Morning business round-up: Eurozone credit rating fears


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

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said that credit rating agency Standard & Poor's threat to downgrade eurozone countries is the "best possible incentive" ahead of Friday's summit.

It means that six countries with top AAA ratings have a 50% chance of seeing their credit ratings downgraded.

European markets were lower on Tuesday morning, with the Dax in Frankfurt down 1.0% and the Cac 40 in Paris down 0.3%.

A panel appointed by the board of scandal-hit Olympus has said the "core part of management was rotten", but has found no link to organised crime.

The third-party investigation found that the camera-maker had concealed business and investment losses that ultimately rose to 132.22bn yen ($1.7bn; £1.09bn).

The panel is urging legal action against those who were involved in the cover-up.

The Asian Development Bank has again downgraded next year's growth forecasts for emerging East Asia, warning of the impact of the European debt crisis.

It now expects 14 economies in the region to grow by 7.2% in 2012, instead of the 7.5% it estimated in September.

The ADB has maintained its forecast for 2011 at 7.5%.

Australia's central bank has cut interest rates in an effort to encourage economic growth.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) lowered its benchmark cash rate by 0.25% points to 4.25% on Tuesday.

It follows a rate cut last month, the first since April 2009.

Japanese milk powder maker Meiji has recalled its baby formula after discovering radioactive caesium in the product.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

Shares in the firm fell nearly 10% trading in Tokyo after the company announced it would recall 400,000 cans of the formula.

Meiji produces the milk, which is sold only in Japan, in Saitama prefecture, north of Tokyo.

In the UK, there is evidence that shoppers are keeping a tight rein on their spending in the run-up to Christmas.

The British Retail Consortium found that retail sales grew just 0.7% in November, which was the weakest growth since May.

On a like-for-like basis, which only includes stores that have been open for at least a year, sales fell 1.6%.

The latest edition of Business Daily looks at the threat to eurozone countries' credit ratings, asking whether S&P is right to warn of a downgrade on the day of the eurozone's "comprehensive" agreement.

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