Morning business round-up: ECB ready to act 'if necessary'


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

Its president Mario Draghi said: "The eurosystem will continue to supply liquidity to solvent banks where needed."

A general election in Greece on Sunday has heightened fears of further instability on financial markets.

The French retail giant said it was selling its stake in its Greek joint venture owing to fears about Greece's deteriorating economic situation.

It is selling to partner Marinopoulos, and will take a financial charge of about 220m euros (£179m; $278m) on the deal.

In a statement, the company said the move was in response to "challenges posed by the Greek economic context".

Carrefour's shares rose 1.68% following the announcement.

Demand for new passenger cars fell sharply across the European Union in May, reflecting weak consumer confidence in the wake of the financial crisis.

The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said new car registrations totalled 1,106,845 vehicles, down 8.7% compared to the same month last year.

France led the decline with a 16.2% market contraction, closely followed by Italy, which fell 14.3%.

Only the UK market grew, rising 7.9%.

Meanwhile, in the UK, its central bank acted to try to boost confidence and lending against a backdrop of failing business nerve in the face of the eurocrisis.

The Bank of England's plan, announced late on Thursday, came in response to the worsening economic outlook, its governor Sir Mervyn King said.

Together with the government, it will provide billions of pounds of cheap credit to banks to lend to companies.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

It has been 60 years since it last operated there and its return follows a US decision to suspend investment sanctions against the country.

Officials suspended the sanctions last month as the country has moved towards democratic reforms.

Coca-Cola is waiting for a licence from the US government.

The country was one of only three that Coca-Cola does not do business with.

And as Burma opens up to international business, the latest Business Daily podcast reports from Rangoon, and asks if Burma is set to become a new Asian Tiger, or whether the legacy of 50 years of mismanagement is too great an obstacle.

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