Morning business round-up: EU forecasts 'mild' recession

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

In Europe, the European Commission has announced it expects the eurozone economy as whole to shrink in 2012.

The 17-member eurozone is set for a 'mild' recession, the Commission said.

It added that the economies of the larger grouping of 27 countries that make up the European Union would stay more or less flat.

Europe's industrial powerhouse, Germany, saw its closely-watched business confidence index hit a seven month high in February.

The figures are compiled by the Ifo Institute, which said it was demand within Germany that was protecting businesses from the worst effects of the eurozone debt crisis.

The German economy shrank by 0.2% in the last three months of 2011, but economists are confident that it will grow in the first three months of 2012, narrowly avoiding a recession.

The French bank Credit Agricole reported a large loss for the three months to the end of December due to its exposure to Greek debt.

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Credit Agricole is France's third-largest bank and its rivals Societe Generale and BNP Paribas both posted profits last week.

The bank said that it would write down 75% of the value of these investments.

Also on Thursday, Germany's Commerzbank posted flat profits.

Commerzbank is amongst the most exposed to Greek debt out of any German bank.

In Japan, the yen fell to a seven-month low against the dollar after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) introduced measures to stimulate the economy.

The BoJ introduced the measures on the 14th of February, since when the yen has fallen by 3.7% against the greenback.

In the UK, RBS, the bank that is part-owned by the British government, posted a loss in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Chancellor George Osborne said RBS was "cleaning up the mess after the biggest bank bailout in history".

In the latest edition of Business Daily Ed Butler asks if the surging price of oil might yet make paupers of us all.

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