Morning business round-up: Spain denies imminent bailout

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

Spain's economy minister has dampened speculation that the country is about to seek a bailout of its bank sector.

Luis de Guindos said no decision would be made until audits of the banks were completed, possibly by the end of June.

There have been reports in the past few days that Spain is seeking an immediate bailout from eurozone funds.

Also on Wednesday, the European Commission unveiled proposals designed to stop taxpayers' money being used to bail out failed banks.

The aim is to ensure losses are borne by bank shareholders and creditors and minimise costs for taxpayers.

The biggest bank affected was Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest lender, which was cut to A3 from A2.

"Today's rating actions are driven by the increased risk of further shocks emanating from the euro area debt crisis," Moody's said.

The second estimate of gross domestic product also said there had been no growth in the wider 27-nation EU in the period.

The eurozone economy contracted in the last three months of 2011, so the zero growth means it has just managed to avoid recession.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

Australia's economy grew by more-than-expected in the first three months of the year, allaying fears of a global slowdown hurting its growth.

The economy grew by 1.3% during the period from the previous three months. Analysts had projected a 0.5% expansion.

Compared with the same period last year, the economy grew by 4.3%.

There have been fears that slowing global demand for commodities and a stagnant domestic market may hurt Australia's growth.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways has bought a 4% stake in Virgin Australia, in an attempt to expand its global presence.

Etihad said it had acquired the stake for $35.6m (£23.1m) and added that it was keen to raise its holding in Virgin Australia to as much as 10%.

It is the fourth time since December last year that Etihad has bought a stake in another airline.

In the UK, growth in the construction sector slowed to a three-month low in May. The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) for construction fell to 54.4 last month, from 55.8 in April.

However, the reading indicates that the sector is still growing, as a figure above 50 implies expansion.

Office for National Statistics figures found a fall in construction output in the first quarter of 2012 contributed to the overall economy contracting.

The company said it would build a new distillery in Speyside or the Highlands and would draw up plans for a second if demand was sufficient.

New warehouses to store the Scotch will also be built.

In the latest Business Daily podcast Apple's former advertising director Ken Segall says the firm's success is down to keeping things simple, while economist Pedro Schwartz discusses Spain's latest efforts to raise capital for its banks.

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