Morning business round-up: IMF warns of weak global economy

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

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that global economic recovery is weakening as government policies have failed to restore confidence.

It added that the risk of further deterioration in the economic outlook was "considerable" and had increased.

The IMF downgraded its estimate for global growth in 2013 to 3.6% from the 3.9% it forecast in July.

One of the biggest downgrades was to the UK economy, which the IMF expects to shrink by 0.4% this year.

One of the main reasons for the downgrade was weakness in the eurozone.

In Greece, the most stricken country in the 17-strong area, there was tight security for a visit to Athens by the German leader Angela Merkel.

It was her first trip since the eurozone crisis erupted nearly three years ago.

Some 7,000 police officers are on duty, public gatherings are banned in certain areas of the city and protesters have been warned to "protect the peace".

The visit comes as Greece bids to pass new cuts of 13bn euros (£10.5bn; $17bn) to qualify for more bailout cash.

Analysts say Mrs Merkel is regarded by many Greeks as the author of austerity.

Banking deal

Elsewhere, there was a major banking deal as Barclays said it would acquire rival ING Direct UK.

Barclays will take on the Dutch banking group's £10.9bn UK deposits and its £5.6bn mortgage book.

The deal will involve the transfer of 750 ING Direct staff and 1.5 million customers to Barclays.

ING announced its plan to exit the UK in August, as it seeks to raise funds to repay a bailout from the Dutch government in 2008.

Barclays said it would eventually integrate the bank into its UK business.

Business headlines

Still in the UK, the political wrangling over the planned merger between the European defence and aerospace giant EADS and the UK's BAE Systems continues.

The UK defence secretary, Philip Hammond, will discuss a proposed merger between BAE and EADS with his French and German counterparts at a Nato meeting in Brussels later.

The firms are deciding whether to ask for an extension to a looming stock exchange deadline for them to announce whether the deal will go ahead.

On Monday, Mr Hammond said he did not think there was any chance the deal would be settled by the deadline.

The merger would create a powerful defence and aerospace giant.

The British and Americans are both insisting that the French and German governments reduce their stakes in EADS.

And back to news from struggling Europe. The charity the Red Cross is making its first-ever appeal to help Spain's poor.

It will ask Spanish people to donate money to help 300,000 of the most vulnerable people affected by the eurozone crisis.

Before the crisis, it mainly helped immigrants, but with one in four adults out of work, more and more Spanish families rely on food hand-outs.

A campaign video shows a family with an all but empty fridge receiving a box of groceries from the Red Cross.

The latest Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service has an interview with the chief economist of the IMF, Olivier Blanchard, on the reasons behind the lowering of the IMF's global growth forecast.

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