07:59 UK time, Tuesday, 22 April 2014
The UK's finances are improving, and the burden of debt is falling, according to new research by McKinsey. But is the improvement fast enough?
General Motors asks a US court to bar some lawsuits relating to its recall over faulty ignition switches.
Australia approves the purchase of 58 new F-35 fighter jets worth 12.4bn Australian dollars ($11.5bn; £6.8bn).
The UK government borrowed £107.7bn in the financial year to April 2014, lower than the amount it borrowed the previous year.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is fined HK$6m ($770,000) by Hong Kong regulators for failing to detect a series of unauthorised transactions by one of its traders.
Pakistan's government is in the process of auctioning off 3G and 4G spectrum licences to the country's main service providers. Currently, Pakistan only has slower mobile internet connections. The sale is expected to raise more than $1bn (£595m) and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. For more on the story, watch Nosheen Abbas' report from Islamabad for the BBC's Asia Business Report.
The EU countries with the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio were Estonia (pictured), at 10%, Bulgaria at 18.9% and Luxembourg, with 23.1%. In the UK, it's 90.6%, but we're by no means the worst. That prize goes to Greece, with 175.1%, followed by Italy and Portugal.
tweets: "The Queen has also made the former governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, a member of the Order of the Garter."
Eurostat, the EU's number crunchers, has released its report on government debt. Overall, the amount of debt EU countries have accrued, measured as a percentage of gross domestic product, was 87.1% in 2013. That's almost 2% higher than the year before.
We have focused on Primark's move into the US, but analysts are raving about the company's latest results. Sales in the first half were up 14% and profit margins have improved. Analyst Louise Cooper describes the results at "stunning". She notes that even in Europe, where many companies are struggling, Primark is seeing strong growth.
The latest in this morning's flurry of stats are figures for the eurozone as a whole. Business activity is near a three month high, and there's also been a large increase in employment, according to Markit. Outside of France and Germany, the eurozone economy is growing at the fastest rate since early 2011.
The MPC discussed developments in the labour market. They highlighted a "striking" rise in self-employment during the three months to January and wondered whether slack in the labour market was understated by official employment figures. They also noted evidence pointing to accelerating wages.
The total net public borrowing for the financial year 2013/14 was £107.7bn. This is £7.5bn lower than the same period in 2012/13. The sale of government-owned Lloyds shares in March helped bring down the deficit, says the Office for National Statistics.
The Bank of England has released the minutes of its April interest rate policy meeting. Members of the Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously in favour of keeping rates on hold at 0.5% and to maintain the level of quantitative easing at £375bn.
The UK's public sector borrowing for March was £6.7bn, lower than expectations, according to the Office for National Statistics. Last year, it was £11.4bn.
Back-to-back chief executives for Ben Thompson on the News Channel. Now it's Nicolas Petrovic from Eurostar. His company reported a 7% rise in revenue for the first quarter. He says there is rising demand for business class tickets and that's for travellers from France as well as London. But he says lots of people are unaware that you can travel on high-speed trains from London to Amsterdam or Lyon.
Germany's economy continues to hum along according to Markit's survey of purchasing managers. The reason? "A combination of increased activity, rising new orders and further employment growth across both the manufacturing and service sectors," says Markit. However the financial information service says there's an "increasing risk of deflationary pressures" in Germany.
Saad Hammad, the chief executive of Flybe, is on the News Channel talking about the new routes offered by his airline. "This is a major statement of intent," he says. Mr Hammad wants the airline to be the UK's "regional airline". Half of the airline's customers are business travellers, usually based in the regions, or near City Airport, he says.
France's economic output, as measured by Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) has fallen to 50.9 during April. That's down from 52.1 in March, and well below analysts' expectations. "The business climate looks set to remain frail," says Jack Kennedy, an economist at Markit.
The FTSE 100 is a touch higher in early trading. Royal Mail and AstraZeneca are among the biggest winners, both up almost 2%. Elsewhere in Frankfurt the Dax is a little lower and in Paris the Cac 40 is 0.3% lower. Jet engine maker Safran is down 2.6% after reporting a 3.3% rise in revenue in the first quarter.
Shares in Primark owner Associated British Foods have jumped more than 9%. That follows the news that Primark is following a well-trodden, but perilous path for British retailers - the one that leads to the US.
Ahead of Apple's results, due this evening, Walt Mossberg has this assessment on the company's health since Steve Jobs' death. "There have been no new game-changing products," he says. "But I think the most useful way of thinking about Apple is to see it as a movie studio. Studios release blockbuster franchise movies every few years, and then try to live off a series of sequels."
tweets: "Just interviewed @Uber_mumbai about launch. Big market but not much they can do about kind of traffic am now stuck in on way back to office"
China's currency has hit another 16-month low against the dollar. The yuan hit 6.2458 against the dollar and some traders are expecting it to hit 6.26 in the coming weeks. The slowing Chinese economy is among the factors blamed for the fall. There was more evidence of that today from the latest HSBC purchasing managers survey, which showed factory activity slowing for the fourth month in a row in April.
We're slightly bemused by a line in Flybe's announcement. "Flybe will deploy five growth aircraft for its LCY operation," it says. If you've ever been on a growth aircraft, get in touch by tweeting @BBCBusiness or emailing email@example.com
Australia's PM, Tony Abbott, has approved the purchase of an additional 58 new F-35 fighter jets. The deal is reportedly worth 12.4bn Australian dollars (£6.8bn). The company which makes the F-35s, Lockheed Martin, posted first quarter earnings of $933m yesterday, a 23% rise.
Cambridge-based chip designer ARM has posted first quarter results for 2014. Its pre-tax profits are up 9% on the previous year, to £97.1m. The company says 2.9 billion ARM-based chips shipped during the quarter, up 11%.
Budget airline Flybe has announced a five-year deal with London's City Airport. New routes to and from Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, Inverness and Exeter will start in October.
Patisserie Holdings, which owns five brands including the high-street chain Patisserie Valerie, has announced it will float on the London Stock Exchange. The company says it is seeking to raise approximately £33m.
Ed Davey is also asked about fracking, and whether companies will be allowed to drill under private land without the permission of owners. Mr Davey says the government is "looking at the access rights". "The question is how those land owners are compensated and how those projects can go ahead," he adds.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey is on Today. He says the eight projects will add 2% to the average energy bill by 2020. But in return we are getting "secure, clean energy". He says the government has more renewable energy projects than they are prepared to pay for, so if any of the eight companies drop out, there are others who would take their place.
Budget clothing retailer Primark has announced it is venturing to the US. The company, which is owned by Associated British Foods, says it will open its first American branch in Boston by the end of 2015. It plans to open further stores in the north-east of the country in 2016. Given the experience of Tesco and M&S in the US, you have to admire their optimism.
Mike Amey is back on Radio 5 Live. He's discussing Vince Cable's warning over bankers' pay. He says the business secretary wants shareholders to be able to vote down pay, and good internal governance. If these measures fail to be implemented, there could be "another round of regulation coming down the tracks".
This from the Moscow Times. The founder of Russia's biggest social networking site fled the country on Tuesday. Pavel Durov, who founded Vkontakte seven years ago, was forced out of the company on Monday for refusing to share users' personal data, according to the article. It says the social network is now controlled by billionaires Igor Sechin and Alisher Usmanov, who have close links with the Kremlin.
Amid the furore over the Co-op, here's a mutual that's doing quite well. NISA, which stands for National Independent Supermarkets Association and operates over 4,000 stores, has reported a 10% rise in sales. Chief executive Neil Turton tells Wake Up to Money NISA was founded in 1977 when locals "joined together to combine their buying power". Mickey asks him if NISA convenience stores are more expensive. "Price is not the big thing for consumers - it's availability," says Mr Turton.
The Today programme picks up on comments by Business Secretary Vince Cable. He has written to all FTSE 100 companies and urged restraint over pay. In a recorded clip on Today, Mr Cable said pay had, in the past, reached "ridiculous and dangerous levels" in the banking industry. But he said companies now have a chance "to make peace with the public". Mr Cable singled out Barclays, which has its annual meeting on Thursday.
Mike Amey has more interesting markets analysis, after other pharma shares, notably Astrazeneca, also did well yesterday. "The two areas where there's the most activity at the moment are the pharmaceutical sector and things like telecoms and cable - which are both quite stable income streams, whether the economy does well and badly," he explains. When the economy starts to do better, activity starts off in the stable sectors and moves out to others, so what we are seeing is a "pretty decent recovery".
Pharma, which is business speak for pharmaceutical companies, is back in the news, with Swiss firm Novartis and GSK swapping assets yesterday. Mike Amey, managing director at Pimco, tells Wake Up to Money they are sensibly focusing on their areas of expertise and not trying and be "all things to all men". Investors seem to agree - shares in GSK went up 5% yesterday, and Novartis did well too.
The securitisation of debt - in which bundles of loans are sold on to investors - was one of the factors which led to the 2008 crash. But now both the ECB and Mark Carney are saying it could be a way to get money into the system again. Richard Hopkin, head of securitisation at AFME, tells Wake Up to Money the success of securitisation depends on who's in charge. He uses an analogy: "Cars don't cause accidents, it's the people driving the cars".
Barack Obama makes his first state visit to Japan today. He is expected to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership - an important trade deal that would eliminate trade barriers and standardise regulations. But, in a report on World Business Report, chief business correspondent Linda Yueh says Japan's rice farmers are worried it will mean the end of protection - in particular a 778% tax on imported rice.
Good morning. You can contact us throughout the morning by tweeting @BBCBusiness or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Good morning. We're expecting the government to announce several big green energy projects today. So stay with the Business Live page for that.
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