Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Trade in rouble continues to be volatile
  2. India's SpiceJet grounded over unpaid bills

Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Matthew West

All times stated are UK

Matthew West

Business Reporter

That's it for Wednesday. No doubt we'll be keeping an eye on the rouble and oil prices again tomorrow. Aside from that there will be November retail sales figures to look at, which should include data from the Black Friday sales carnage/bonanza (depending on your viewpoint). See you at 06:00.

Via Email

Russia's financial crisis

Capital Economics

"The currency union's [eurozone's] direct trade and financial exposures to Russia are limited. Only about 5% of the region's exports go to Russia, the equivalent of around 1% of euro-zone GDP, and banking sector exposures amount to less than 1% of banking sector assets."

Via Twitter

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland

"Oil turmoil hits wages: Wood Group (with 12k UK employees) cuts contractor pay by 10% and freezes staff pay, in PSN division from Jan 31"

Russia crisis

The Russian government sees no point in introducing "extremely tough" regulations on the foreign exchange market and will continue to use market-economy mechanisms to deal with the falling rouble, says Prime Minister Medvedev. He insists the rouble is undervalued and the current sharp decline in its value has been caused by objective factors and by "emotions" too.

Russia crisis

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) chairs a meeting on economic issues
Reuters

Russian finance minister Alexei Moiseyev has been quoted by Russia's Interfax news agency as saying the government is going to sell foreign currency "as much as necessary and as long as necessary." The hope is this will stop the rouble's slide against the US dollar. It comes as prime minister Dmitry Medvedev called a meeting with the heads of Russia's largest exporters and pledged to implement a "package of measures" to prevent a further decline in the currency.

Via Twitter

Simon Gompertz

Personal finance correspondent, BBC News

"

Guilty secrets and murky past of pensions industry revealed, says minister Steve Webb"

Spending cuts

There's some punchy stuff coming from Labour leader Ed Miliband over at the House of Commons for Prime Minister's Questions. He has just asked David Cameron whether the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has joined the BBC (yes us) in a conspiracy against the Conservative party over government spending cuts.

US interest rates

US Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen
Reuters

The US Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day policy meeting later today. Previously Fed chief Janet Yellen has said that interest rates will stay low for a "considerable time". In the arcane world of central banking it would be significant (and for some very exciting) if that phase is dropped from its statement today. It would be viewed as signal that the Fed is moving closer to an increase in interest rates.

Employment tribunal fees ruling

Trades union Unison has lost its latest High Court legal battle over the employment tribunal fees which it had argued were "unfair and punitive". Unison argued the fees system breached European Union legal principle and rendered employment rights "illusory". The union also argued that it indirectly discriminated against women, ethnic minorities and the disabled without any justification. But the High Court ruled the fees were "justified and proportionate".

Cinemas pull Sony film

Security is seen outside The Theatre at Ace Hotel before the premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los Angeles, California, on 11 December 2014
AFP

The New York premiere of The Interview, a comedy about the assassination of North Korea's president, has been cancelled amid threats from hackers. A spokesman for Landmark, the cinema chain due to host the New York premiere, confirmed the showing had been cancelled but gave no reason, Reuters news agency reported. Carmike Cinemas, which operates 278 venues across the country, has cancelled planned screenings.

Baidu invests in Uber

Uber logo
Reuters

Taxi service provider Uber has an influential new investor. Chinese search engine, Baidu has invested an undisclosed sum in Uber, which already operates in nine Chinese cities. However, it is well behind two local taxi service apps so it is, no doubt, hoping the link with Baidu will give it a leg-up.

Via Email

Interest rates

Samuel Tombs

Senior UK economist, Capital Economics

The minutes of the UK MPC's meeting in December show that the recovery in real wages will have to strengthen further before a majority will vote to raise interest rates... [We] still expect bank rate to rise to 1% by the end of 2015.

Tech apprenticeships fall

Computer user
Getty Images

You would think that going into IT would be a pretty solid career choice. After all, the industry has long complained about a lack of skilled staff.

But ComputerWorldUK has burrowed into government data and discovered that the number of young people starting IT apprenticeships reached its lowest level in three years in 2013/14.

Nut rage

Macadamia nuts
Science Photo Library

Remember

last week's nut rage incident? A Korean Air executive forced a jet to return to the gate after she was served macadamia nuts in a bag rather than on a plate. Well, Hawaii's macadamia nut growers are delighted about the publicity the incident has given their product. Their trade body said the nut is not well known outside of Hawaii and the West Coast. `"If anything should be served on a silver tray, it should be macadamia nuts," Richard Schnitzler, president of Hamakua Macadamia Nut told the AP news agency.

Unemployment

The unemployment rate - that's the percentage of the adult working population out of work - remains unchanged at 6%. Some analysts had expected the rate to fall to 5.9% for the first time since September 2008. The 63,000 fall was also the smallest drop in unemployment since the July to September quarter last year, the ONS says.

Via Twitter

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland

"

Asda cuts 2p off unleaded to max 110.7p, 1p off diesel to 117.7p. "Fuel-tide greetings from Asda": Urgh"

Via Email

Wages

Howard Archer

Chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight

"While real earnings growth is currently still limited, its prospects are looking increasingly bright given likely extended very low inflation as well as a seemingly gradually developing uptrend in earnings growth. This bodes well for consumer spending in 2015, although it needs to be borne in mind that consumers have faced a prolonged squeeze on their purchasing power."

Unemployment

Iain Duncan Smith
BBC

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, has hailed the latest employment figures and pointed out that "not only has there been an increase in jobs but two thirds of those jobs created have been managerial and professional". He also claims most of the jobs created have been full-time roles and that "no one that has sought a full time job in the last year has failed to find one".

Bank of England minutes

The monetary policy committee said there had been two significant economic developments from November to December. The first was the sharp fall in oil prices. It also noted the sharp drop in market interest rates, which it said was likely to reflect the market expectations that global growth was weakening.

Via Twitter

Robert Peston

Economics editor

"

Regular pay & pay incl bonuses rose bit faster in 3 months to Oct than Oct CPI & current CPI inflation. Not yet firm trend, but encouraging"

Average wages

Average pay excluding bonuses was up 1.6% if you compare August to October with a year earlier. That is well ahead of October's Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figure of 1.3%.

Bank of England minutes

The Bank of England has released minutes from its policy meeting earlier this month. Members of the monetary policy committee again voted 7-2 in favour of keeping interest rates at a record low level.

BreakingBreaking News

Unemployment falls by 63,000

Unemployment fell by 63,000 in the three months to October to 1.96 million, official figures show.

Via Email

Pension charges

Simon Gompertz

Personal finance correspondent, BBC News

An independent body set up to look at high pension charges finds some pension savers in old schemes being charged more than 2% or even more than 3% a year. Out of £67.5bn of pension savings looked at by the Independent Project Board, £8bn was exposed to charges of more than 2% and £0.9bn was exposed to over 3% in annual charges.

Dixons Carphone

Radio 5 live

Sebastian James, chief executive of Dixons Carphone has been on

Radio 5 live. Christmas has changed for ever with the arrival of Black Friday, he says. It marks a start to the Christmas shopping season. Sales of iPads are down this year. Mr James thinks that most people who want one, have got one.

Volatile rouble

Rouble dollar
Bloomberg

It continues to be a volatile session for the Russian rouble. You can see a sharp dip in the chart above, when the rouble strengthened after the Russian finance ministry said that it had been active in the currency market. That had some impact although the dollar is heading higher again, now buying almost 67 roubles.

Market update

European markets are lower this morning with energy stocks under pressure as the price of oil continues to fall and markets wait to see if the Russian central bank takes further action to support the rouble, which went into freefall on Tuesday.

Dixons Carphone shares are 4.2% higher to 444.90p after the newly merged firm released half year underlying pre-tax profits of £78m.

Apple shuts Russian store

Apple products Moscow
Reuters

Apple has halted online sales of its iPhones, iPads and other products in Russia because the Russian currency has become too volatile. Last month Apple increased its prices in Russia by 20% after the weakening rouble left products in the country cheaper than in the rest of Europe.

Via Twitter

Simon Jack

Business correspondent, BBC News

"

Russian finance ministry are in the fx market - rouble up 6%. 64 roubles to the dollar."

Christmas mail

BBC Breakfast, Steph McGovern
BBC

Steph McGovern is at a Royal Mail sorting office in Exeter, where at peak times they will sort a million items a day. They've gone from 200 to 350 staff. She speaks to Sharon Little, from the Greeting Cards Association, who says Brits are going to be buying or giving a billion Christmas cards this year.

Newspaper review

Business pages
BBC

The business pages are dominated by Russia's financial crisis.

Writing in the Financial Times Professor Sergei Guriev says the markets have been spooked by reports that Russian banks were forced to finance $40bn of debt from oil company Rosneft. In other news,
the Guardian reports that discount chains, Aldi and Lidl are likely to have "won" Christmas for the second year running.
In the Telegraph Jeremy Warner warns that without an orderly exit from the euro, "Greece is finished".

Russia crisis

BBC Radio 4

The UK's direct exposure to Russia is very small, around 2.5% of bank capital, says Bank of England deputy governor for financial stability, Sir Jon Cunliffe on the

Today programme. But there could be an indirect effect he says if Russia's crisis has a knock-on effect to other markets. And there has been some evidence of increasing volatility, he says.

American Apparel saga

American Apparel former owner Dov Charney
Reuters

US fashion retailer, American Apparel has kicked out its founder Dov Charney. In June the board suspended him while it investigated allegations that he misused company funds and harassed a former employee. The company had been trying to find a role for Mr Charney in the company, but those efforts have failed.

Dixons Carphone

Dixons Carphone incurred costs of £100m following the merger of the two firms, £67m of which involved restructuring costs that included a store closure programme in Germany and the Netherlands. It also reorganised its head office closed a wholesale hardware business in Germany. The costs wiped out Dixons Carphone's profits so that it actually reported a statutory loss of £20m.

Russian rouble slump

Dollar rouble
Bloomberg

Trading in the Russian rouble continues to be volatile. At the moment a dollar buys around 70 roubles, a sharp decline from late on Tuesday when a dollar bought 64 roubles. As the chart above shows, at one stage on Tuesday a dollar was worth 77 roubles.

WPP new chairman

Advertising giant WPP has appointed Roberto Quarta as chairman-designate. He will succeed Philip Lader in June 2015, assuming shareholders vote in favour. He is currently chairman of Smith & Nephew. Mr Quarta described the appointment as a "great honour".

Dixons Carphone profits

Newly merged Dixons Carphone has reported pre-tax profit for the six month to the end of October of £80m. Like-for-like sales rose 5% to £100m in the period.

Fishing quotas

Radio 5 live

Fishing boat, UK
PA

A new european deal on fishing quotas has been welcomed by some British fishermen. "The package on a whole is a positive," says Simon Collins from the Shetland Fishermen's association on
Radio 5 live. "Britain can be proud," he says as the nation's fisheries have been recovering.

Oil prices

BBC Radio 4

"We have had so many conspiracy theories in the last few months," Amrita Sen tells

Today. They include that OPEC is helping the US wage economic war against Russia. She thinks the explanation is far more benign. There are two groups within OPEC, one which includes Saudi Arabai that can afford lower oil prices and another group which is suffering, Ms Sen says.

Oil prices

BBC Radio 4

An oil pump works at sunset in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain
AP

Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects tells

Today that the re-entry of Libyan oil to the market was an important reason why oil prices fell from $115 a barrel to $85 a barrel over the summer. But the recent fall of $25 to $30 a barrel has been "panic" because OPEC did not cut production, she says. "The current oil price isn't supported by fundamentals."