Morning business round-up: Gold hits new record

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

The continued impact of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan last month continued to be felt in Europe and Asia.

In Asia, Japanese exports fell in March due to the continuing fallout from the tsunami, which affected the entire Japanese supply chain. In particular, shipments of cars tumbled 28%.

That news came as Toyota announced plans to cut production in North America by 70% and to reduce output in China by 50-70%, until 3 June.

The world's biggest carmaker will also close its UK plant in Derbyshire for two days each week in May to manage the current shortage of car parts.

The price of gold rose above $1,500 an ounce for the first time. The metal's status as a haven in uncertain times has been boosted by worries about the global economic recovery, especially given Standard & Poor's decision on Monday to cut its outlook for US sovereign debt from stable to negative.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

The price of silver also rose to a 31-year high.

The home of Harry Potter and James Bond, film studio Pinewood Shepperton, has received an approach from a possible second bidder.

The UK central bank remains split on the future of interest rates. Bank of England policymakers voted six to three, for the third month in a row, in favour of keeping rates on hold at a record low of 0.5% this month.

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