Business

Morning business round-up: Cyprus holds crisis talks

  • 20 March 2013
  • From the section Business
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What's making the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Political leaders in Cyprus are meeting for emergency talks after its parliament overwhelmingly rejected an international bailout deal.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is meeting party leaders to hammer out a Plan B after a one-off tax on savings failed to get the support of any MPs.

Germany says banks in Cyprus may never reopen if a bailout is not agreed.

Cyprus's finance minister is in Moscow to seek help from Russia, which holds multi-billion dollar investments.

As a result of the uncertainty in Cyprus, the euro lost ground against a number of major currencies including the US dollar, the yen and the Australian dollar.

BBC business editor Robert Peston says the Cypriot bailout debacle shows how far the eurozone is from the kind of solidarity which many believe essential to the currency union's long-term survival.

In Asian news, South Korean officials are investigating a suspected cyber-attack that has paralysed computer networks at broadcasters and banks.

Broadcasters KBS, MBC and YTN told police their networks were halted around 14:00, Yonhap news agency said.

Two banks, Shinhan Bank and Nonghyup, said their networks were affected.

The exact cause of the problems remains unknown. Last week, North Korea accused the US and its allies of attacks on its internet servers.

In the UK, Chancellor George Osborne is preparing to deliver the country's annual Budget later on Wednesday.

Mr Osborne has said he will "tackle the economy's problems head on" and help "those who want to work hard and get on".

The government is under pressure after output shrank at the end of 2012 and the UK lost its triple A credit rating.

There will be more cuts to fund infrastructure projects, but the opposition Labour party is urging Mr Osborne to "change course".

In the run-up to the Budget, there was further gloomy news for the UK economy when official figures showed that unemployment had gone up by 7,000 to 2.52 million between November and January.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in February fell by 1,500 to 1.54 million, the lowest level since June 2011, the Office for National Statistics said.

Despite the unemployment rise, the overall figure held at 7.8%.

The latest Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service asks: what is going on in Cyprus? With the Cypriot parliament rejecting a bailout deal, and the EU standing tough, who will blink first?

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