Morning business round-up: Gold price hits new high


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

The price of gold has hit a new record price of $1,610 an ounce after worries about high levels of debt in the US and Europe intensified.

Gold climbed above $1,600 for the first time on Monday, capping a record-breaking rally of 11 days of gains, on the back of its reputation as a safe investment that tends to rise in value in times of global economic uncertainty.

Silver also continued to climb, to above $40 an ounce, its highest price for two months.

Spain had to pay an interest rate of 3.702% for 12-month loans, up from the 2.695% it paid on a similar fund-raising in June. For 18-month bonds, the yield was 3.912%, up from 3.26%.

The government borrowed 4.45bn euros ($6.32bn, £3.9bn) in total, but despite the higher rates traders reported that demand for the bonds was strong.

In Asia, Chinese search engine Baidu has struck a deal with leading music labels, ending years of legal wrangling over rights.

Baidu signed an agreement with a joint venture owned by Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony Music to distribute music through its mp3 search service.

Baidu, China's biggest search engine, will pay the owners of the music rights on a per-play and per-download basis.

The company has been involved in legal tussle with the music labels but said that all outstanding litigation between the parties involved had ended as part of the deal.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

More than 500 cows are thought to have eaten radiation-tainted hay and already been shipped to other parts of Japan.

There are also concerns that beef from other surrounding prefectures may be contaminated.

This is the latest health scare linked to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant damaged by March's earthquake.

Net income for the second quarter was 561m kroner ($86m), down 45% on the 1bn kroner the firm made a year ago. Sales fell 12% to 24.1bn kroner.

The company also warned that profits in the second half of the year would be lower than in the same period in 2010.

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis has reported a rise in quarterly profits thanks to a jump in sales of recently-launched drugs.

Net profits for the second quarter were $2.73bn, a rise of 12% on the $2.44bn the company made a year earlier.

Sales rose 27% to $14.92bn and were boosted by the takeover of US eye-care firm Alcon, which was completed in December last year.

The BBC World Service's Business Daily radio programme today asks whether leaving the euro is a realistic option for Greece.

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