Business Live: Toyota to recall almost 7 million vehicles

    12:59: Joe Miller Business Reporter

    Join us from 06:00. See you then.

    12:59: Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News

    Bye bye from Business Live for this session. One of Thursday's highlights should be final results from Marks & Spencer. Among many other topics.

    THE FRENCH LIFE 12:51:
    French rest

    The advent of email and smartphones has been spoiling the French working week, reports The Times. Unions and employers representing a million workers in the digital and consultancy sectors have struck a deal that stipulates workers are left alone once out of the office. All this is to protect the "133 hours of the week in which they are supposed to rest". Le repos dans la vie.

    UK EXPORTS Via Twitter Colletta Smith BBC NI Business Reporter

    tweets: "The @EY_ITEMClub saying trade deficit only closing because of fewer imports rather than growing #exports"

    LIME OUT 12:39:

    Airline passengers in the US are having to forego lime in their on-board drinks, reports AP. Shortages and a 50% price rise have caused some airlines to lay off them for now. Serious geo-political and economic reasons underpin the shortage: Mexican lime growing has been interrupted by unrest caused by drug cartels and flooding. California growers are contending with drought.

    INDIA HIGH 12:29:

    The Bombay Stock Exchange has been full of life today. The main index reached a record high. Two of the gainers were Ranbaxy Laboratories and Sun Pharmaceuticals - they are joining forces. Ranbaxy shares leapt 24% in the run up to the announcement, sparking fears of insider dealing and complaints from some market participants.

    LISTEN AGAIN 12:19: World Service

    Business Daily continues a series examining the world economy from the perspective of the chemical elements, this time by investigating lithium. It powers so many of the gadgets we now take for granted and may soon even fuel the cars we drive.


    Teething problems at the Bombay Stock Exchange. Reuters reports that share prices on India's main trading floor stopped updating for about 15-20 minutes earlier today, the second day in a row this has happened at Asia's oldest exchange. The BSE introduced a new trading system on Monday.


    Storms have brought tumbleweed to the drought-stricken prairies of southern Colorado, AP reports. It's blocking rural roads and irrigation canals, and even barricading homes. Local governments have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to get rid of the weeds. Parts of New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas are also affected.


    Nicky Morgan has been appointed Financial Secretary to the Treasury, replacing Sajid Javid, who replaces Maria Miller as Culture Secretary. She has also been appointed Minister for Women and will attend Cabinet in that role.

    CO-OP REFORM Via Blog Kamal Ahmed BBC Business editor

    blogs: "Lord Myners has until a special general meeting of the Co-op Group in the summer to get his proposals agreed. He will have a tough job."


    The main European stock markets are creeping higher as the morning progresses. The FTSE 100 is up 0.79% at 6643.06. In Paris the Cac 40 is up 0.57% at 4450.23 and in Frankfurt the Dax is up 0.49% at 9537.68. Insurers reliant on motor premiums are among the fallers, with Admiral down 1.4%, Direct Line down 3% and esure down 6.6% - although the latter went ex-dividend today, an even that often sparks selling.

    HP 'CORRUPTION' 11:18:

    Reuters is reporting that tech company Hewlett Packard will later today acknowledge "corrupt activities" at its Polish unit. This follows an industry wide probe into alleged bribes made to government officials to secure contracts.


    More from the European Commission on executive pay. "Today, there is an insufficient link between management pay and performance and this encourages harmful short-term tendencies," says its report.


    The European Commission has proposed new rules to control executive pay. Companies listed on European stock exchanges would have to disclose "clear, comparable and comprehensive information on their remuneration policies and how they were put into practice". The commission hasn't proposed a set pay cap, but firms would have to put its pay decisions to a binding shareholder vote.

    SCOTLAND'S ENERGY Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Ed Davey says he's opened door to sharing subsidies with Irish renewable energy production, 'but it's shown how difficult that is'."

    PHONE RULES 10:52:

    Mobile phones are at the centre of the high profile Samsung v Apple case, but not for the reasons you might expect. AP reports that the judge, Lucy Koh, has become increasingly frustrated with phone signals disrupting the proceedings. A marketing professor was removed from the courtroom for trying to take pictures with his smartphone, and several others have been threatened with eviction for failing to turn off their devices.


    Goldman Sachs could be considering closing its "dark pool" - a private stock trading system, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sigma X, as the pool is known, provides greater anonymity for traders than public markets. Dark pools are coming under increased scrutiny, with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority opening an inquiry into their practices, and much negative publicity in Michael Lewis' recent book, Flash Boys.

    SCOTLAND'S ENERGY Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Ed Davey taking questions at Edinburgh meeting, hears from industry about 'lack of trust from industry' in 'inconsistent' UK govt tax regime"

    CAR INSURANCE 10:20:

    News of the falling price of car insurance policies could have affected shares in the industry. The Admiral Group's share price is down more than 1.6% on the FTSE 100, while esure has lost almost 7% and Direct Line lost 2.6%.

    CAR INSURANCE 10:14:

    The price of car insurance has fallen by more than 19% since last year. That's according to a survey commissioned by price comparison site Its Car Insurance Price Index, in association with Towers Watson, reveals the average policy in the last three months was priced at £596, a reduction of 7.5% over the previous quarter and a drop of £140 compared to this time last year, when it was £736.

    SCOTLAND'S ENERGY Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Ed Davey speech: a third of UK renewables in Scotland. Lots more planned. 'Integrated markets share costs of going green'."

    SCOTLAND'S ENERGY Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Ed Davey speech in Edinburgh: 'Scotland's energy future is booming. Could Scotland do the same alone? Yes, but much more difficult'"

    TOYOTA RECALL 09:59: World Service

    Jay Nagley, from automotive consultant Red Spy, talks to Newsday. "The problem for Toyota is it makes people think 'oh no not again'," he explains. However he says recalls are better than "hiding problems", as Toyota and General Motors have learnt to their peril. "Then it turns into a scandal," says Mr Nagley.

    OIL LISTING 09:49: Radio 4

    The World Service's Nkem Ifejika is on Today talking about the biggest oil listing we've seen for several years - Seplat from Nigeria. The oil and gas firm priced its initial public offering at 210p a share, giving it a total value of £1.14bn. It will trade on both the London and Nigerian Stock Exchanges.

    UK TRADE 09:39:

    The new trade figures for February show a disappointing export performance. Goods exports were worth £23.6bn, the lowest since November 2010. Not great news for George Osborne, who is keen on edging the economy away from reliance on consumer spending.

    UK TRADE 09:33:

    The UK's goods trade deficit narrowed in February, says the Office for National Statistics. A fall in imports - including aircraft and aircraft parts - helped. The goods trade deficit fell slightly to £9.09bn from 9.46bn.

    Cow (generic)

    The FT informs its readers of the cutting-edge science being brought to bear on cows and the huge amount of methane they produce. It says US plans to curb this has given "fresh relevance" to scientists' attempts to reduce the amount of gas the animals produce. The paper speaks to an expert from the Illinois-based "Cow of the Future" programme, who explains some of the technologies being considered. They apparently include "anti-methane pills, burp scanners and gas backpacks".

    BUY TO RENT 09:21:
    A sign advertising a weekly rental service

    Some MPs are concerned about the system of buying household goods in weekly instalments - otherwise known as Buy to Rent. One example is a Hotpoint oven costing £500 from Tesco that ends up costing £1,500 if you buy it through Brighthouse, who are Buy to Rent specialists. Chief executive of Brighthouse, Leo McKee, says it's the only way some people can actually afford to buy essential household goods.

    TOYOTA RECALL 09:09:

    Shares in Toyota have sagged in reaction to news of its latest recall. They are down 3.3% according to the London Stock Exchange price.


    Auction house Sotheby's is doing its best to resist corporate raider Daniel Loeb's attempt to foist his himself onto its board. It publishes a 53-page power point against the hedge fund manager, who owns 9.6% of the company. His nominees, the report says, will add "no incremental, relevant skills, experience or expertise" to the company's board. Ouch.

    UK ECONOMY 08:47: BBC Breakfast
    Steph and Jonathan

    Steph McGovern is in Northamptonshire checking out the county's heritage shoe industry. She's at Cheaney's, which has been in business for 100 years. Boss Jonathan Church tells her he's been drumming up exports in the old-fashioned way: "We've been to South Korea, Russia, Italy and the US. Just getting on a plane with a suitcase full of shoes and selling". We'll get the latest trade figures in just under an hour's time.

    BMW SALES 08:36:
    BMW logo

    BMW said it sold a record 212,908 vehicles in March. That includes its Mini and Rolls-Royce brands. Car sales for the first quarter rose 8.7% to a record 487,024. Earlier in the week arch-rival Audi also announced record sales.


    The main European stock markets have opened with small gains. The FTSE 100 is up 0.23% at 6605.58, In Paris the Cac 40 is up 0.14% at 4431.01 and in Frankfurt the Dax is up 0.13% at 9503.52.

    TRADE DEALS 08:18: Radio 4

    It's a busy time for world trade - Japan and Korea both signed trade deals with Australia this week - the US and Europe are locked in megadeal negotiations. The head of the World Trade Organisation, Roberto Azevêdo, tells Today there's a downside as trade deals often lead to "a lot of litigation".

    CO-OP REFORM 08:04: Radio 4

    Plans to reform the Co-op face an uphill struggle, says Simon Jack on Today. The board of Midcounties Co-operative, one of the largest of the independents who sit on the board of the larger Co-op Group - has voted to reject reform plans drawn up by Lord Myners. Midcounties president Patrick Gray says the refusal "is not just ideological" and that his board "don't want to be forced into a corner".

    UK ECONOMY 07:55: Radio 4

    Richard Dunbar, investment director at Aberdeen Asset Management, tells Simon Jack that the IMF's upbeat prediction for Britain's finances reflects "what stock markets and investors are already saying about the UK economy". You'd be forgiven for drawing different conclusions from the European markets in the past couple of weeks.

    Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Whitehall warns of independent Scotland power bill hikes." Estimates as to the scale of the hike are between £38-£189 a year.

    TOYOTA RECALL 07:48:

    UK drivers can check if their vehicle needs the once-over by a Toyota dealer by using the registration number look-up function on Toyota's website. Just over 35,000 UK registered cars are affected.

    SCOTTISH ENERGY 07:35: Radio 4

    What happens to Scotland's energy sector if it unplugs itself from the rest of the UK? Westminster says it could lose some of its business. Economist Nick Butler tells Today the rest of the UK will look at "all the options" to get the energy it needs. This could include importing from Norway, or developing shale gas in England more quickly.

    £1,000 ENERGY BILL 07:20:

    More on Ovo's attempt to win more customers by promising a below-£1,000 dual-fuel energy bill. It prompted a question on the Live Page - how much DO we pay for power? The current average annual dual fuel bill is £1,264.

    TOYOTA RECALL 07:06:

    We've just received Toyota's statement. The Japanese company says it "is not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities" caused by the faults in the 6.4 million vehicles it is recalling. The bulk of the 27 models being recalled are in North America.

    LUXURY SEARCH 06:56: Radio 5 live
    Burberry logo

    A new group, the House of Britannia, is looking for the next Paul Smith or Burberry. Its co-founder. Simon Petherick, tells Wake Up to Money the luxury market is growing at twice the speed of global GDP: "If you're a plutocrat driving down the streets of St Petersburg you don't want to own the same watch as your driver". We understand how truly gutting that would be.

    £1,000 ENERGY BILL 06:46:
    Gas hob

    Ovo Energy, a small power company, says it hopes to bring the annual average energy bill below £1,000. It says it can do this because there's been a 9.5% fall in wholesale gas prices over the winter. Just weeks ago, an inquiry was announced into the "big six" energy firms to see if they are working competitively.

    AUSSIE FINES 06:42:

    Australia's financial regulator is getting tough. It wants to substantially increase penalties for corporate misconduct. Currently, fines are rarely above 1m Australian dollars, reports Reuters, which is well below the average equivalent in the UK and US. Companies have time to clean up their act though - the law wouldn't come into place until 2015.

    UK ECONOMY 06:34: Radio 5 live

    Wake Up to Money is discussing George Osborne's favourite news item. But Jeremy Cook, chief economist at foreign exchange company World First, says: "The IMF said... the economy is returning to how it was pre-crisis. A lot of spending is by people drawing down money on consumer credit to fund their lifestyles. We saw where that led to in 2007-08 and we don't want to let that happen again."

    TOYOTA RECALL Breaking News

    Reuters reports that the world's biggest carmaker, Toyota, will recall 6.4 million vehicles globally to fix faults in the steering and seats. It will be one of the largest recalls to date in the car industry. Yaris, Urban Cruiser, RAV4 and Hilux models will be among those recalled.


    Time Warner Cable and Comcast, the two US companies involved in a $45bn merger deal, will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee later today. They will be trying to convince the committee that the market will still be competitive once they own almost three-quarters of the industry - with about 30 million subscribers.

    'NO DOTCOM BUBBLE' 06:10:

    Under the headline "IPO stars fall down to earth", the Financial Times explains how shares in recently listed tech companies have slipped below their launch prices. The FT says "investor nervousness" has been prompted by analysts voicing doubts about whether "ambitious growth targets could be met." Nonetheless, the paper reports, market experts remain confident this is "no dotcom bubble".

    UK ECONOMY 06:02: BBC World News

    "A spring daffodil in the London smog," says 7 Investment Management's Justin Urquart Stewart of the IMF's forecast for the UK economy. However, he asks: "Can it be sustained? I think we are going to see another stage of recovery but don't be too smug about it. We went for austerity. We're not some type of clematis where you cut it down and it grows again. We need to stimulate growth." Could we call this Botanomics?

    06:00: Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News

    Yes indeed, do. We'll be giving you a thorough rundown of the best business news from inside and outside the BBC. Email or tweet @bbcbusiness with your contributions.

    06:00: Joe Miller Business Reporter

    Morning. The big news overnight is that the IMF, which once lambasted George Osborne for his austerity policies, has given the UK economy the thumbs-up. It's predicting growth of 2.9% - the highest of any G7 country. We'll have reaction to that and all the rest of the business news. Stay with us.


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