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. Hiring of workers in UK at 'sky-high' levels
  2. China reports sharp fall in exports
  3. Volkswagen shares fall on leadership rift
  4. Sterling hits fresh five-year low against dollar

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Sucks

The body that decides which letters a web address is allowed to finish with is concerned at the high charges for the new ".sucks" name. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number has asked the US and Canadian trade authorities to investigate Vox Populi, which secured the rights to sell the name. The firm denies wrongdoing. Many companies and celebrities have bought their name with controversial suffixes such as ".porn" or ".xxx".

Via Twitter

Duncan Weldon

BBC Newsnight

tweets: If the OBR did have the power to analyse election manifestos, the results might look something like this: http://www.cpb.nl/en/pressrelease/3212215/cpb-and-pbl-present-election-manifestos-analyses …

LVMH

Louis Vuitton
Getty Images

French luxury goods group LVMH posts a 3% rise in like-for-like first-quarter sales, boosted by the weak euro against the dollar and Louis Vuitton's "excellent start to the year". But the world's biggest maker of luxury goods says its wines and spirits unit, which includes the flagship Hennessy cognac brand, was hit by tough trading in China. Overall, LVMH's first-quarter sales rose 16% to €8.323bn.

FTSE 100 close

FTSE 100 graph
BBC

The FTSE 100 retreated from last week's record highs as weak data from China weighed on mining stocks. The index closed 25.47 points lower at 7,064.3, with BHP Billiton, down 3.25%, the biggest casualty. Anglo American fell 2.28%. Ashtead Group, up 1.58%, was the main gainer.

RBS

RBS logo
PA

Royal Bank of Scotland says it intends to sell its Luxembourg-based fund management business as part of its plan to shrink and focus on its core UK retail and commercial banking. The bank says it has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to advise on the sale. Shares in the state-owned back rose more than 1.3% in late trading.

Via Twitter

Linda Yueh

Chief business correspondent

tweets: HK restricting mainland Chinese visas as 47 million visitors entered city of 7m. A sea change from when HKers bought cheap goods in Shenzhen

Deloitte

MG Rover site
Getty Images

Accountant Deloitte has had a £14m fine relating to its dealings with collapsed carmaker MG Rover cut to £3m after an appeal. The reduction penalty was announced today after an appeals tribunal earlier this year threw out eight of 13 charges against the firm in a case brought by the Financial Reporting Council. It also cut the fine imposed on former Deloitte partner Maghsoud Einollahi from £250,000 to £175,000 and reversed his three-year ban from the profession.

Markets update

The FTSE 100 looks on course to end the day down, with shares currently trading 19.59 points lower at 7,070.18. BHP Billiton and Tesco and the two biggest fallers, down 3.07% and 2.85% respectively.

Via Blog

Robert Peston

Economics editor

So how constraining on Labour is its self-imposed "Budget Responsibility Lock"? See Robert's

latest blog for an answer.

Sexist bank notes?

banknotes
BBC

After the UK's successful campaign to get Jane Austen on the £10 note, the US and Canada are now trying to do the same.

But is one woman enough?

US markets

Wall Street opens slightly higher, led by gains in the energy sector as the price of oil moves higher. The Dow Jones edged up 14 points, less than 0.1%, to 18,074, while the S&P 500 rose a point to 2,104. The Nasdaq increased 17 points, or 0.4%, to 5,013. The price of oil rose $1.12 to $52.84 a barrel in New York.

Gazprom

Russian natural gas monopoly gaint Gazprom headquarters in Moscow, 03/01/06
AFP

Russia's gas giant Gazprom warned the European Union against moves to block Moscow's plans to bypass Ukraine as a transit country for its gas to Europe. Russia plans to build the Turkish Stream pipeline to Turkey and further on to Greece via the Black Sea. "If someone thinks about blocking Turkish Stream, it is a very serious mistake," Gazprom chief Alexei Miller told a conference in Berlin.

Tax fraud

The heir to the Nina Ricci perfume and fashion house has been convicted of tax fraud by a Paris court after hiding millions in an offshore HSBC account. Arlette Ricci, 73, was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to pay a €1m (£720,000; $1.1m) fine. The court also confiscated two properties worth €4m. HSBC's Swiss private banking arm is being investigated after a leak revealed large scale tax fraud.

Dilbert

Today's Dilbert is a characteristically cheerful look at the

vexed question of promotion.

Indian inflation surprises

The result is in, but it's not what was expected. India's annual rate of consumer price inflation unexpectedly fell to 5.17% in March from February's 5.37%. The three-month low surprised economists who, because of the impact of unseasonal heavy rain, had forecast a rise in the rate to 5.5%.

Oil prices

graph
BBC

World oil prices have continued last week's rise. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate rose 68 cents to $52.32 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude advanced 79 cents to $58.66. A glut of supply may cap further rises, however. "There has been a continuation in the rise of oil prices from Friday's session, but the market has started this week cautiously due to the ongoing oversupply situation," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist with CMC Markets in Sydney.

Dollar nears euro parity

dollar versus euro
BBC

The US dollar is quietly creeping up against the euro again, with

one dollar now buying €0.949. Traders expect the euro to continue to be weak while the European Central Bank has its stimulus programme in place, meanwhile the dollar is supported by the prospect of a future rise in US interest rates.

'Making it up'

Paul Johnson
BBC

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, is sceptical of the figures all three parties have said that they're hoping to raise from clamping down on tax avoidance. The Conservatives have said they will raise £5bn, the Liberal Democrats £7bn

and Labour £7.5bn. "Frankly they're (the numbers) are not at all credible. All of the three main parties are just making up numbers," he tells the BBC.

Market update

FTSE 100
BBC

The

FTSE 100 lost further ground during the morning and is down 0.4% at lunchtime. Miners continue to weigh on the index. Those shares have been hit be weak economic data from one of their most important customers - China. The insurer
Aviva was the biggest winner, up almost 2% after positive comments from analysts at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan.

Labour manifesto: Liberal reaction

Labour have a "mountain to climb" to establish fiscal credibility, says Malcolm Bruce, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats on

BBC News Channel. He is reacting to
Labour's election manifesto. In particular Mr Bruce criticises Labour's choice not to set a timetable for the elimination of the deficit.

Apple watch sales

Apple watches
EPA

A US research firm has estimated that Apple won 957,000 pre-orders for its new watch in the US on Friday. Slice Intelligence analysed email receipts from 9,080 online shoppers (who it has agreements with). Its analysis suggests that many buyers bought more than one watch. On average buyers spent $503.83 on each watch.

Via Twitter

Paul Lewis

Presenter, Money Box

Financial Ombudsman upholds age discrimination mortgage case against HSBC even though financial products age discrimination exempt

Labour manifesto

Ed Miliband is asked if it's going to be possible to raise £7bn by cutting down on tax avoidance. He says "there is going to be a change" in the way tax avoidance and evasion is approached. He cites Labour's pledge to eliminate non-dom status. He also promises a review into the customs and practice of HMRC.

Miliband: 'Arbitrary timetable'

Ed Miliband
Reuters

During his manifesto launch Ed Miliband says that setting an arbitrary timetable for eliminating the deficit is "not the answer". He will only commit to reducing the deficit to zero as soon as possible in the next parliament. Mr Miliband says it erodes credibility to set out timetables that can't be met.

Via Twitter

Labour manifesto

Robert Peston

Economics editor

@Ed_Miliband big theme is UK as "country of working people" - but CBI and IoD may question whether minimum wage pledge is affordable

Shell petrol station sale

shell
PA

Shell says it is to sell 185 service stations in the UK to independent dealers and has exchanged contracts on 158 service stations with two dealer groups. You won't probably notice however, as the stations will keep the Shell branding. Shell has more than 1,000 service stations bearing its name, about half of which it owns.

Italian recovery on track?

Italian and EU flag
AP

Hopes that Italy's economic recovery is on track have been boosted by official data showing industrial output rose by a slightly higher-than-expected 0.6% in February. The rise follows January's 0.7% fall and marks the strongest monthly gain since June last year. However, output is still down almost 25% since its 2008 peak.

Indian inflation

India's consumer inflation is expected to have risen in March for the fourth consecutive month after a record low in November. Heavy rain has driven up the price of food in the country. Consumer prices are forecast to rise to 5.5% in March from a year earlier compared with February's 5.37%, according to a poll of economists by newswire Reuters. The data is due to be released at 12:00.

City rock stars

Uberkill band
Steve Flatley

Perhaps you don't recognise these chaps without their suits? Carsten Hoyer (bottom right) is a senior compliance officer at Unicredit and Graham Tull (back left), is business intelligence manager at Earthport. After hours they are also known as Uberkill, a hard-rock band that,

according to the Daily Telegraph, is now headed for international success.

Statoil cuts

rig
BBC

Statoil could cut 2,400 jobs in May, or about a tenth of the total workforce, Oslo business daily Dagens Naerinsliv has reported. The sharp drop in the oil price, which has halved since last summer, has led the oil firm to cut costs. "We are working on reinforcing the productivity within the company and that could have consequences in terms of jobs but it is too early to speculate on their number," Statoil spokesman Jannik Lindbaek told the AFP newswire.

Working lunches

Dabbawalas in Mumbai
AFP

For decades Mumbai's dabbawalas have been a familiar sight on the city's streets with bicycles laden with "tiffins", or lunch boxes, which they deliver from customer's homes to their offices around the city. Now Flipkart, India's biggest online retailer, has announced it's trialling using the dabbawalas to distribute parcels around the city, using their knowledge of the often-cramped streets to meet the "last mile" part of transactions.

Coal India

India coal power station
AP

The sale of another stake in state-owned Coal India, the biggest coal producer in the world, is "not ruled out". That's according to finance ministry official Aradhana Johri speaking to CNBC-TV18 television channel. In January, Delhi raised about £2.5bn by selling a 10% stake in the miner, the largest-ever equity deal in India.

Via Twitter

Mark Broad

Economics reporter, BBC News

UBS report shows for 1st time in 4yrs Eurozone stocks got more upgrades than downgrades in March. Had been 48 months in row of downgrades

'Stealing clothes'

"Both main parties seem to be stealing each other's clothes," BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith tells Business Live referencing the Conservative's pledge to spend £8bn on the NHS.

Via Twitter

Labour manifesto

Laura Kuenssberg

Chief Correspondent, BBCNewsnight

Expect row about Lab promise on deficit every day for next 3 weeks! But big move for them to make promise NOT to spend big manifesto idea

Newspaper review

Newspapers
BBC

Both Evans Cycles and Travelodge are up for sale

according to the business section of The Times.
The Guardian reports that Co-operative members are demanding the consideration of rejected candidates for the board of directors. The FT says that
US shareholders could receive a record $1 trillion in share buybacks and dividends.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Labour and Conservatives have been criticised for plans to cut tax relief on pensions for high earners. The IFS says the measures would be "counter-productive".

Market update

Volkswagen Golf GTI at the Seoul Motor Show 2015
Getty Images

Let's start in Frankfurt where

Volkswagen shares are down 1.7% following
the appearance of a rift between the company's chairman and chief executive. That's weighing on the
Dax index which is down 0.2%. The
FTSE 100 has also recorded modest losses in early trading.
BHP Billiton is the biggest loser among FTSE shares, down 2.3%. Mining shares have been hit by
weak economic data from China, a big market for miners.

Inheritance Tax

BBC Radio 4

Economics Editor Robert Peston is on

Today talking about the inheritance tax changes proposed by the Conservative Party, allowing a house worth up to £1m to be passed on without the tax. "Most families that will benefit from this tend to be in London and the south east... The vast majority of people won't benefit from this," he says.

Via Twitter

Robert Peston

Economics editor

@edballsmp concedes there may be cuts in Scotland under a Labour government

Shell deal eyed

Royal Dutch Shell flag
AP

Australian manufacturers have warned that

Royal Dutch Shell's £47bn takeover of BG Group could exacerbate a lack of competition in the country's eastern gas market. The chief executive director of lobby group Manufacturing Australia, Ben Eade told Reuters. "What we need is more suppliers than less."