Morning business round-up: Sarkozy Merkel crisis talks


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

The leaders of Germany and France are holding their first meeting of the year as the eurozone continues attempts to hammer out a treaty enshrining tougher budget rules.

The talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy come ahead of new Italian Premier Mario Monti's first visit to Berlin on Wednesday.

German exports increased by 2.5% in November, reaching 94.9bn euros ($121bn; £78.4bn), the country's Federal Statistics Office has said.

The gain was bigger than the 0.7% rise forecast by analysts, and suggests that Europe's biggest economy may have performed better in the fourth quarter than expected.

Imports, which had also been forecast to rise, fell 0.4% month-on-month.

China's lending and money supply grew at a faster pace than expected as the country relaxed its credit restrictions.

New loans worth 640.5bn yuan ($101bn; £65.6bn) were issued in December, up from 562.2bn yuan in November.

Last month, the central bank cut the amount of money banks have to hold in reserve for the first time since 2008.

Olympus is considering suing its executives after an accounting cover-up at the firm called into question corporate governance in Japan.

The camera company said it had received the results of an investigation into management responsibility for the scandal.

It said it was now "considering legal proceedings against current and former directors".

Olympus has admitted that $1.5bn (£968m) in losses was covered up.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

South Korea's largest pension fund, the National Pension Service (NPS), has received approval from authorities to invest in Chinese securities.

The company said in a statement that it was the first pension fund in the world to win the qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII) status.

NPS will now be able to trade yuan-denominated mainland stocks and bonds.

The contract will be a relief for the European planemaker, as the order risked being derailed by a dispute between the European Union and China.

Beijing opposes an EU plan that international airlines comply with a scheme to tackle carbon emissions.

But Kenneth Thong, HKA's corporate governance head, told a television interview the order would go ahead.

The latest edition of Business Daily looks at losses faced by Greek government bondholders in the wake of eurozone crisis.

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