radio 4
    Pedestrians pass a branch of Barclays Bank in the rain in London

    Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets is talking to the Today programme about Barclays interim results - coming up imminently. He says the investment banking arm of Barclays is "not listening" to new boss Antony Jenkins who has been trying to clean up the bank's reputation and practices.

     
  18.  
    DRIVERLESS CARS 06:44:
    Nissan car

    It's going to be a bank-heavy day today let's face it, but just to provide a break from all that, the government will be announcing changes in the law that will pave the way for driverless cars to take to Britain's roads next year. The government wants the UK to become a leader in developing the technology. In December, the Treasury said it would create a £10m prize to fund a town or city to become a testing ground for the cars.

     
  19.  
    MUSLIM ACCOUNTS 06:36:

    HSBC has told three Muslim organisations it will close their bank accounts. These are the Finsbury Park Mosque in North London, a think-tank on Islamic issues called the Cordoba Foundation based in West London, and a Muslim charity in Bolton called the Ummah Welfare Trust, which works in 20 countries giving aid. HSBC says the decisions were "absolutely not based on race and religion".

     
  20.  
    BANKER BONUSES 06:30: Radio 5 live

    More from Ms Mangwana on Wake Up to Money. She says the proposed seven year rule may be more about changing culture in banking and the way in which bankers view their bonuses. But she also points out bonuses are generally paid in tranches that vest over a number of years, already (commonly anything between three and five years). "That's the current formula and there are [already] mechanisms to reclaim those bonuses," she says.

     
  21.  
    TWITTER SHARES 06:21:
    Twitter

    In case this happened too late for you, Twitter shares rocketed 30% on stronger-than-expected financial results. Revenue more than doubled in the second quarter. Shares rose to $50 in after hours trading. Still down on its high of $74.73, hit in December.

     
  22.  
    BANKER BONUSES 06:10: Radio 5 live

    Samantha Mangwana, employment lawyer at Slater Gordon told Wake Up to Money seven years is a long time to hold a bonus and regulators may well find it difficult to reclaim money. It is highly likely bankers will have gone and spent the money already, she says, and have nothing that the Bank of England can reclaim.

     
  23.  
    BANKER BONUSES 06:07: BBC World News
    Tom Stephenson

    Those new rules on bankers' bonuses are expected to recommend a claw-back period of seven years. Tom Stephenson from Fidelity Worldwide on BBC World News says they could have been tougher: "One of the suggestions was that bankers could be jailed for a significant fall in profits - that's quite something isn't it. Even so, being able to claw back bonuses for seven years is pretty draconian."

     
  24.  
    06:02: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Good morning folks. It's looking like a busy day today. We also have trading updates from ITV and house builder Taylor Wimpey. As always you can get in touch via email at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk and on twitter @bbcbusiness

     
  25.  
    06:00: Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News

    Welcome again to the Live page. We're going to be banking heavy. There's Barclays results - in about an hour - and later this morning the Bank of England will release new restrictions on bankers' bonuses, said to be the toughest in the world. We'll see.

     

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