Business

Morning business round-up: UK's great India partnership

  • 18 February 2013
  • From the section Business

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

David Cameron has said the UK can forge one of "the great partnerships of the 21st century" with India, as he arrives in Mumbai to begin a three-day visit.

With business the main focus, he leads what 10 Downing Street says is the largest trade delegation taken on an overseas trip by a prime minister.

Among those represented are Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and BP - plus the British Museum and London's Underground.

Meanwhile, Mr Cameron has appeared to indicate that the UK's visa process could be made easier for Indian businesses.

Speaking at the first stop on his trip, a question and answer session at Unilever headquarters in Mumbai, he told the audience: "India's rise is going to be one of the great phenomena of this century and it is incredibly impressive to see."

"Britain wants to be your partner of choice. We've only just started on the sort of partnership that we could build.

"As far as I'm concerned, the sky is the limit."

Japanese shares have risen after finance ministers of the G20 group of nations avoided singling out Japan for criticism over the recent yen weakness.

The yen has dipped nearly 15% against the US dollar since November amid Japan's efforts to stoke inflation.

There were concerns that a criticism from the G20 may prompt Japan to alter its aggressive stance. The fears were that it would result in the yen rising again and hurt Japan's plans to spur growth.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 2%.

Meanwhile, the Japanese currency continued to weaken. It fell 0.6% to 94.12 yen against the US dollar. It also dipped 0.5% to 125.50 yen against the euro in early Asian trade.

"At the G20 meeting, there wasn't as much criticism from emerging countries about the recent yen's weakness as feared. That spurred yen selling," said Kyoya Okazawa, head of global equities at BNP Paribas.

Thailand's economic growth exceeded expectations in the last three months of 2012 as it continued to recover from the previous year's devastating floods.

Gross domestic product surged 18.9% in the October-December period, from a year earlier. Most analysts had forecast a figure close to 15%.

Compared with the previous quarter, the economy grew by 3.6%.

Analysts said the data may lessen the pressure on the central bank to ease its monetary policies to spur growth.

"Overall, the Thailand economy is in a pretty good shape right now," Rahul Bajoria, an economist with Barclays Capital told the BBC.

"It is unlikely that the central bank will cut rates anytime soon. The numbers clearly indicate that there is no urgent need to do that."

Workers at the Spanish airline Iberia have begun a five-day strike in protest at planned cuts to jobs and salaries.

Iberia has cancelled more than 400 flights out of 1,000 scheduled for this week, with cabin crew and baggage handlers staging the walk-out.

A lack of services at Spanish airports are expected to affect more than 1,000 flights from various airlines.

Iberia has announced plans to cut 3,807 jobs after it reported mounting losses last year. In the first nine month of 2012 it lost 262m euros (£226m; $349m).

Unions are planning three separate five-day strikes in February and March.

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