Morning business round-up: Standard Chartered shares drop


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

Shares in Standard Chartered have tumbled despite the bank denying allegations that it illegally "schemed" with Iran to launder money.

The New York State Department of Financial Services said the UK-based bank laundered as much as $250bn (£161bn) over nearly a decade.

It said the bank hid transactions for "Iranian financial institutions" that were subject to US economic sanctions.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), owner of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, has released footage of how it managed meltdowns in three reactors.

In the footage, workers can be seen dealing with what they thought was an explosion and urgently trying to understand the scale of the problem.

Tepco has faced criticism over the way it handled the nuclear crisis.

India's new finance minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, has pledged to clarify tax laws and take measures to boost investment in the Indian economy.

In its latest budget, the government had proposed laws which would allow retrospective taxation, a move that was widely criticised.

There are fears that the law may deter foreign investors from entering India and hurt the country's growth. Mr Chidambaram said he had ordered a review of those proposals.

Italy's economy shrank 0.7% in the second quarter, underlining a deepening recession, as government austerity measures continue to affect everything from factory activity to consumer spending.

The economy contracted for the fourth quarter in a row, preliminary figures showed.

Compared with a year earlier, growth slumped by 2.5%, Istat said.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

Intercontinental Hotels (IHG), the world's biggest hotelier, has reported a sharp jump in profits, thanks in part to increased sales in China.

Pre-tax profit for the three months to the end of June was $178m (£114m), up 60% on the $111m the company made a year ago. Revenue was up 3% at $469m.

The owner of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands also announced a $1bn return of capital to shareholders.

Xstrata, which is in the midst of a takeover bid by Glencore, has said its profits dropped in the first half of this year, reflecting falling commodity prices and higher costs.

The Anglo-Swiss miner said net profit in the six months to June fell 33% to $1.9bn (£1.22bn) from a year earlier as nickel and zinc prices slumped.

Revenue fell to $15.5bn from $16.7bn from a year earlier.

In the UK, retail sales were subdued in July, despite better weather and the start of the Olympics towards the end of the month.

These factors helped the sale of food and drink, the figures from the British Retail Consortium indicated.

Overall, sales rose just 0.1% in July compared with a year earlier on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of newly opened shops.

In the latest Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service, Lesley Curwen talks to a former UK regulator about the Standard Chartered affair, and also looks at how Olympic host cities should approach the many risks involved in holding the Games.

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