- Anthony Reuben
- Pia Gadkari
Last updated 18 December 2013Share
0600Pia Gadkari, Business reporter, BBC News
Hello and good morning. It's your last day for sending Christmas letters and parcels by second class mail today, while European finance ministers are holding a meeting to work on banking union. There's lots more coming up between now and 13:00 GMT.
0600Anthony Reuben, Business reporter, BBC News
Good morning. We've got the latest UK unemployment coming up later this morning and this evening it's Ben Bernanke's last hurrah at the US Federal Reserve. Stay with us until lunchtime and do get in touch via email@example.com or tweet @bbcbusiness.
0609 SUPERFAST BROADBAND
Today is Super Switch On Day. That's in honour of the government's programme to roll out super-fast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017. Six locations - Wiltshire & South Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent & Medway, Cheshire, the Cotswolds and Shropshire - will get connected later today. Communications Minister Ed Vaizey will be in the Cotswolds, so we'll bring you the best bits from that.
0612 UK UNEMPLOYMENTRadio 5 live
They've been talking about unemployment on Wake Up to Money. Their guest is Charlie Mullins, boss of Pimlico Plumbers, which employs 200 staff and 20 apprentices. "Things are improving," he says, but adds that he's urging the government to fund a nationwide apprenticeship scheme.
0622 INDIA CENTRAL BANK
The Reserve Bank of India has decided not to raise rates at its latest meeting. Analysts were split on whether any action would be taken today, as India remains stuck between slow growth (by its standards) and high inflation.
0631 LLOYDS SALE
The National Audit Office says the government lost £230m when it sold a 6% stake in Lloyds in September - and not the profit for taxpayers touted by Chancellor George Osborne. It says the government hasn't counted the borrowing costs for the original purchase, but is generally positive about the sale, saying the loss is just part of the cost of ensuring stability during the financial crisis.
0636 EUROPEAN BANKING UNIONRadio 4
There's a discussion on the Today programme about a potential banking union in Europe. Kathleen Brooks from Forex.com says it would protect countries from going bust when their banks fail. "Ultimately, it is to break the link between the sovereigns and the banks, but it is also to break the link between the German taxpayer and other banks not in Germany."
0641 HOUSE OF FRASER
The Financial Times says that House of Fraser is in advanced talks about being bought by the French department store chain Galeries Lafayette. It attributes the story to "two people familiar with the situation". The sale would be an alternative to House of Fraser's current plans to float on the London Stock Exchange in the New Year.
0648 FEDERAL RESERVE MEETINGRadio 4
Markets are waiting and watching today to see if the US Federal Reserve decides to pull back on its easy money policy. Pippa Malmgrem, financial adviser to former President George W Bush, says: "The markets are living on massive doses of morphine," adding that nobody knows for sure how much of the recovery seen so far is due to that policy - or what will happen when it's taken away.
0656 FEDERAL RESERVE MEETINGRadio 4
More from that discussion about Fed policy on Radio 4. Simon Derrick of Bank of New York Mellon says that when the US central bank starts printing less money, it's likely the value of the dollar will start to go up - unless there are measures put in place to counter that. Meanwhile, Mike Amey from Pimco says bond markets have already factored in a potential winding down of quantitative easing.