Morning business round-up: Greece talks 'progress'


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

Markets remain subdued as they await two key developments later on Wednesday.

Talks between Greece and its troika of official lenders on speeding up spending cuts are said to have "progressed", but with no word yet as to whether the next crucial tranche of financing will be released.

Failure to reach an agreement is likely to see further market turmoil, although hopes are rising that the day of reckoning may now be postponed until December.

Meanwhile the US Federal Reserve is set to conclude a two-day policy meeting, with markets expecting that a third round of major monetary easing will be announced, although what form this will take is a matter of debate.

Minutes from the Bank of England's last policy meeting disappointed markets by revealing that committee members again voting eight-to-one against starting a second round of government bond purchases.

However, there was a detailed discussion of the option, suggesting the move may be taken later this year if the UK economy continues to stagnate.

In the latest disappointing data on the country's economy, UK government borrowing jumped in August as income tax receipts fell, although estimates of previous months' borrowing were revised down.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

In the corporate world, brewer SAB Miller has agreed a deal to buy Foster's, with the board of its Australian rival finally accepting the US firm's latest offer.

SAB Miller had to up its bid by 4% to $10.2bn to secure Foster's consent.

Lloyd's of London, the world's largest insurance market, says major catastrophes made the first half of 2011 the most expensive on record.

It saw claims totalling £6.7bn from disasters such as the Japanese tsunami, floods in Australia and the earthquake in New Zealand.

Inditex, the world's largest clothes retailer and owner of fashion chain Zara, has reported a sharp rise in profits and sales as it continues to open new stores and take on staff.

The firm said net income for the first six months of the year was 717m euros ($981m; £625m), up 14% on a year ago.

Former gold miners in South Africa are suing industry giant Anglo American in the London High Court for allegedly damaging their health, their lawyers say.

The ex-workers contracted lung diseases because of bad ventilation in the UK-based company's South African mines, their lawyers allege.

The owner of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), is considering cutting thousands of jobs.

Reports say Tepco has told a government backed committee that it may cut as many as 5,000 jobs or 10% of its workforce.

The latest edition of Business Daily from the BBC World Service looks at how to make money in tough economic times.

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