Morning business round-up: China trade data boost


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

Better-than-expected trade data from China has fuelled hopes that its economic growth may be rebounding from the recent slowdown.

Exports, a key growth driver, jumped 25% in January from a year earlier, while imports surged 28.8% indicating a robust pick up in domestic demand.

"China's economic conditions are improving and the trade data confirms the continuation of a recovery trend," said Hirokazu Yuihama, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.

The strong data gave European stock markets a boost when trading got underway.

While European markets were looking at matters in Asia, European Union leaders were concentrating on trying to reach a deal on the 2014-2020 EU budget.

After all-night talks, officials said that a broad framework had been agreed, but hard bargaining still lay ahead at the summit in Brussels.

Leaders are studying proposals for a 908bn euro (£774bn) budget for the full seven years - 5bn euros lower than an earlier proposal.

media captionBiz Heads

In November, the leaders failed to reach agreement amid deep divisions over cuts - a key UK demand.

In corporate news, French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen has said it is writing down the value of its assets by 4.1bn euros ($5.5bn; £3.5bn) to reflect the worsening state of Europe's car market.

Peugeot said new accounting guidelines had prompted the move and that it was reversible when conditions improve.

The statement comes ahead of next week's earnings and indicates the carmaker will report heavy losses for the period.

Elsewhere in the car industry, Japan's Nissan reported a big fall in third quarter profits, blaming weak demand in Europe, China and the US.

Net profit fell to 54.1bn yen ($583m; £371m) in the October-to-December period, down 35% from a year earlier.

Sales in the quarter dropped 5.3% to 2.2 trillion yen, with sales in its biggest market, China, down 31.3%. Sales of Japanese goods in China have been hurt by a territorial dispute between the two countries.

Despite this, Nissan maintained its 340bn yen profit forecast for the full year.

Shares in Japanese electronics maker Sony have slumped 10% after investors expressed their disappointment at the firm's latest results.

After the close of market trading on Thursday, the firm had reported losses for the October-December period of 10.8bn yen ($115m; £73m).

The maker of the Playstation and Bravia TVs has lost money for the past four years.

In Australia, revenue collection from the country's controversial mining tax has fallen well short of initial expectations.

The government said it collected A$126m ($130m; £80m) in the six months since it was implemented on 1 July 2012.

It had forecast revenues of A$2bn in the year to 30 June 2013 from the move, which imposes a 30% tax on iron ore and coal mining firms in the country.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said that a drop in commodity prices had hit the resources sector and hurt tax revenues.

The latest Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service considers whether all-night negotiations are really the right way to take decisions on such important matters as the EU budget. Plus it looks at the benefits and the downside of tackling crime in Rio de Janeiro's slums.

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