Morning business round-up: Finance chiefs head to Paris


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

Finance ministers from the G20 nations prepared to meet in Paris.

The eurozone debt crisis tops the agenda. Attendees are expected to press their European colleagues for more details about how they intend to resolve the issue.

Ahead of the meeting France said it backed the European Commission's call for banks to build up their capital buffers, news that sent financial stocks lower.

Standard & Poor's (S&P) cut Spain's long-term credit rating by one notch

It cited weak growth prospects and high levels of private sector debt.

The move followed a similar cut by the Fitch Ratings last week.

In Rome, Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi awaited a confidence vote in parliament. Critics question his handling of the economy and personal scandals.

Analysts says Mr Berlusconi should survive, but the margin could be narrow.

China's inflation rate eased for the second month in a row in September.

Consumer prices were 6.1% up on the year, down from 6.2% in August.

However the cost of food continues to cause concern. The National Bureau of Statistics said food prices had risen 13.4% over the year.

India also reported a slight dip in inflation. Its wholesale price index rose at an annual rate of 9.72% in September, compared with 9.78% in August.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore scaled back its growth forecast for 2011 because of concerns that the global economic recovery may be faltering.

The government said it expects the island's economy to grow by 5% this year, down from an earlier projection of between 5% to 6%

The Trade and Industry ministry also warned the rate of grow might slip further in 2012, prompting the central bank to slow the appreciation of the Singapore dollar

Google's shares rose in after hours trade after it reported a 26% rise in its third quarter net income.

Chief executive Larry Page described it as a "great quarter", adding that its social network, Google Plus, now boasts more than 40 million members.

But Sony Ericsson's latest earnings were less impressive. The mobile phone maker only just broke even for the three months to the end of September, declaring no profit for the period.

The firm said sales were lower than last year because of dwindling demand for its lower-end handsets. It said it plans to move to a smartphone-only portfolio in 2012.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

The BBC's Newsnight programme reported that clothes labelled "Designed in Scotland" and sold by a UK retail chain are being made by North Korean labour in Mongolian factories.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which has 500 outlets, said the labels are "factually correct" and they do not discriminate about who they employ.

The latest edition of Business Daily from the BBC World Service questions a former senior banker, asking how he justifies the decisions his company made.

Around the BBC