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Summary

  1. Euro falls to a nine-year low against the dollar
  2. John Lewis boss says Black Friday is 'at a high water mark'

Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Howard Mustoe

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Howard Mustoe

Business reporter

That's all for today. Join us tomorrow with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars annual sales figures and some fine data from the Bank of England detailing how strong the banks are. Join us from 06:00.

Euro down

Euro dollar
Bloomberg

The euro has made another move lower against the dollar. It is back below $1.19 against the US currency. That's down by more than a cent from Friday's close.

Chicken Nugget

mcdonalds
Getty Images

More problems for McDonalds in Asia. The fast food giant is investigating how a piece of vinyl ended up in a Japanese customer's chicken McNugget. In July, Chinese officials shut food-supplier Shanghai Husi following a television report alleging that the plant mixed out-of-date meat with fresh meat which it then supplied to McDonald's, among other firms. That panic prompted the Japanese arm of McDonalds to drop Chinese poultry suppliers and switch to manufacturers in Thailand.

Via Blog

Greek elections

Gavin Hewitt

Europe editor

It did not take long. The game is very much in play. Greek voters are being bombarded with warnings about what is at stake when they go to the polls on 25 January. There is little that is coded in these messages. When a country has been bailed out to the tune of €240bn (£187bn; $286bn) there is no such thing as non-interference in Greece's internal politics. Read more of Gavin's analysis

here.

Greek stocks

Athens stocks
Bloomberg

Greek stocks have fallen 4.1% today amid all that worry about a Greek exit of the eurozone. Greece holds elections later this month and the opposition Syriza party, which wants to abandon austerity measures imposed on the country after an international bailout, is narrowly ahead in the polls.

Oil price

oil
BBC

Oil prices dropped to fresh 5-year lows as Russia's production last year was shown to be the highest since the Soviet days. Brent crude dropped as low as $55.16 a barrel, its cheapest since May 2009, before edging back to $55.32, down $1.10 from the previous trading day.

Via Blog

Euro down

Robert Peston

Economics editor

The 2010 general election was fought under the dark shadow of a financial crisis in Greece that was infecting the eurozone - and was bound to damage the UK's economy. So I start 2015 wondering why I feel five years older, since nothing much seems to have changed around me: there appears to be a general election looming here and something of a financial calamity brewing in Greece and in the euro area. Here is what strikes me: the eurozone is both stronger and sicker than in 2010. Read more from Robert

here.

Via Email

Retailing results

Nick Bubb

Independent Retail Analyst

Despite the clear success that John Lewis had in online logistics last month, it has to be said that the weak sales outcome for Xmas week itself was pretty disappointing. So, if their overall +4.8% like-for-like performance in December really was "market-beating", then investors should be braced for some mediocre Xmas trading results from John Lewis's peers (such as Marks & Spencer).

Via Blog

John Lewis

Kamal Ahmed

BBC Business editor

I have just interviewed the head of John Lewis about Christmas sales and he has raised two very important points that go to the heart of retail's online revolution. First, that the American import "Black Friday" could have a detrimental effect on how retailers and consumers behave. And second, that consumers' expectation that online delivery should be no more expensive than buying it in a shop will have to be tackled. Read more from Kamal

here.

Ryanair shares hit record

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary
EPA

A nice start to the year for investors in Ryanair and its boss Michael O'Leary.

Shares have hit a record and are currently trading 2.5% higher.
Earlier Ryanair reported that it flew more than 6 million people in December, up 20% on December 2013.

Ethical garments

Garment workers in Bangladesh have not received an increase in real wages (adjusted for inflation) in the "best part of a decade" says

Rachel Wilshaw, ethical trade manager at Oxfam. So a rise in the minimum wage this year is to be welcomed, she says on BBC World TV. But she says poor countries are also caught in a "race to the bottom" as big companies threaten to move elsewhere if wages go up by too much.

Gadget show

CES 2014
CES

The giant CES gadget show opens to the press in Las Vegas later today and then to the public for the rest of the week. More than 160,000 people visited the 2014 show (pictured). Take a look at a
the preview by the BBC's technology news team. An address by the chief of Samsung Electronics is going to be one highlight today. He might announce a new top-end smartphone.

Online deliveries

So could the delivery of online goods become more expensive? This is what

John Lewis boss Andy Street told the BBC. "I think that those who still do want to get the delivery at home I think that they are going to have to pay a little more as we go forward. Because we are in the early stages of this market ... it's a rush for growth. The market will become more sophisticated and there will be an opportunity that if you really want guarantee, you will be asked to pay a little bit for it."

China scraps rare earth quotas

Rare earth metals
Science Photo Library

So-called rare earths are metals vital to the production of electronics, among other things, and China is the only major producer of them. China has now scrapped its quota system that restricted the export of rare earths, according to official state media. It follows a

WTO ruling last year that those quotas broke global trade rules.

Homebuilding

New home building Bristol
Getty Images

Last month Britain's construction sector grew at its slowest rate since July. However house building had its strongest year since at least 1997. The Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers' index fell to 57.6 in December from 59.4 in November, well below economists' forecasts of a slight decline to 59.0. That's still comfortably above its long-run average. An index score above 50 denotes growth.

Market Update

Shares in Shanghai surged 3.6% to their highest level in more than five years as traders anticipated fresh economic stimulus in China. The benchmark

Shanghai Composite Index surged 115.84 points to 3,350.52, its highest since August 2009. In
Hong Kong stocks fell 0.57%.

BMW China payment

bmw
AFP

BMW's 2.5% share decline comes after the car manufacturer agreed to pay 5.1bn yuan ($820m, £536m) of subsidies to its dealers in China, ending months of tension over who should pay for a market slowdown in the country last year. "This is the biggest such subsidy we've had in China... because last year, dealers had the highest level of stockpile," Song Tao, deputy secretary general of the China Automobile Dealers Association, told the Reuters newswire.

Wetherspoon vs. Heineken

Heineken labels
Getty Images

The Times reports that a dispute between JD Wetherspoon and Heineken is close to being settled. You may remember that

Heineken products were withdrawn from 926 Wetherspoon pubs in the UK after an argument over pricing. The Times quotes Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin, who joked that an "Irish compromise" is on the cards and "naturally both sides will be dissatisfied".

Market update

European share markets are down a shade following those reports about a potential Greek exit from the Eurozone. The

FTSE 100 drops 0.1%, the
Dax in Frankfurt drops 0.4% and Paris's
Cac 40 falls 0.6%.

Euro down

Euro dollar
Bloomberg

Here's a look at how the euro is faring this morning. You can see that brief dip to a nine-year low of $1.1870, but it's now almost a cent above that low point. Angus Fraser from FX Pro says the euro will remain volatile in the run-up to the 22 January meeting of policy makers at the European Central Bank.

Mortgages

BBC Breakfast

bbc
BBC

Melanie Bien, a mortgage expert, is on BBC Breakfast, talking about mortgage rates. Fixed rates - where you lock in a rate for a few years - are cheaper because of a "rate war" following tighter controls on mortgages, she says. With a big deposit you can get a 5-year fix for less than 3%. Expect a rate rise later this year, though, most economists warn.

John Lewis

Radio 5 live

john lewis
john lewis

More from Andy Street the John Lewis boss on

Radio 5 live. He says the retailer needs 65 shops to cover the country, at the moment it has 42. John Lewis builds shops, but assumes that customers will choose to do a lot of shopping online and use their click and collect service Mr Street says.

John Lewis

Radio 5 live

Black Friday is "at a high water mark" according to John Lewis chief Andy Street on

Radio 5 live. He thinks that concentrating sales in a short period of time is not good for the industry. And he assures listeners that Black Friday deals do not cause punch ups at John Lewis.

Newspaper review

Business pages
BBC

Let's have a quick look at the business pages this morning. The European Central Bank is expected to launch a massive stimulus programme this year, but

according to economists polled by the Financial Times it is unlikely to work.
The Telegraph reports that supermarkets have drastically cut back on store building. And the Times reports that the CBI, which represents business, has received £5.4m from publicly-funded organisations, including the BBC.

John Lewis

BBC Radio 4

John Lewis, says its total sales over the Christmas period were nearly 5% higher than the same period last year. John Lewis chief Andy Street is on

Today and he appears uncomfortable with the emergence of Black Friday as an event in the UK: "We've got to ask if it's right to concentrate trade so much in that period."

Supermarkets and suppliers

Radio 5 live

Supermarket buyers have "the power of life or death" over their suppliers, says Duncan Swift, who has spent 20 years helping smaller food suppliers who end up in financial distress from their dealings with supermarkets. Those buyers get large bonuses based on what they can extract from suppliers he says on

Radio 5 live. Buyers often "overstep the mark" he says.

Rangers offer

Rangers has confirmed it has received an approach from the owner of Phoenix Suns basketball team Robert Sarver, an American financier. Mr Sarver has until 17:00 on 2 February to make an offer. The club has also secured a £500,000 short-term loan from Alexander Easdale, a shareholder.

Greece euro exit?

BBC Radio 4

Lena Komileva of G Plus Economics is on

Today to talk about that speculation that Greece may exit the euro: "This threatens to became high stakes political theatre... between German hard line fiscal conservatives and the left promoting stimulus and growth... both sides seem to be losing."

Greece euro exit?

Greece parliament
Getty Images

The currency markets have been spooked

by a report from Germany's Der Spiegel magazine on Saturday which said the German government sees a Greek departure from the euro as almost unavoidable, if the Syriza party wins the Greek election. Reacting to that report, German officials have said they want Greece to say in the currency union.

First day back

BBC Radio 4

It's the first day back at work for many people and apparently the first task for some will be to find a new job. Charles Elvin from The Institute of Leadership & Management is on

Today and has done some research on this. "This year a lot of people in work are looking to move jobs... a significant increase on last year... I think it demonstrates people are more confident to go out there and look."

Supermarkets and suppliers

Radio 5 live

More from Christine Tacon on

Radio 5 live. She mentions two supermarket practices that she has cracked down on: Retailers who use no-win no-fee accountants to get back over six years worth of deals to see if they can win more money from suppliers. Also, a requirement by some supermarkets that suppliers use third party packaging firms, which the supermarkets then receive payments from.

Supermarkets and suppliers

Radio 5 live

The government wants supermarkets to be more transparent about their relationship with suppliers, with updates throughout the year. On

Wake Up to Money is Christine Tacon, the Groceries Code Adjudicator, who is charged with overseeing that relationship. She is legally obliged to protect suppliers' anonymity and wants more to come forward with complaints.

Xiaomi Booms

Radio 5 live

Xiaomi phones
Reuters

Some staggering numbers from China's Xiaomi, the world's third biggest maker of smartphones.

It reported sales of almost $12bn (£7.85bn) last year, easily more than double the previous year. It sold 61m smartphones in 2014, the BBC's Sharanjit Leyl tells
Wake Up to Money. But there is concern over the firm's profitability, Sharanjit reports.

Euro down

eurodollar
BBC

The euro fell to a nine-year low against the dollar, depressed by speculation that the European Central Bank will soon adopt quantitative easing - also know as printing money - perhaps as soon as January. The euro sank to $1.1865 in Asian trading, the lowest since March 2006, before bounding back to $1.1946.

Ben Morris

Business Reporter

Lots to get through this morning. The boss of John Lewis is on

Radio 5 live a bit later. Stay in touch via email: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk and on Twitter @BBCBusiness

Howard Mustoe

Business reporter

Good morning everyone and welcome to the first business live page of the year (and probably your first day back at work - sorry about that)! The euro has fallen to a nine-year low against the dollar. Stay tuned for more on that and the rest of today's breaking business news.