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Summary

  1. UK inflation figures show CPI down to 0%.
  2. HSBC to move 1,000 jobs from Canary Wharf to Birmingham - its new UK banking headquarters
  3. Technology bubble about to burst, warns Sequoia's Moritz

Live Reporting

By Ian Pollock

All times stated are UK

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BBC

That's it for today. Back at 06:00 tomorrow. Have a nice evening.

Greek political corruption

Mr Papaconstantinou
Getty Images

Mr Papaconstantinou has been sent to jail for one year, but the term has been suspended for three years. Just to remind you, the Lagarde list was handed to the Greek government by the then French finance minister, Christine Lagarde, in 2010. The nearly 2,000 names were of Greeks who had bank accounts at HSBC's branch in Geneva. So far no one on the list seems to have been prosecuted - except the Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis who published the list in 2012.

Pension guidance

Pension "freedom" starts in April - supposedly. You can spend an accumulated pension pot as you see fit, all in one go, even to buy a

Lamborghini if you can afford it. If you don't like that idea, here is some
more sensible advice, courtesy of my colleague Brian Milligan.

Greek political corruption

George Papaconstantinou in court.
AP

News from Athens. The former Greek finance minister, George Papaconstantinou, has been found guilty of tampering with a list of potential tax evaders. He removed the names of three relatives from the so-called "Lagarde list" of about 2,000 Greeks who had stashed money in bank accounts overseas.

O2

O2 website
O2

Reuters in Spain reports that Telefonica has reached a "definitive" agreement to sell its the UK mobile phone service O2 to Hutchison Whampoa. The price is £10.25 bn. The planned sale was first announced in

January. The deal still depends on approval from regulators, as Hutchison Whampoa already owns the Three mobile network.

Market report

FTSE 100 graph
BBC

In London, the 100 share index closed 18 points lower at 7,020. In Frankfurt the DAX rose 110 to 12,006. And in Paris the CaC 40 ended the day 34 points up at 5,088.

On the currency markets the pound weakened slightly against the US dollar and it now buys $1.487. The pound also fell slightly against the euro to 1 euro 36.3. And sterling was also down nearly one yen against the Japanese currency to 178.19 yen.

Lufthansa strikes off?

Flight board showing Lufthansa cancellations
European photopress agency

Lufthansa pilots will not stage any more strikes for the time being, following the crash in France of a plane belonging to a Lufthansa subsidiary, Germanwings. The German newspaper

Tagesspiegel cites Joerg Handwerg, a leading member of the pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), as saying "industrial action is not on the agenda anymore right now." Lufthansa pilots were on strike for four days last week in a long running dispute over pensions.

Inflation

ONS chart of RPI inflation rates
ONS

The official inflation rate falling to 0% sounds astounding, doesn't it? Hasn't happened for decades? Let's remember that when the retail prices index (RPI) was the main measure of inflation, it stayed below 0% for most of 2009. Don't remember? Check the facts

here. Figure E is where the facts are at.

Pension guidance

Pensioners
PA

A phone line has opened to help people in advance of April's

pension changes. The number is 030 0330 1001 and is opening just two weeks before the pension changes come into effect. Anyone over the age of 55 can call the line, run by the government's
Pension Wise service.

Financial crime

FCA headquarters
Reuters

Financial crime has joined the official worry-list of the UK's financial regulators. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has identified the seven biggest risks it thinks may cause it - and us - problems. Financial crime is now one of them. Rapidly rising house prices are no longer an official concern as prices are cooling off.

HSBC

More on the bank's plan to move 1,000 jobs from Canary Wharf to Birmingham by 2019. It's all part of the requirement that banks must separate their High Street activities from their investment banks. HSBC's UK chief executive Antonio Simoes said: "Creating our ring-fenced bank head office in Birmingham gets us a step closer to that ambition for our 16 million personal and business customers." A new building in Birmingham city centre will be the headquarters of the bank's UK operations.

Osborne

Greek flag on parade.
European Photopress Agency

The Chancellor George Osborne is answering questions from the Parliamentary Treasury Committee about last week's Budget. That is supposed to be the topic. But he has repeated his concern about Greece, saying there was a "growing risk" that Greece will have to leave the euro-zone. He told the MPs that the "ill will round the table is palpable between the euro-zone and Greece".

Inflation and savings

Kent Reliance website
Kent Reliance

So, who is offering the best instant access savings account right now? If the interest rate is all that matters, then Moneyfacts says it is the

Kent Reliance. Its easy access account offers you the truly splendid return of 1.5%. Yes, a whole 1.5% interest a year!

Germanwings airliner crash

The airline officials say that the accident crash will be very difficult to get to. The passenger list will not be published until all close relatives have been informed. More information may be available in a few hours time. There were 150 passengers and crew on board.

HSBC jobs on the move

HSBC logo
PA

The troubled banking group HSBC is moving 1,000 jobs from Canary Wharf in London to Birmingham. The

Express & Star says the migration will start in 2017, and that Birmingham will become the bank's UK headquarters.

Inflation and savings

Purse and money
BBC

The pioneer of price comparison websites -

Moneyfacts - has some interesting facts about the inflation rate, which is now officially at 0%. Apparently there are now 662 accounts (ones without some restriction or other) offering interest that will match or beat that rate. A year ago, when inflation was higher, there were just 116 inflation-beating accounts. I'm not sure that merely matching a 0% inflation rate is much to shout about.

Germanwings airliner crash

The media briefing by officials of the Lufthansa group says that information about an apparent distress call is contradictory - in fact they don't yet know if one was sent at all.

Germanwings airliner crash

A media briefing by the plane operator Germanwings, being carried on the BBC news channel, says technicians are on their way to help the French and German aviation authorities at the crash site, to find out what happened. But they do not yet know why it crashed.

House prices

For Sale signs
PA

Another look at the governments'

house price index, published this morning, makes interesting reading. Table A makes it clear that since last July, prices have been on a plateau round about £272,000 and have hardly changed at all in the past six months.

Germanwings airliner crash

Airbus
BBC

Lufthansa shares fell 4.7% and Airbus shares were down 2.1% after an Airbus, which was operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget airline, crashed in France. All 148 on board are thought to have died. The plane, flight 4U 9525, had been en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf .

Good afternoon

Ian Pollock

Business reporter, BBC News

Thanks to Ben and Howard for their efforts this morning. I am here holding your hand until 18:00.

Mercedes lights

merc
AFP

Mercedes-Benz is recalling about 30,000 CLS model cars in the US because the LED tail lights may not work properly on the sides, reports the AP newswire. A quality check at a factory last December uncovered the problem.

Morgan Stanley moves

Morgan Stanley logo
Getty Images

Morgan Stanley chief financial officer Ruth Porat is leaving for a job at Google, according to Bloomberg. Jonathan Pruzan from Morgan Stanley's investment bank will take over as CFO. We're trying to think of other bankers that defected to the tech sector. Any ideas? bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk.

Via Twitter

Michelle Fleury

BBC business correspondent, New York

Euro dollar rate
BBC

Look at what happens to the dollar after the US #CPI report comes out

Via Twitter

Michelle Fleury

BBC business correspondent, New York

If you think rent, clothing and used car prices went up in Feb, you're right: core #CPI rose 0.2%. But with $USD moving higher, will it last?

Game finance officer

Game Digital also said Chief Financial Officer Benedict Smith

will step down later this year. He left private equity to join Game, and the firm said he'll be returning to a private equity-backed business. Game Digital said Mr Smith will remain with the company until July and it had started the search for a new CFO.

US inflation

US consumer prices rose 0.2% in February. It follows a 0.7% decrease in January, the biggest monthly decline in a six years. Year-on-year CPI was 0% (like the UK). Core prices, which exclude energy and food, also 0.2%. Year-on-year core consumer prices were up 1.7%, according to the

Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Zimbabwe debt

Zimbabwe is planning talks with Germany on how to settle a $739m debt it owes, Reuters reports. President Robert Mugabe's government owes foreign creditors, including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, $9bn and it wants to have the debt cancelled or rescheduled to allow it to access new loans.

Morrisons culls managers

David Potts, Morrisons chief executive
PA

I think we need a macho nickname for David Potts,

the new boss of Morrisons. He has moved on five senior managers including the directors of marketing and digital, retail, property and strategy, logistics and convenience. "I will now be constructing a leaner management board, with the aim of simplifying and speeding up the business," Mr Potts said.

Germanwings airliner crash

BBC News Channel

A320
PA

The BBC's transport correspondent Richard Westcott has been on the news channel talking about the Germanwings Airbus A320 airliner which has crashed in the French Alps. "Last year was the safest year on record," comparing death to miles flown. "Aviation is very safe... it's very very rare. The A320 is the Ford Focus of aeroplanes. They are everywhere, they are incredibly reliable and pilots like flying them."

Via Twitter

Duncan Weldon

BBC Newsnight

The last time UK CPI was this low, Lonnie Donegan was number 1 with "My Old Man's a Dustman". March 1960.

Via Email

Inflation-deflation

Adam Chester

Head of Economic Research & Market Strategy at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking

"Notably, the drop has not been driven by weakness in the economy but by aggressive supermarket discounting, and the feed-through from lower oil prices to forecourt fuel prices. With sterling's exchange rate pressing down on import costs and retail energy prices set to fall further, inflation looks set to dip briefly into negative territory over the coming months."

Via Blog

Interest rates

Robert Peston

Economics editor

The big test of whether this is good or worrying deflation will come in the next few weeks, when a disproportionate number of employers decide what they are going to pay their people over the coming year. Any signs that a slight weakening in wage growth, seen in the last official figures, is becoming a trend would mean there is slim chance of an interest rate rise till the autumn of 2016 or later.

Via Twitter

Robert Peston

Economics editor

A bit like the charts moving to Friday, zero inflation is EXTRAORDINARY - for anyone who remembers the 1970s

Data privacy challenge

David Lorimer, Hill Hofstetter
BBC

Today the European Court of Justice considers a case that directly challenges the agreement between Europe and America dubbed Safe Harbour, which allows US companies like Facebook, Google and Apple to send personal data from Europe to the USA. "It's really prompted by the recent

revelations by [Edward] Snowden about the kind of things that US organisations were allowing - or having to allow - done to the data they store," said David Lorimer from law firm Hill Hofstetter on BBC World TV.

Soros: Greece in 'lose-lose' situation

George Soros
AP

Greece is in a "lose-lose" game, billionaire investor George Soros has told Bloomberg

in a TV interview. He thinks there is a 50-50 chance of the country leaving the euro.
Talks between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday had a conciliatory tone.

Destination 'no-flation'

UK inflation over 10 years
ONS

UK Consumer Price Inflation over the last 10 years.

Via Email

Next stop deflation

Vicky Redwood

Chief UK Economist, Capital Economics

It looks odds on that inflation will turn negative in March, when the cut in gas prices by British Gas (the utility company with the biggest market share) will show up in the inflation figures for the first time. And inflation is then likely to remain around zero/slightly negative for the rest of the year. But we doubt that this will turn into more serious and engrained deflation, given that inflation expectations seem well anchored.

House prices

houses
PA

UK house prices increased by 8.4% in the year to January 2015,

according to the Office for National Statistics. That's a slower gain than the 9.8% in the year to December 2014. "Annual house price increases in England were driven by an annual increase in London of 13.0% and to a lesser extent increases in the East (9.9%) and the South East (7.6%)," it said.