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Live Reporting

By Rebecca Marston

All times stated are UK

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Rebecca Marston

Business reporter, BBC News

And the "uncomfortable pound" is the thought with which Business Live ends today. The A team resume coverage from 06:00 sharp on Thursday. Cheers.

Happy holidays

Here's someone not thinking about eurozone holidays. Bank of England policymaker Ian McCafferty called the pound's recent strength "slightly uncomfortable". "It's an issue but nothing to lose sleep on," he told LBC Radio. The pound reached €1.36 on Wednesday - a seven year high.

US on Greece

Yanis Varoufakis with Ireland's Michael Noonan

The US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has been on the blower to Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. He's been expressing his concern about the Greek-eurozone debt situation. He's urging Greece to make a deal with the EU authorities and the IMF.

Pemex cuts

Pemex, Mexico's state-run oil company, is the latest to announce cuts on the back of the plunging of the oil price. It says it will shed jobs and has postponed some deep water exploration projects along with refinery upgrades.

Ukraine economy

Ukraine's industrial output took a huge hit in January, falling 21.3% on a year ago, according to the state statistics service. An even bigger drop than the 17.9% fall in December.

Markets update

Wall Street remains lower in midday trading. The

Dow Jones is down 0.16% at 18,018.45. The
S&P is down 0.2% at 2,095.77 and the
Nasdaq is flat at 4,897.65 points.

HSBC probe

The Swiss Attorney General, Olivier Jornot, says the probe into HSBC could be extended to individuals suspected of money laundering or tax fraud. The statement follows news earlier that Swiss prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation against HSBC over alleged money laundering.

Markets update


FTSE 100 ended on a down note, closing flat at 6897.16. The
FTSE 250 hit an intraday-high and closed up 0.63% at 16,993.63. In Frankfurt and Paris, the
Dax and
Cac 40 indexes were up 0.6% and almost 1% respectively. Richard Dunbar from Aberdeen Asset Management told
World Business Report this was because those markets were expecting a Greek deal.

Happy holidays

Passengers in a Berlin station

Or maybe not, if it's a visit to Germany. Train strikes are planned by the German train drivers union GDL. Another round of wage talks with state-owned railway Deutsche Bahn have failed. No dates as yet for the stoppages.

Happy holidays

Pound euro graph

As long as you're off to the eurozone soon. The

pound is at a new seven-year high against the euro, at €1.36 (wholesale market rate). The other way round its worth 73.53p.

Garmin results

Business Live stumbles across some choice nuggets while mining for news. This, from the

Garmin website, for example: "One vision. Two minds. Gary Burrell and Min Kao believed GPS was going to change the face of navigation when they founded Garmin in 1989. They were right."

Boeing boost

Boeing's boss, Jim McNerney, says he plans to continue returning significant cash to shareholders. He says he's confident it won't cut production of its 777 planes as it moves into producing the newer 777X.

Fossil falls

Products including a watch
Fossil Group

Fashion retailer

Fossil Group shares have dived 18% on that warning that the strong dollar will hit profits by up to 7.5%.

Get a room


Hilton Worldwide's numbers for the quarter looked impressive, worse times lie ahead. The business is forecasting full-year profits below those the market had been expecting as that stronger dollar keeps travellers away.

Market update

Wall Street has opened slightly lower. The

Dow Jones is down 0.25% at 18,001.63 points. Both the
S&P and the
Nasdaq are higher - negligibly so - the 500 is at 2,100.34 points and the tech-based index stands at 4,899.27 points.

Garmin results

Dollar-euro chart

It's only just after breakfast in New York but the theme for the day appears to be the strong dollar.

Garmin, the GPS gadget maker warns profits will be below market hopes, thanks to that rising dollar.

US economy

The Federal Reserve says US manufacturing output nudged higher in January, but hadn't risen at all in December. January factory output was 0.2% higher last month. December's figure was revised down from a previous estimate of 0.3% growth.

Get a room

Hilton Garden inn exterior
Scott Olson

Hilton Worldwide Holdings, which also owns the Conrad brand, says revenue is up 7%. It's thanks to more business travel in the US - on the back of the improving economy.

Rebecca Marston

Business reporter, BBC News

The A team has done its time for the day. So it's me for the rest of the afternoon. Good-oh.

Gold price


With the share markets buoyed by hopes of a deal over Greece, gold is a casualty, hitting a fresh six-week low. The metal, for many investors a safe haven in troubled times, extended yesterday's 1.8% fall and is down another 0.2% to $1,206.85 an ounce. Says Saxo Bank's head of commodity strategy Ole Hansen: "Looking at all markets - from stocks to bonds and the euro - the market firmly believes that a [Greek] solution will be found despite all the current obstacles."

Dutch drilling earthquakes

Klaas Koster and Jannette Schoorl point to a crack in the wall of their home in Middelstum, the Netherlands

Until 2013, energy companies Shell, Exxon Mobil and the Dutch government put production ahead of people's safety in their decision-making over decades of natural gas drilling in the northern Netherlands, a

report has found. The drilling has triggered
over a thousand small earthquakes
since the 1980's and damaged people's homes. "Many people in Groningen are suffering damage because of the earthquakes, no longer feel safe in their own homes and are seriously concerned,'' economic affairs minister Henk Kamp said in reaction to the report.

Oil prices fall

Brent Crude one day

Oil prices are having a down day. Brent Crude is down more than 2% so far. But bear in mind oil prices have risen by around 30% since hitting $46 a barrel back in early January. Tomorrow brings weekly data from the US Department of Energy on US stockpiles of crude - a number closely watched by the market.

Fuel bills

Tim Yeo

Conservative MP Tim Yeo, who chairs the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, has given quite a withering response to the

CMA update on the UK energy market. "We did not need the Competition Market Authority to spend months and probably millions of pounds examining the market to tell us that more people need to switch energy supplier... I am staggered that it currently appears so sanguine about the lack of transparency in the operation of the big six."

Market update

FTSE 100 charts


FTSE 100 came tantalisingly close to record territory earlier, but has since drifted down. The index is up just 2.7 points at 6,900.8. Still, there are still a few trading hours to go. A reminder: the FTSE 100's record close of 6,930.2 was reached on 30 December, 1999. The record intra-day peak of 6,950.6 was also in December 1999.


Peugeot car

PSA Peugeot-Citroen has taken another step towards recovery after a

strong sales rise in China and an improvement in Europe. China's Dongfeng owns 14% of the French company, which was hit hard by tumbling sales. Peugeot shares rose 4.15% after the company forecast an even better 2015. "We are ahead of our reconstruction plan," chief executive Carlos Tavares said.

Pay rises

The Institute of Directors welcomes today's

jobs and pay data as evidence that the economic recovery is gaining pace. But chief economist James Sproule points out that the earnings data was boosted by higher bonuses across industry and commerce. "Raising bonuses and not salaries implies some companies are still cautious about increasing their fixed costs," he said.

FTSE 250 record

FTSE 250


FTSE 250 has reached an intraday-high and could go on to make a record close. The index is considered to be a more representative cross-section of the UK economy than its big brother the FTSE 100. The FTSE 100 itself is not far off its record close of 6,930 hit on 30 December 1999.

Via Email

Interest rates

Vicky Redwood

Chief UK Economist, Capital Economics

The minutes of this month's MPC meeting published this morning show that the committee is more divided about the next move in interest rates than the unanimous vote would suggest... We still think that pay growth will continue to accelerate as the labour market tightens, meaning that an interest rate rise this year remains a possibility.

Sony revamp

Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai

Sony is moving its video and sound business into a wholly owned subsidiary. It's

part of strategy outlined by chief executive Kazuo Hirai today to radically improve its operating profit. Sony plans to focus on areas where it sees profitable growth, which includes image sensors, video games and entertainment. Last year Sony spun-off its loss-making TV unit and left the personal computer business altogether.

Greece debt talks

BBC World News

Andrew Walker, BBC economics correspondent (left)

In talks over Greece's debts "language has become enormously important," says BBC economics correspondent Andrew Walker on World Business Report. For Germany it is important that

any extension of the bailout appears to be under the original terms. For Greece it is important the extension "looks different".

Greek shares

Athens Stock Exchange

The main index on the Athens Stock Exchange is up 1% this morning. There is some optimism this morning that a deal over Greece's debt can be reached with the European Union.

Greece is expected to request a six-month extension of its loan agreement on Wednesday. As the chart above shows, it's been a bumpy ride for Greek shares since the election of Syriza in late January.


BBC News Channel

Iain Duncan Smith


today's employment figures, three quarters of the jobs that have been created are full-time jobs, and about 60% of all of the jobs are managerial-level jobs, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said. "That's important. So people who have skills, etc, who want to get those higher-level jobs are clearly getting them."

Interest rates

More from today's MPC minutes on last month's interest rate meeting. One member of the committee seems to sum up the current conundrum facing policymakers when he/she says that the next change to monetary policy was "roughly as likely" to be a loosening as a tightening.

Pound jumps

Pound/dollar chart

This is the

currency market reaction to strong UK jobs data and the latest minutes from interest rate-setters at the Bank of England. You can see at 09:30 GMT the pound jumped. It's currently almost a cent higher at $1.5435. In short, traders think interest rates may have to rise sooner-than-expected.

Interest rates

Could this be an indication of future interest rate rises? Bank of England policymakers voted unanimously to keep rates on hold last month,

according to just-released minutes. But two members of the nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee called the decision "finely balanced", adding: "Given the outlook for inflation beyond the short term, there could well be a case for an increase in Bank Rate later in the year."

Unemployment at 'six year low'

BBC News Channel

Nick Palmer

Nick Palmer, ONS senior statistican, told BBC News: "Both the unemployment level and the rate - they are the lowest we've seen since the middle of 2008 - so six year lows for both those measures. Unemployment has been falling fairly steeply for the last couple of years, and it continues on that downward trend."

Pay rises

ONS pay vs. inflation

Average earnings for the three months to the end of December rose by 2.1%, but if you strip out bonuses average pay rose by 1.7%, the ONS said. That's compared with the same period in 2013. As the chart above shows, pay has recently started rising at a faster rate than inflation.


In the three months to December the number of people out of work in the UK fell by 97,000 in the UK to 1.86 million. The unemployment rate fell to 5.7% according to the

Office for National Statistics.

Fuel bills - Labour

Caroline Flint

Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint has told the Radio 4 Today programme that the CMA early evidence suggests the

energy firms take their existing customer base for granted. "You would expect loyal customers to be getting good deals. And clearly, as I've been saying for the last three and a half years, that is not the case," she said.

Via Email

Fuel bills

Dieter Helm

Professor of Energy Policy, Oxford University

"Switching is never going to be enough. What is needed is a simple, transparent default tariff, indexed to the wholesale price, with a published fair margin, to protect the vulnerable and those who remain loyal to their suppliers"