Morning business round-up: Spain's economy shrinks

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

The Spanish economy continued to shrink at a "significant rate" in the third quarter, the Bank of Spain has said.

Spain is currently in a deepening recession, with the unemployment rate at its highest level since the 1970s.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Saturday he expected the economy to contract by about 0.4% in the July-to-September quarter.

European stock markets fell on Wednesday morning, with concerns about Spain adding to fears over global growth.

Trade unions in Greece have begun the first general strike since the country's conservative-led coalition government came to power in June.

Wednesday's 24-hour walkout is to protest at new planned spending cuts of more than 11.5bn euros ($15bn; £9bn).

The savings are a pre-condition to Greece receiving its next tranche of bailout funds, without which the country could face bankruptcy in weeks.

Japanese carmakers, including Nissan and Toyota, are cutting production of vehicles in China.

Nissan, the biggest Japanese carmaker in China, said output would stop from Thursday, three days earlier than a planned holiday closure.

Toyota said it was reducing output because of a slowdown in demand.

It comes shortly after a wave of anti-Japanese protests across China that led to a halt in production for several days at many Japanese companies.

The demonstrations were a result of a territorial dispute between the two countries over islands in the East China Sea.

The managing director of the UK's Financial Services Authority, Martin Wheatley, is to publish a report into how to reform Libor later this week.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

"If Mr Wheatley's recommendations include a change of responsibility for Libor, the BBA will support that," the BBA said.

Barclays has been fined for attempting to rig Libor rates over several years, with several other banks also under investigation.

Lloyd's of London has returned to half-year profitability after there were no major natural disasters in the first six months of 2012.

The insurance market made a pre-tax profit of £1.53bn in the half year to 30 June.

This compares with a loss of £697m a year earlier, when it was hit by claims relating to the Japanese tsunami of March 2011.

Lloyd's said insurance claims were down by a third.

The latest Business Daily programme on the BBC World Service looks at the digital currency, invented online to circumvent some of the miseries of the material world. But what is a digital currency, and is it really safe?

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