Morning business round-up: Moody's keeps French AAA rating

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

Ratings agency Moody's has said it is maintaining France's top AAA credit rating for now, three days after the country was downgraded by another agency, Standard & Poor's (S&P).

However, Moody's said it would update its position on France later this quarter.

European stock markets opened slightly higher on Monday, despite S&P's decision on Friday to cut credit ratings for France and several other EU countries.

The sinking of the Costa Concordia could cost parent firm Carnival up to $95m (£62m; 75m euro), the firm has said in a statement.

Carnival shares fell 18% in early trading after it said it expected the loss of earnings from the capsizing to be between $85m and $95m.

The ship ran aground on Friday night off Italy's coast, killing at least six people.

The UK Treasury has announced plans to make London the leading international centre for trading China's currency, the yuan, also known as the renminbi.

"London is perfectly placed to act as a gateway for Asian banking and investment in Europe," said UK Chancellor George Osborne.

Bankers say the plans could bring billions of pounds into the City.

China has been gradually relaxing strict controls on the value of its currency and on flows of capital.

Apple has published a list of its suppliers for the first time as it looks to head off criticism over how workers are treated.

The company also said it had increased its inspection of factories in an attempt to ensure proper working conditions for suppliers' employees.

Apple came under fire last year after workers committed suicide at factories owned by its supplier Foxconn.

The tech giant had so far kept details of its supply chain secret.

Iran has warned Gulf nations against boosting their oil production saying they will be responsible for the consequences of any such move.

The warning comes as the US and European Union have been seeking to curb Iran's oil exports.

Leaders from various nations are travelling to the region in a bid to seek extra supplies to offset any shortfalls.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

India's inflation rate fell sharply in December to 7.5% from 9.1% in the previous month, partly due to an easing in the rate of food price rises.

This is the first time inflation has fallen below 9% in almost two years.

Despite the fall, analysts said the central bank was unlikely to cut interest rates, which currently stand at 8.5%, next week.

India's central bank has increased rates 13 times since March 2010 in an effort to hold down rising prices.

Malaysia's state-owned investment firm Khazanah has sold its stake in carmaker Proton in one of the biggest deals in the country's auto sector.

Khazanah offloaded its 42.7% stake in for 1.29bn ringgit ($410m; £269m) to DRB-Hicom.

DRB, owned by billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, will have to make a mandatory offer for the remaining shares.

DRB already assembles vehicles for Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz.

The latest edition of Business Daily looks at the severity of the euro crisis in the face of credit downgrades and the deadlock in talks with holders of Greek bonds.

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