Morning business round-up: Eurozone debt talks


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

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are to meet to agree on joint proposals aimed at resolving the eurozone debt crisis.

They will take their ideas to an EU summit on Friday that is being seen as crucial for the single currency.

Germany favours strict EU central control while France wishes to preserve more national sovereignty.

Meanwhile, two badly-hit eurozone countries, Italy and the Irish Republic, are preparing tighter austerity measures.

Italy's implied cost of borrowing in financial markets fell after new Prime Minister Mario Monti unveiled his austerity plans over the weekend.

In early Monday trading, the country's 10-year bond yield fell modestly to about 6.4% from 6.66% on Friday.

The government has adopted a package of emergency austerity measures aimed at fending off insolvency.

Eurozone service sector activity shrank further in November, led by a sharp contraction in Spain, surveys suggest.

Italian service-sector firms also continued to see a sharp fall in business, while Germany has stagnated.

The latest eurozone services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) registered a level of 47, only slightly up from October. Levels below 50 imply falling activity.

There was better news from the UK, where service sector activity picked up in November after falling in the previous month, although the rate of job losses was the fastest in 15 months.

The services PMI rose to 52.1 in the month, up from 51.3 in October. Any figure above 50 indicates growth.

Tour operator Tui Travel has reported a sharp improvement in profitability despite a tough year for the travel industry as a whole.

Media caption, Biz Heads

Pre-tax profit for the year to the end of September was £144m compared with a loss of £73m the previous year.

Europe's biggest travel group, which operates the Thomson and First Choice chains, said it achieved record profits in the UK.

Shares in Indian retailers have fallen after the government put on hold plans to open up the retail market to global supermarket chains, just days after approving the move.

Pantaloon Retail India, the largest in the country, was down by more than 12% at one point on Monday.

There has been widespread political opposition to the reform move.

The latest edition of Business Daily considers whether economic downturns create opportunities for business people with vision. The programme speaks to David Kauders, an investment manager in Britain, and John Warillow, an investor and entrepreneur in Canada.

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