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Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Matthew West

All times stated are UK

Matthew West

Business Reporter

That's the end of another day for the Business live page. Tomorrow we have a Christmas trading update from JD Sports among other highlights. We'll see you tomorrow from 06:00.

Playing cricket in North Korea

World Service

North Korea tourists
Getty Images

Tour guide Simon Cockerell explains how

playing cricket has helped the tourism industry in North Korea as part of a special edition of Business Daily. Listen to the podcast of the programme on the economic life of the secretive state
here.

Via Twitter

Davos speak

Joe Miller

Business Reporter

WEF global risks report
BBC

"

Why the world still needs journalists. This is SECOND sentence of the WEF Global Risks report summary. #DavosSpeak "

Bank of America profits

People walk past a branch of Bank of America
AP

Bank of America has reported a 9% drop in profits in the three months to the end of December. It said net income was $3.1bn in its fourth quarter compared with $3.4bn for the same period a year year earlier. The bank blamed the fall in profit on lower revenue from bond trading.

RBS admits business loan mis-selling

RBS said its review carried out in the summer at the behest of Business Secretary Vince Cable, identified a number of instances where it had "not properly explained to customers how borrower and guarantor liabilities work under the EFG scheme". As yet there is no word on whether RBS will be fined by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for the mis-selling. The FCA says it is in dialogue with the bank.

RBS admits business loan mis-selling

A Royal Bank of Scotland sign,
PA

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has admitted mis-selling loans to business customers under a taxpayer-backed scheme. The bank says it loaned more than £900m to 9,000 small firms since the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme was set up in 2009.

House prices

RICS has added that a majority of its members (36%) reported a fall in property prices in London. But it says that if demand from potential buyers starts to pick up from its current sluggish levels - and the winter is traditionally fairly quiet in the property market - the increased competition for the few properties available could push house prices up fairly rapidly.

H&M sales

A dog waits its owner at a Hennes ^ Mauritz (H^M) store in downtown Lisbon
Reuters

Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), the world's second-biggest fashion retailer behind Spain's Inditex - which earlier was

named and shamed by the government for failing to pay its staff the minimum wage here in the UK - has reported better than expected sales for December, helped by the colder weather after an unusually mild autumn in Europe. It says sales were 15% higher in the month compared with the same month a year ago.

House prices

A row of houses in London,
PA

House price growth weakened in December to its slowest pace in 18 months, according to the latest market survey. But the

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says there are so few properties on sale in the market that it seems "implausible" that house prices will show much of a dip in the coming year.

Via Twitter

Deflation?

Robert Peston

Economics editor

"

So there's no deflation risk? Well Swiss National Bank must think there is, because it is cutting its interest rate by 0.5% to minus 0.75%"

Via Email

Simon Atkinson

Editor, India Business Report

Spicejet plane
Reuters

India's troubled airline Spicejet appears to have been saved - after a group of investors led by the airline's co-founder Ajay Singh agreed to buy the shares of current owner.

The carrier has been running a scaled back service and had only been able to keep operating after fuel companies and airports were persuaded by the government to give the carrier more time to pay its bills.

FTSE falls

FTSE 100
BBC

That announcement from the Swiss National Bank has affected stock markets across Europe. The chart above shows how

the FTSE 100 lurched lower and then recovered a bit. "It's not every day that a central bank pulls the rug out from underneath something in such a massive way, and clearly people are worried that there's something bigger afoot," said IG market analyst Chris Beauchamp.

BP cuts jobs

BP Andrew platform
BP

BP is to cut 200 jobs and 100 contractor roles following a review of its North Sea operations. It is believed that most of the cuts will be onshore. The company expects a relatively small number of compulsory redundancies.

Swiss shares swoon

Swiss stock exchange
Bloomberg

The main index of

Swiss shares, the SMI, is down 7%, following that decision by the Swiss National Bank to abandon the Swiss franc's peg to the euro.

Via Twitter

Duncan Weldon

Economics correspondent, BBC Newsnight

"

In terms of a global currency war - Switzerland has gone nuclear. Many central banks believe that power comes not from surprising markets but guiding them. The Swiss disagree... "

Via Email

Jon Copestake

Economist Intelligence Unit

"

The Home Retail Group figures highlight the disruptive influence that Black Friday has had on the Christmas shopping period. The date itself is driving strong growth, a 45% increase in the case of Argos. However, weaker trading during the rest of the period shows that demand for fell away in subsequent weeks when traditionally a build-up to Christmas takes place."

Via Blog

Anthony Reuben

Head of Statistics, BBC News

"

We're going to have to wait a month to read Bank of England governor Mark Carney's letter explaining why inflation has fallen to 0.5%. Mr Carney could always crib his letter from Mr Osborne's speech to the Royal Economic Society, explaining that low inflation is ok for the UK because it's driven by external factors such as the oil price."

Euro plummets against Swiss franc

Euro vs Swiss franc
BBC

You can see the

euro plummeted against the Swiss franc, after the Swiss National Bank abandoned efforts to keep the currency at 1.20 Swiss francs to the euro. The euro fell as low as 0.8052 francs per euro, before recovering a bit.

Switzerland abandons currency peg

Swiss flag
Getty Images

The Swiss National Bank has abandoned its policy of holding the Swiss franc to a level of 1.20 Swiss francs to the euro. At the same time the bank is cutting a key interest rate further, from -0.25% to -0.75%.

BreakingBreaking News

German economy grows by 1.5%

The German economy grew by 1.5% in 2014, its strongest performance for three years, the

first official estimates have shown.

Cadbury job losses

The Bournville site in Birmingham
PA

More than 200 Cadbury workers are being made redundant. The company, owned by US-based Kraft, says the redundancies are part of a deal that will secure chocolate production at Bournville for the next 25 years. Earlier this week Kraft and Cadbury caused angst by

changing the recipe for the Creme Egg.

Deflation in Spain

Spanish flag
Getty Images

Consumer Price Inflation in Spain dropped to -1% in December, down from -0.4 in November. There has been deflation in Spain now for 6 months. Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, was flat, compared to a 0.1% drop a month earlier.

Inflation

BBC Radio 4

According to the

International Labour Organisation since the late 1990s wages haven't kept pace with rising productivity, Lord Tuner tells
Today. That has a lot to do "with the nature of modern technology and intensity of competition" around the world but it also acts as a drag on the economy in the long term because consumers, in order to pay for goods, get themselves into debt.

Market update

Shares in London have started with a healthy gain, the

FTSE 100 is up 1.1%. Energy related shares have moved higher.

Inflation

BBC Radio 4

Lord Turner
PA

City grandee Lord Adair Turner - now at the Institute for Economic Thinking says China is dealing with "an enormous amount of debt" which was added over the last five years to offset a global economic slowdown. He says "very strong" deflationary pressure is going to remain on the global economy which will keep interest rates low "for a long period of time".

Argos owner shares slump

Argos concept store
Argos

Shares in Argos owner,

Home Retail Group, are down almost 6%. That's after the company reported flat Christmas sales and said Black Friday had brought forward Christmas shopping.

BP job cuts?

BBC Radio 4

An oil rig in the North Sea
PA

BP expects an oil price of around $50 to $60 per barrel for two to three years, the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston tells

Today. That's obviously bad news for BP's profits it's also bad news for the city of Aberdeen which is heavily reliant on the North Sea oil industry for jobs.
BP is expected to announce "several hundred" job cuts later today, he says.

NS&I website problems

Responding to problems with its website NS&I says: "We are currently experiencing high demand for our

new 65+ Guaranteed Growth Bonds - customers may have to wait longer than normal to contact us. We're sorry for the inconvenience this has caused and are grateful to our customers for their patience. Our call centres are open 24/7 and we expect the bonds to be on sale for months rather than weeks."

Newspaper review

Business pages
BBC

The Financial Times leads with cut backs in the oil industry, highlighting announcements by Shell and Premier Oil. Times Business Editor Alistair Osborne takes a look at the 26% decline in Glencore's shares since October and how that's hampering its bid for Rio Tinto. The Wall Street Journal reports that investigators looking at manipulation of the currency markets have uncovered "new signs" of wrongdoing. And The Guardian says MPs are urging retailers to abandon Black Friday discounting.

Caesars unit in bankruptcy filing

Caesars Palace
Reuters

The biggest unit of casino giant Caesars Entertainment

is filing for court protection from its creditors. The chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Caesars Entertainment Operating Company follows the purchase of Harrah's Entertainment in 2006, which loaded the company with debt. Caesars' casinos and hotels are expected to operate normally, while a restructuring takes place.

Mothercare sales

General view of the Mothercare sign
BBC

UK like-for-like sales at

Mothercare rose 1% in the 13 weeks to 10 January. Worldwide sales were also higher by 2.2% in the period, although group sales overall were lower by 2.9%. Mothercare resisted a takeover last year from US rival, Destination Maternity. It has also previously warned its UK business won't make a profit for at least another two years.

Primark sales boost

High street shoppers outside the flagship Primark store on Oxford Street
Getty Images

It has been another good quarter for Primark, owned by

Associated British Foods (ABF). Sales at the clothing store in the 16 weeks to 3 January were 15% ahead of the same period a year earlier. It's not all good news though, ABF is closing down some of its beet sugar operations in northern China with losses of £128m, that includes the write down of assets and one-off cash costs of £18m.

Via Twitter

Pensioner bonds

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland

If you're 65+,

new bonds launched today by NS&I: 1-yr at 2.8%, 3-yr at 4%. Govt initiative for older savers hit by low interest rates

Tullow Oil

Tullow Oil equipment, Singapore
Tullow Oil

Tullow Oil's total one-off charges would have been significantly higher were they not offset by one-off gains related to the acquisition of Spring Energy and other assets. Its balance sheet records impairments of $400m relating to exploration activities, while the scrapping of drilling projects has resulted in an additional impairment of $1.2bn.

Via Twitter

Nick Bubb

Independent retail analyst

"

Argos LFL sales only flat at Xmas (the City expected +2%), with strength in video games and TV's offset by weakness in tablets and jewellery"

Argos results

Argos owner, Home Retail Group, says that Black Friday promotions "significantly impacted" the timing of Argos sales over the Christmas trading period. Basically, Christmas shopping was bought forward. The outcome was like-for-like sales up just 0.1%, but improved profit margins and "good cost management," the retailer said.

Tullow Oil

Tullow Oil has reported a gross profit of $600m for the year to 31 December, down from $1.4bn a year earlier. It has also announced $600m in impairment charges for the year.

Inflation

BBC Radio 4

Dr Sentance says that the MPC will resist reacting to short term impacts on the economy such as the falling price of oil. If it reacted to every economic event it could mess up the economy in other ways, he says. The thing to do is focus on the 2% target over the medium term, he adds.