Morning business round-up: World Bank boss wants growth

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

The World's Bank's new president, Jim Yong Kim, has said that "market-based growth is a priority for every single country".

In the eurozone, car sales in Italy were down 26.7% in March compared with a year earlier, leading the falls in European car sales.

Registrations across the EU were down 7.0% to their lowest March level since 1998, according to an Association of European Automakers (ACEA) report.

In Asia, India cut its main interest rate for the first time in three years in a move that may signal a shift in focus to growth from inflation.

Elsewhere in the region, China increased its holding of US debt for the second month in a row as its foreign exchange reserves continue to rise.

Beijing bought $12.7bn of US bonds to increase its holding to $1178.9bn in February, latest data by the US Treasury department showed.

Meanwhile, Japan agreed to give the International Monetary Fund loans worth $60bn as the institution seeks extra cash from its members to shore up its finances and help deal with problems stemming from the European debt crisis.

Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose to 3.5% in March from 3.4% in February, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

Retailer Marks and Spencer admitted to running out of stock in some of its best-selling lines of womenswear, which contributed to a drop in sales.

And official statistics said that house prices in the UK were barely higher than a year ago.

There are big regional variations, with prices rising in London, the South East and Scotland, but falling sharply in Northern Ireland and the North East.

In the latest Business Daily podcast, economics correspondent Andrew Walker speaks to Dr Jim Yong Kim in his first radio interview after the World Bank named him as its next president. Is he the right leader for the World Bank?

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