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Summary

  1. The morning's main business programmes are available on the Live Coverage tab
  2. Shell 'warned Nigeria pipeline could leak before spills'
  3. Oil price falls to four-year low
  4. Virgin Money raises £150m from share sale

Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Matthew West

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's it for today. We're back tomorrow from 06:00. Eurozone growth figures are out, which should give us something to chew over. See you then.

ASDA TRADING UPDATE

Asda chief executive Andy Clarke has joined the bosses of the other major supermarkets in declaring that "a new reality is upon us". He's talking about changes in customer shopping habits like the growth in online shopping and the threat from discount supermarkets. Yesterday, Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe said industry like-for-like sales would be lower for a number of years to come.

Via Twitter

Dominic Laurie

Reporter for Five Live

tweets: "When is a fall not a fall? When it is a "step back". Asda reports a "1.6% step back in sales in 13 weeks to 30th September 2014""

BUFFETT BATTERY BUY

Warren Buffett - through his Berkshire Hathaway investment firm - is buying the Duracell battery business from Procter and Gamble, reports Bloomberg news.

Back in October P&G said it planned to exit the battery business, as part of an effort to slim down the consumer goods giant.

Via Twitter

Ed Cox, northern director, Institute for Public Policy Research

Regtional Gross Value Added
IPPR

tweets: "

Is London becoming another country? GVA growth in past decade #stateofthenorth #10for10"

MURDOCH'S NEXT MOVE?

Rupert Murdoch
AP

Now that Sky (formerly BSkyB) has created a European giant, what's next?

Deadline Hollywood speculates that Rupert Murdoch could sell his 39% stake in Sky, worth up to $5bn, to fund another bid for Time Warner. However, back in August
Mr Murdoch said he was "resolute" in dropping his bid for the US media giant. We'll see how resolute.

ASDA TRADING UPDATE

An Asda supermarket in Cardiff
PA

Supermarket Asda says underlying sales turned negative in its third quarter, hit by tough market conditions which have pushed sales volume growth lower and price deflation. Asda, which vies with Sainsbury's for the title of the UK's second largest supermarket behind Tesco, says sales at stores open over a year fell 1.6% in the three months to the end of September. That compares to a 0.5% rise in like-for-like sales in the previous three months.

FOXCONN RESULTS

One of Apple's most important suppliers, Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision, has reported an 11% rise in net profit in the third quarter to $1.14bn (£724m), according to the AFP news agency. Hon Hai is better know by its trade name, Foxconn. Almost half of the company's revenue is generated by orders from Apple.

FALLING OIL PRICES

Will OPEC try to halt the decline price of oil? They can try, says Capital Economics: "Even if the cartel does cut its official output target, this would best be seen as a response to the lack of demand for the cartel's oil rather than a serious attempt to drive prices higher again." OPEC nations meet on 27 November.

FAG FERRY FINE

cigarettes
Reuters

British American Tobacco (BAT) says it will challenge allegations by HMRC that it oversupplied cigarettes to Belgium, that were than smuggled back to the UK. HMRC has imposed a £650,000 fine on BAT, but the company says it cannot be held responsible for the actions of smugglers and consumers that bring back cheap cigarettes on so called fag ferries. "We are not a law enforcement agency," it said in a statement.

MARKET UPDATE

The

FTSE 100 has pushed higher this morning, now up 0.35%, with Morrison Supermarkets the biggest winner up 2.9%.

EUROZONE INFLATION

The euro logo
AFP

A group of 61 economists, academics and other forecasters surveyed by the European Central Bank (ECB) expect eurozone inflation of 1% next year and 1.4% in 2016, data released today shows. That's down from earlier forecasts of 1.2% and 1.5% respectively. They add falling oil prices and widespread political tensions could lead to a slowdown in economic growth to 1.2% next year, from a previous estimate of 1.5%.

BUDGET DEFICIT FORECASTS

How do you make £2.8bn disappear from the UK budget deficit? It might sound like a magic trick, or at the very least a rhetorical question. The BBC's head of statistics Anthony Reuben

explains why working out how much debt we're all in is actually quite a tricky business.

Via Email

CHINA SLOWDOWN

Mark Williams, chief Asia economist, Capital Economics

Today's activity and spending data have brought further evidence that Q4 has got off to a slow start. But with President Xi sounding relaxed about the prospect of a drop to 7% GDP growth, a shift in policy still seems unlikely.

MORTGAGE ARREARS

Table showing falling mortgage arrears and repossessions
CML

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has released its latest mortgage arrears and repossessions data for the three months to the end of September. Once again the figures show a drop in both people falling behind in their mortgage payments or having their home repossessed. The number of mortgage borrowers in arrears was 125,100, down from 131,400 three months earlier. The proportion of all properties repossessed by mortgage lenders was 0.04%, or 5,000 properties, the CML adds.

WEAK POUND

Pound dollar
BLOOMBERG

The pound is heading lower again, adding to Wednesday's loss. Comments from Bank of England governor, Mark Carney reinforced the feeling that interest rates are not heading higher in the UK anytime soon. The pound traded as low as $1.5756 - the lowest level since September of last year.

OIL DOWN AGAIN

Brent Crude five years
Bloomberg

Brent crude oil fell to a four-year low

below $80 a barrel this morning, after Chinese data showed a further slowdown in activity in the world's biggest energy consumer and Saudi Arabia remained silent about a possible cut in production. Brent crude for December, which expires today fell 83 cents to $79.55, its lowest since September 2010, before recovering slightly to around $79.85.

SABMILLER RESULTS

SAB Miller chief executive, Alan Clark
BBC

SABMiller is the biggest brewer in China,

but sales there have been hit in the last couple of months by poor weather in the central regions, the company's chief executive Alan Clark says on World Business Report. He thinks it is a short term issue. Soft drinks are becoming increasingly important for the company and now account for 20% of its sales volume, Mr Clark says.

DRONE DELIVERIES

BBC Radio 4

Amazon box
Getty Images

Amazon is advertising for staff to work on its drone delivery project in Cambridge, England. On

Today Andrew Griffiths from DroneFlight.co.uk points out the legal difficulties of drone delivery, one being that you cannot fly a vehicle out of your line of sight. He says an option might be to have official flight lanes and drop off points.

BIGGER HOMES

Steph McGovern
BBC

On average British homes are the smallest in western Europe. Steph McGovern is at a building site in Nottingham this morning for

Breakfast, where she is illustrating the larger houses recommended by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Its one floor, one bedroom house is 6 square meters bigger than the current average.

JUNCKER DEFENDED

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
AP

German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble has defended European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who has faced calls to go following reports Luxembourg - where he was prime minister for 20 years - granted deals to some 340 companies allowing them to avoid tax. Mr Schaeuble told German radio today: "The practice is annoying but to make personal accusations out of it? There was no breach of any legal rules. The same thing was done in other countries."

MARKET UPDATE

European markets have opened a little higher so far this morning. In Paris good earnings news from French telecoms firm Iliad and plans to return money to shareholders at turbine maker Alstom have helped investor sentiment. The

London Stock Exchange is leading early gains in London up 1.5%, following its half-year earnings update earlier today.

CHINA SLOWDOWN

Chinese steel plant
Getty Images

There's been a lot of data on the Chinese economy this morning and it all points to a continued slowdown.

  • Industrial production growth falls to 7.7% in October
  • Power generation fell in October, the third month of decline
  • Retail sales growth slows to 11.5% in October

TAX CUTS ROW

Conservative Party Leader and Prime Minister David Cameron
PA

The Financial Times reports today that

senior Whitehall officials fear a promise made by prime minister David Cameron to make £7.2bn of tax cuts in the next parliament will undermine already fragile public finances. Mr Cameron made the promise during the Conservative party conference. Treasury officials are increasingly worried they will be forced to rely on a narrowing band of taxpayers to plug the deficit, the newspaper reports.

SHELL PIPELINE WARNING

An indigene of Bodo, Ogoniland region in Rivers State, tries to separate with a stick the crude oil from water in a boat at the Bodo waterways polluted by oil spills attributed to Shell equipment failure August 11, 2011
PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP

Shell was warned that a pipeline in Nigeria could leak, before it spilled hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil. BBC Business Reporter, Howard Mustoe has seen court documents showing that Shell's own executives were concerned about the state of the pipeline.

SKY EUROPE DEALS COMPLETE

Sky television remote control,
PA

BSkyB has announced that it has completed the takeover of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland. Both broadcasters were previously owned by 21st Century Fox. The company is also changing its name from BSkyB to Sky.

ITV TRADING UPDATE

Broadcaster ITV has reported an 8% rise in revenue to £1.8bn. ITV chief executive Adam Crozier, says the broadcaster is on course to "deliver another year of double digit profit growth". He also said 2015 looks strong with the return of hit show Broadchurch, the Rugby World Cup and new shows including Thunderbirds Are Go!

VIRGIN MONEY

Virgin Money has priced shares at 283p each ahead of its stock market flotation later this month. That would give the company a market value of £1.25bn. Shares are expected to start trading on 18 November. The share sale will raise £150m for Virgin Money.

TESCO

BBC Radio 4

Tesco trolleys
PA

Some fascinating reporting by Simon Cox from

Radio 4's The Report. He has been investigating Tesco's relationship with its suppliers in the run up to its accounting problems. Suppliers were being asked for lump sums, which is not unusual in the supermarket business. But its seems Tesco was being very aggressive, particularly as sales started to slow, says Simon. One former Tesco buyer told him it was a "brutal" environment.

CURRENCY TRADING SCANDAL

BBC Radio 4

Steven Bell, chief economist at F&C Asset Management says that an unethical culture at banks led to the trading scandal on

Today. But, he says, that culture is changing as compliance officers are now in charge. Before they just sat in the corner and were ignored, according to Mr Bell.

ENERGY BILLS

Radio 5 live

SSE sign
PA

Alistair Phillips-Davies, the chief executive of energy firm SSE is on

Wake Up to Money. His company did some polling recently and found that customers believe that 25% of their bill goes towards company profits. But profits only make up between 3% and 4%, he says. Mr Phillips-Davies hopes an official review into the energy market will help clarify the true state of the market in the public's mind.

CURRENCY TRADING SCANDAL

Radio 5 live

Steve Bell chief economist, F&C Asset Management tells

Wake Up to Money: "The public think bankers are all spivs and crooks and it's going to take a long time before that changes." Banks now employ thousands and thousands of compliance officers and "have lost their buccaneering spirit," he says.

CURRENCY TRADING SCANDAL

"Why aren't crooked bankers in prison?"

asks the Daily Mail today. The article does not really answer the question but does say that "dozens" of traders face prosecution following yesterday's massive fines for five banks for fixing the currency markets. An investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is now expected to escalate, says the article.

INFLATION REPORT

Radio 5 live

Mr Broadbent reiterates the Bank of England's position on interest rates. "We expect the path of interest rates to be different than in the past and the rise in interest rates to be gentler and more gradual. But we have also said that the timing of an interest rate rise is less important than the rate of increase."

INFLATION REPORT

Radio 5 live

More from Bank of England deputy governor, Ben Broadbent: "There are signs that productivity is beginning to improve though and that is the real driver of wage rises," he says on

Wake Up to Money. He expects that trend to continue over the next few years and "for things to begin to return to normal".

DREAMWORKS HASBRO DEAL?

The Princess and Shrek
Dreamworks

The giant toymaker Hasbro is in talks to buy the animated movie studio, Dreamworks,

according to the New York Times. Dreamworks has been up for sale for a while and recently held takeover talks with Japan's Softbank. Hasbro's chief executive has long wanted to build an entertainment business, the report says.