Morning business round-up: Spain's borrowing costs rise


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

Spain's struggles with high borrowing costs again made the financial headlines in Europe, with the news that its bond yields had hit a 16-year high.

Madrid sold 2.2bn euros (£1.7bn) of bonds repayable in two, three and five years.

The yield on five-year bonds rose to 6.07% from 4.96% in May, and went up to 5.54% on three-year bonds from 4.87%.

There are now increasing calls for eurozone ministers, who gather in Luxembourg later, to back plans to reduce government borrowing costs.

Also in Europe, the eurozone debt crisis continues to weigh heavily on economic activity within the 17-nation bloc, according to a closely watched survey.

The Purchasing Managers' Index, compiled by Markit, was stuck at 46 in June, the same level as May, which was the lowest level for three years.

Any reading below 50 indicates contraction.

In Germany, where economic activity has saved the eurozone from recession, the reading fell from 49.3 to 48.5.

Restructuring plan

In the aviation sector French airline Air France announced that it is to cut more than 5,000 jobs by the end of 2013, in an attempt to reduce costs and return to growth.

The figure represents just under 10% of the total workforce of 53,000.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

The job cuts form part of a restructuring plan to restore profitability, in the face of increased competition and soaring fuel costs.

Air France says it is hoping to avoid compulsory redundancies through natural turnover and voluntary redundancies.

The court said that Apple had infringed a patent held by Samsung relating to the way phones and tablet PCs connect to the internet.

Apple, which recently became the world's most valuable firm, has been facing various legal issues.

Across in the UK, official data showed that UK retail sales volumes rose 1.4% in May from April, slightly ahead of analysts' forecasts.

Sales had slumped 2.3% in April, thanks to the wet weather and consumers panic-buying petrol in March.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said sales of clothes and shoes had boosted volumes in May.

A monthly rise of 1.2% had been expected. Analysts said the ONS data tied in with sales figures reported by retailers in recent weeks.

Cancelled takeover

Finally, in corporate news, shares in UK engineering group Invensys dropped more than 15% after it said it was no longer in talks with US firm Emerson about a possible takeover.

Invensys shares rose 27% on Wednesday following a report that Emerson was interested in buying the UK firm.

Invensys has now confirmed that it had been in talks with third parties and had received a "highly preliminary approach" from Emerson.

But it said in a statement that "these discussions were no longer ongoing".

And in our Business Daily podcast, we look at the importance of honesty in business. Plus, the BBC's Europe business correspondent Nigel Cassidy reports from Athens after a new coalition government was agreed.

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