Morning business round-up: Spain borrowing costs rise

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

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Spain has paid sharply higher rates of interest to borrow money on the international markets, as worries grow about the state of its economy.

In total, it raised 2.5bn euros ($3.2bn; £2bn) through issuing a number of different types of bonds.

On bonds due to be paid back in January 2015, it had to pay an interest rate of 4.373%, up from 2.89% in April.

On debt maturing in April 2016, Spain had to pay an interest rate of 5.106%, up from 3.374% on 15 March.

France's new finance minister has reiterated that the country's new socialist government will not ratify the European Union's (EU) fiscal pact.

Pierre Moscovici said the pact would have to include provisions for growth before France signed up.

The fiscal pact aims to ensure governments keep a tighter control of spending to reduce debt levels.

French President Francois Hollande is campaigning for a greater focus on growth alongside austerity.

General Motors has said that Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port car factory will build at least 160,000 Astra vehicles a year in a deal that secures the future of the plant and should protect and create thousands of jobs.

GM said it would invest £125m in the plant and spend about £1bn in the UK supply chain.

It was feared that Ellesmere Port could shut under a GM restructuring plan that may still see a European plant close.

The world's biggest mobile phone network, China Mobile, could soon offer its customers the Apple iPhone.

The Chinese carrier's chairman has confirmed the two firms are in talks.

Compatibility issues between the iPhone and China Mobile's 3G network mean that currently Apple's handsets only work on the much slower 2G service.

The problem could be resolved with the launch of the next iPhone, rumoured to happen this summer, and when China adopts the 4G standard, analysts say.

China Mobile is the country's biggest mobile phone network, and in terms of users the world's largest.

Business headlines

Japan's economy grew by 1% between January and March compared with the previous three months, as government spending helped fuel a gradual recovery from last year's earthquake and tsunami.

A recovery in private consumption has also helped boost the economy.

Chinese demand for gold hit a record in the first quarter of 2012, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).

Chinese demand for jewellery and gold as an investment hit 255.2 tonnes in the period, helped by purchases during the Chinese New Year holiday.

The WGC said inflation and restrictions on the property market were likely to boost demand further.

But overall, global demand fell 5% to 1,097.6 tonnes, which the WGC blamed on a sharp rise in gold prices.

The latest Business Daily podcast an adviser to the German government, Professor Christoph Schmidt, says that Greece must stick to the terms of its bailout agreement, despite fears that Greek voters will reject austerity in next month's elections.

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