Morning business round-up: The cost of Japan disaster

  • Published

What made the business news and moved the markets in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

The government of Japan says it will cost as much as 25 trillion yen ($309bn; £189bn) to rebuild the country after the recent earthquake and tsunami.

In Europe, the possibility that Portugal may require a financial bail-out became stronger as opposition parties withdrew their support for the government's austerity measures.

The UK is preparing to hear from Chancellor George Osborne about his fiscal plans for the coming years as he delivers his Budget speech. It is being talked about as a Budget for growth.

Meanwhile, the minutes of the interest rate-setting committee of the UK's central bank showed that there was no new support amongst its members for a rise in interest rates.

After remaining shut for nearly two months, the Egyptian stock exchange reopened today - only to shut again almost immediately. Regulations designed to prevent a financial meltdown kicked in when shares fell by 10%.

The Spanish owner of the Zara retail chain - Inditex - appears to be profiting from moves into Asian markets with a 32% jump in annual net profit.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

UAE ports operator DP World also reported an increase in profits for 2010 on the back of an improving picture in the international cargo shipping business.

Google's plans to digitise books and offer them online has been dealt a blow by a New York court which has ruled that the firm's agreement with publishers and authors would give it an unfair competitive advantage.

Austrian online gaming company Bwin has announced increased revenues and said its merger plans with Partygaming were on track.

We take a look at the surprisingly large amount of gold reserves held by Libya - and how Colonel Gaddafi may use them to cling on to power.

And Business Daily on BBC World Service hears from the boss of Russia's railways, Vladimir Yakunin, on how he handled criticism from President Medvedev about security.