Morning Business Round-up: Markets and Murdoch


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

Unrest in Libya and fears of contagion to other oil producing countries initially unsettled the oil markets. But the price of crude eased back amid speculation the Arab League is considering a peace plan.

This also helped stock markets, with all the main European bourses opening higher, following on from gains earlier on Wall Street and share markets in Asia.

After months of fierce debate about the future of the UK media industry Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has finally been given government approval to take over broadcaster BSkyB.

However, News Corp has had to agree to spin off Sky News to allay fears about the company's dominance of the media landscape.

The agreement was strongly criticised by News Corp's opponents.

China is proposing to cut income tax in a bid to boost domestic demand. The State Council has proposed to raise the minimum threshold on income tax from the current level of 2,000 yuan ($304; £186) a month.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

Meanwhile, South Korea's factory output has grown at its fastest pace in 17 months, rising 4.6% in January from the previous month.

The pace of growth has been so fast in Brazil that it is causing inflationary problems.

The Central Bank has raised interest rates yet again, this time to 11.75% to cool an inflation rate that is forecast to remain well above 5% for the rest of the year.

The world's biggest brewing company, Anheuser-Busch InBev has enjoyed a jump in profits. But it has more to do with restructuring and cost-savings than selling more beer.

The company says beer sales will be 'soft' in its key markets of Brazil and the US, though things could start picking up later in the year.

At the Geneva Motor Show Nick Reilly, chief executive of GM Europe, tells our reporter Jorn Madslien about how the car giant is going about regaining trust and loyalty in its brands.

"Our new products are doing well," Mr Reilly says.

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