Morning business round-up: China's export slowdown fear

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

China faces "severe challenges" to its exports due to economic difficulties in key Western markets, the country's commerce ministry has warned.

Data due to be released on Saturday will show a sharp slowdown in export growth in November, the ministry said.

Sales to Europe and the US, which comprise about 40% of total exports, were not expected to recover next year.

The entire board of Olympus intends to resign and some members will be subject to an internal inquiry into wrongdoing, the company has said.

A third director of the scandal-hit Japanese camera maker quit on Wednesday

Chairman Shuichi Takayama said he and the rest would follow as soon as a shareholders meeting could be arranged, the earliest being late February.

Mr Takayama also unveiled a probe into the $1.7bn (£1.1bn) accounting scandal to examine the role of 70 executives.

Tougher rules to tackle the eurozone debt crisis can be achieved without changing EU treaties, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy says.

In a leaked report for a crucial EU summit beginning on Thursday, he offers a fast-track "fiscal compact" that does not need lengthy ratification by parliaments or national referendums.

Germany and France are pushing for a new EU treaty by March, saying stricter rules should be enshrined there.

India's parliament has ended a two-week deadlock after the government confirmed it was suspending a plan to open up the retail market to global supermarkets.

The decision has been suspended "till a consensus is developed through consultation among various stakeholders", a statement said.

Opposition parties hailed a "victory" but the government insisted the suspension was only temporary.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

Anglo-French electrical retailer Kesa, which is selling its Comet business, has reported a half-year loss and said market conditions are more challenging.

The group reported a pre-tax loss of 9.2m euros (£7.9m) for the six months to the end of October, compared to a profit of 32.4m euros a year earlier.

Comet made a pre-tax loss of 25.7m euros over the period.

Australia's economy grew more than expected in the third quarter, driven by building and mining activity.

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose 2.5% in the three months till the end of September from the same period a year earlier, the statistical bureau said.

Analysts expected a gain of 2.1%, and the Australian dollar rose slightly on the news.

Despite the stronger growth, there are fears about coming quarters with a slowdown expected in Europe and China.

The UK's industrial output fell 0.7% in October, its fastest fall for six months, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Compared with the same month in 2010, output was 1.7% lower, the biggest annual fall since April.

Manufacturing output also fell 0.7% in October, the biggest monthly drop since April and three times the fall forecast by analysts.

The Business Daily programme looks at the struggles by EU leaders to save the euro, and examines the legal pitfalls of trying to unscramble cross-border contracts and the potential financial panic a break-up could trigger.

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