Morning Business Round-up: Oil price dominates markets


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

Unrest in Libya and the rest of the Arab world keeps unsettling global markets. The price of oil reached a two-and-a-half year high in Asian markets, with Brent crude peaking at $119.79 a barrel, although it fell $3 after European markets opened. As more and more oil firms pull out of Libya, worries over supply are growing. Analysts at Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank warned that the global economy would not be able to cope with oil trading above $120 a barrel for any period of time.

The gloomy forecasts probably contributed to generally depressed stock markets across Asia and Europe. The BSE Sensex in Mumbai took the biggest tumble, down 3% on the day. However, stock indexes in Shanghai, Karachi, Colombo and Moscow managed to buck the trend and achieve small gains.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

Cash bonuses for Wall Street bankers fell by 8% to an average of $128,530 (£79,259) in 2010, according to New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli - but that does not mean that bankers' compensation is falling. Rather, salaries have risen to make up for lower bonuses, and total compensation has actually risen by 6%.

Deutsche Bank's trouble with South Korean financial regulators continues. The Financial Services Commission found that the bank's staff had tried to manipulate the country's stock market last year, and banned it from trading certain securities and derivatives.

German chemicals firm BASF reported strong fourth quarter results, boosted by the recent upturn in the global economy.

One of the UK's semi-nationalised banks, Royal Bank of Scotland, continues to struggle as it reported a loss of £1.13bn ($1.82bn) - which was worse than analysts expected.

Late on Wednesday, some shareholders in computer maker Apple tried to force the company to reveal its succession plan for ailing chief executive and technology visionary Steve Jobs - but failed. Mr Jobs, who is being treated for cancer, missed the shareholders meeting for only the second time during his reign as chief executive.

Apple, of course, is the company that helped revolutionise the music industry. So how can companies market music in the digital age? Our reporter Robert Plummer is exploring how cloud computing is being used to sell music..