Morning business round-up: Global shares fall

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

Shares in Europe and Asia have fallen sharply after the Federal Reserve issued a stark warning about the state of the US economy.

The Fed warned of "significant downside risks" facing the economy as it announced a bond swap programme designed to keep long-term interest rates low.

Major European markets all dropped in morning trading, with the FTSE 100 down 4% and the Cac 40 down 4.3%.

Following the Fed's downbeat assessment of the US economy, there was more gloomy news from Europe on Thursday.

According to the latest survey from research firm Markit, the eurozone's private sector contracted in September for the first time in two years as the debt crisis continued.

Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) of activity dropped to 49.1, from 51.5 last month. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

"The recovery has finished, we are now contracting," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

Meanwhile, Greece is being hit by a 24-hour public transport strike in the latest protest against government austerity measures.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

Train, bus and taxi services have been crippled and air traffic controllers will stop work for several hours. There will also be a mass protest of public sector workers later in Athens.

The government has toughened its measures, cutting pensions further and suspending more civil servant posts. It says this must be done to receive a vital 8bn-euro (£6.9bn) tranche of aid.

In the UK, there was downbeat news from the CBI business lobby group, which reported that UK manufacturers had seen orders fall this month.

However, there was better news from the UK's car industry. Car production rose 10.7% in August compared with the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

New Zealand's economy slowed to almost a standstill in the last quarter, figures have shown.

Gross domestic product rose 0.1% in the three months to June, compared with the previous quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The latest edition of Business Daily from the BBC World Service looks at how much money might be needed to save the eurozone.

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