Morning business round-up: HSBC profits fall

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

HSBC has announced a fall in profits after the company revalued the amount of debt on its books.

Pre-tax profit for the first three months of the year was $4.3bn (£2.7bn), down 12% on the $4.9bn the bank made a year earlier.

However, revenue and underlying profits increased sharply and the bank said it had made a "good start to the year".

Air India has fired 10 pilots after dozens of them called in sick amid a dispute over training for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes.

The airline has derecognised the Indian Pilots' Guild and its office is being sealed, an Air India spokesman said.

Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh called the informal strike "illegal".

The Australian government has said it will end four years of public spending deficits and return to a budget surplus.

The surplus will be 1.54bn Australian dollars ($1.56bn; £967m) in the year to 30 June 2013, said Treasurer Wayne Swan.

The government said it will cut defence spending and defer an increase in overseas aid by a year.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

Oil transactions are usually settled in dollars but US sanctions make it difficult for Iran to accept payments in the US currency.

Iran is using the revenue to buy goods and services from China, Mohammed Reza Fayyad, Iran's ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, confirmed.

The move comes after the firm suffered the embarrassment of losing a shareholder vote on executive pay at its annual general meeting last week.

Meanwhile, leading bureaux de change in the UK are selling euros at a rate of 1.20 to the pound for the first time in three-and-a-half years.

The jump in the value of the pound versus the euro reflects worries about the eurozone in the wake of the Greek and French elections.

The total volume of output from the country's factories, power stations and building sites rose a seasonally-adjusted 2.8% in the month, well ahead of forecasts for a rise of 0.8%.

The latest edition of Business Daily asks: Is Asia's wealth gap worsening?

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