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  1. US row with UK over China development bank
  2. Wetherspoon cuts coffee and breakfast prices
  3. Russia cuts rates to tackle sluggish economy

Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Over and out

That's all from Business Live for today and this week - thanks for reading. We're back at 0600 GMT on Monday - join us then.


The last word for the week goes to Pierre Moscovici, the EU economics commissioner, who says a Greek exit from the eurozone would be "a catastrophe - for the Greek economy, but also for the eurozone as a whole". He tells Der Spiegel: "If one country leaves this union, the markets will immediately ask which country is next. And that could be the beginning of the end."

At home with Yanis Varoufakis...

Vanis Varoufakis
Paris Match

Speaking of the Greek finance minister, I wanted to share with you at least one image from this astonishing

photo shoot in Paris Match (the French version of Hello magazine, I suppose) with Mr Varoufakis and his wife. I think in this case a picture really does say a thousand words.

Greece finances

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis says Athens can reach an agreement with its international creditors on the reforms it must implement to unblock further aid by 20 April. Speaking at a business conference in Italy, he said Greece could meet its debt payments and was not looking for support outside Europe.

Cheltenham Festival

World Service

Susannah Streeter

It's one of the main events of the British sporting calendar - and also something of a business schmooze-fest - as World Business Report presenter Susannah Streeter has been discovering at the Cheltenham Festival. Have a listen


Euro slides

The euro has hit a new 12-year low against the dollar at $1.04810 on Friday, down 1.4%, as the US currency continued to advance against other currencies.

London markets


FTSE 100 ended the week down 0.3% at 6,740 - 234 points off the record high of 6,974 reached on 2 March. It was a better day for the
FTSE 250 index, which closed up 0.25% at 17,101. Oil producer
Afren was the biggest faller on the 250, crashing 30% after agreeing a rescue plan that will lead to shareholders having their equity diluted.

Apple parody

Apple video

Apple aficionados aren't usually known for their sense of humour - which is perhaps why some wag has repurposed a Spanish TV interview with a comedian called Juan Joya Borja and called it "

Apple engineer talks about the new 2015 Macbook". It's now up to 2.2m views on YouTube. Trust me - it will make you laugh at least once.

Oil prices

Oil prices slid again on Friday, with US crude down almost 4%, or $1.70, to $45.35 a barrel - the lowest since January 30. Brent fell $1.12, or 2%, to $55.90 after hitting a one-month low of $55.86 earlier in the day. A weaker Wall Street contributed to the declines.

Quelle Catastrophe!

Getty Images

Don't forget to tune in to BBC2 at 9pm tonight to watch

Quelle Catastrophe! -
Robert Peston's documentary about the rise of the Front National in France, which he calls "perhaps the most important manifestation of popular discontent within the EU and eurozone".

US economy

US consumer sentiment fell in March, says a regular survey by the University of Michigan. March's reading dropped to 91.2, down from the final February reading of 95.4. However, Thursday's economic pointers were broadly more positive than that suggests.

Pi day


BBC business reporter Kim Gittleson is excited about tomorrow. Not just because it's the weekend, but because it is Pi day. In case you aren't familiar with the concept (I certainly wasn't), tomorrow's date is 3/14/15 (in the US at least). That matches with the first five digits of Pi - the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter: 3.1415. So now you know.


Sterling chart
Google Finance

Thanks to

Google Finance we can show you just how much sterling has dipped since late 2007, when a pound bought you more than $2 for a while. Happy days. Over the past decade sterling is down more than a fifth.

Via Email


Getty Images

Hello to Stewart Cowell, who emails Business Live from Doha in Qatar. Did you know Qatar has applied to be a founder member of the

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank? Yes - I was surprised too. It is one of 21 nations that signed a memorandum last year to set up the bank - including Singapore, India and Thailand.


Getty Images

The French financial prosecutor's office has requested that HSBC's Swiss private bank be sent to trial in France to answer charges over a suspected tax-dodging scheme for wealthy customers, according to a judicial source. The request brings the Swiss unit a step closer to facing trial after an investigation led by local magistrates into an alleged fraud involving thousands of French tax payers ended last month. The probe was sparked by whistleblower Herve Falciani, who leaked the bank's client data to media outlets. HSBC said: "This is a normal step in the judicial procedure and the outcome of the matter is not determined as of today."

Irish cash

Seems there is some cash left over at the lender at the heart of Ireland's 2010 financial crisis. Anglo Irish Bank's wind-down vehicle, the Irish Banking Resolution Corporation, has paid €14.7bn to creditors and left €1.85bn for unsecured creditors, the Irish finance ministry said.

Wall Street

After jumping 1.5% on Thursday, Wall Street is having a less stellar day, with the

Dow Jones down 0.7% at 17,766. The
S&P 500 was 0.5% lower at 2,055 points, while the
Nasdaq fell 0.25% to 4,880 points.

That Friday feeling

Good afternoon and thanks to Russell Hotten and Howard Mustoe for this morning's coverage. I'm here until 1800 GMT for the final hours of the business week - in Britain at least. Are you a Business Live reader outside the UK? Get in touch at or on Twitter:


Sterling dips

Sterling is down 1% against the US dollar to $1.4724 following the weak construction data out this morning and comments by Bank of England governor Mark Carney that he was in no hurry to raise interest rates.

Greece talks

Alexis Tsipras (right) and Jean-Claude Juncker

EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker (right) says talks over re-negotiating Greece's debt are too slow. Speaking at a press conference with Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras (left) he called on European governments to speed things along. "I don't think we have made sufficient progress."

Ebola economics

World Service

In Business Update with Russell Padmore we heard how the Ebola crisis has taught the Government of Liberia valuable lessons about the state of the country's economy before the outbreak. It seems before the health crisis the country only had enough reserves of rice to feed its people for half a day. Liberia's deputy minister for fiscal affairs, James Collie, is quite candid saying "Ebola highlighted the vulnerabilities in the economy."

US producer prices

US producer prices fell 0.6% in February due to smaller trade margins, according to the Labour Department. US economy-watchers may see the price decline as a reason for the Federal Reserve to hold off raising rates.

Via Twitter

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland

tweets: I'm off to lunch with 'taxation technicians'. Is there a collective noun? A deductible? A liability? #getaVATreceipt. Over to you livepage readers: what's the collective noun?

Russia rate

Russia's central bank cut its main interest rate to 14% from 15% as it sought to resuscitate its economy. The rate cut is the second since the start of the year following a rate leap in December that came as authorities scrambled to keep money and capital from fleeing the country.

Pensions paperwork

Kevin Peachey

Personal finance reporter, BBC News


Are you approaching retirement and planning to cash in your pension under new rules that take effect in April? Well, don't book the cruise yet,

says The Pensions Advisory Service, because getting your hands on the cash could take some time and paperwork.

Ukraine bailout

Ukraine has received the first $5bn (£3.38bn) of the International Monetary Fund's bailout for its sinking economy, the finance ministry said, according to AFP. $2.2bn will go to the nation's treasury and $2.8bn would go to the account of the central bank.


More mentoring from Dilbert. Mentoring or favouritism?

Via Email

Wetherspoon's coffee

Elly Davis

Live page reader

"Absolutely on board with this new promotion from Wetherspoon. Coffee has a ridiculous mark-up. The main coffee outlets can get away with charging way over the odds because of their branding. £40 to £60 a month just on one morning brew is a disproportionate amount of expenditure. I think a lot of people would be eager to slash that in half."

Via Blog

Robert Peston

Economics editor

If you think growth has been pretty lousy since the crash in Britain, until the recent spurt, it may be small comfort that the UK has done well relative to the European Union as a whole,

writes BBC economics editor Robert Peston in his blog. As the tension over renegotiations of Greece's bailout show, it is the rise of populist parties of left and right that pose the greatest current threat to the survival of the euro.

Cherie Blair

Cherie Blair
European Photopress Agency

Cherie Blair, wife of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, could join the board of directors at French car giant Renault. The lawyer and founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women will be put forward for a four-year term on Renault's board at the company's annual shareholders' meeting next month.

Asian bank

China's official Xinhua news agency has hit back at the US over Washington's criticisms of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The US "exhibited nothing but a childish paranoia towards China", Xinhua said. "The US government needs to be reminded that bias and a deep-rooted strategic distrust towards China are by no means helpful in forging a healthy relationship with the country."

The UK's plan to join the China-led rival to the World Bank was met with a cool response in the US.

Piers for sale

Blackpool Central Pier

Fancy buying a piece of British history? Blackpool Central Pier has been put up for sale for £4.8m. It's one three Victorian piers put on the market by owners Cuerden Leisure for a total of £12.6m. Blackpool South Pier and Llandudno Pier, in Wales, are also being sold. Blackpool Central is home to the famous 33 metre high Ferris wheel.

Via Blog

Linda Yueh

Chief business correspondent

"It's a tricky task to align oneself with both China and the US. The Americans are apparently unhappy with the UK, while China has welcomed the British application." Linda Yueh

explores the UK's support for a China-led bank.

Market update

Britain's top share index is up a mere 2.63 points, or 0.04%, to 6763.7, but regained earlier lost ground.
Frankfurt's Dax added 0.2% to 11822.67, while the
Parisian Cac advanced 0.14%.

  • SSE and Centrica led the FTSE 100's downward charge, dropping 1.95% and 1.9%
  • Afren sank 15% after announcing its restructure plan
  • Wetherspoon fell 4.8% after its price-cutting plan was announced

Via Email

TSB bid

Andrew Lowe

analyst, Berenberg

"Sabadell's bid was a major surprise to us. Yesterday, Sabadell announced a preliminary 340p per share cash offer to buy TSB... Regulatory and political risks are less sanguine, in our view. The Bank of England (BoE) will likely impose strict conditions on any deal, and as a result there remains a chance that Sabadell may yet walk away. We estimate that the market is pricing in an 80% chance of deal completion."

Oil prices

oil pum

The recovery in oil prices is built on shaky foundations, the International Energy Agency says. Another sharp fall is possible. "Behind the facade of stability, the rebalancing triggered by the price collapse has yet to run its course, and it might be overly optimistic to expect it to proceed smoothly," says the Paris-based IEA. There continues to be an oil glut in the world, it says.


Wang Jianlin

Is China's richest man close to buying a British football club? The BBC's Linda Yueh has been talking to footie-fan Wang Jianlin (worth $22.4bn) and it appears that approaches from clubs in Britain and abroad have been made to see if he's interested them. Mr Wang already owns 20% of Spain's Athletico Madrid. "He wants to push his entertainment empire - be better than Disney," our chief business correspondent says. The property tycoon added that the UK is the best place to do business in the world.

Via Email

Wetherspoon's coffee

Martin Blagoev

Live page reader

"I think it's a great idea - there is no real reason for all the coffee chains to charge so much for their 'branded' coffee. It all costs pennies to make and in terms of the so called caffeine hit it's pretty much the same. People who drink coffee for enjoyment aren't the ones cramming into trains at 8am! It has become more of an accessory nowadays to have your branded coffee with you in the morning, and I think the price is completely unjustified. Full support for Wetherspoon on this!"

Asian bank

Jim Yong Kim

The president of the World Bank welcomes the UK joining a China-led rival. Washington has voiced concern about the UK becoming a founder member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The White House questions the governance standards at AIIB. But the World Bank's Jim Yong Kim said the UK is "very clear in saying that they were going to insist that the standards of any new bank that they are part of would be equal to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank".

Wetherspoon results


"Lavazza filter coffee, with free refills, will be available at 99p or under, between 8am and 2pm daily, at approximately 880 pubs," Wetherspoon says. They will also cut prices on breakfasts. With the big coffee chains charging you £2-3 a cup for their caffeine hits, will you be switching to coffee in the pub?