Morning business round-up: Eurozone services expand


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

The eurozone's service sector has grown for the first time in four months, although Spain and Italy have continued to post falls in business activity.

The Markit eurozone services purchasing managers' index (PMI) was 50.4 in January, up from 48.8 in December. Any score under 50 represents a contraction.

It follows a manufacturing survey of 48.8, up from 46.9 in December.

Markit said the survey suggested a recession could be kept at bay.

It was also good news for the UK service sector, which grew at its fastest rate since March 2011 in January.

The Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose from 54 to 56. Any figure above 50 indicates growth.

Markit also reported the biggest monthly rise in business optimism since the survey started 15 years ago.

The data will reduce fears of a new recession, following a contraction in the economy at the end of last year.

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic has forecast a record annual net loss of 780bn yen ($10.2bn; £6.3bn) for the year to March.

The poor result is being put down to the strong yen, flooding in Thailand and acquisition costs.

It comes after rivals Sony and Sharp predicted combined losses of $6.7bn.

Panasonic posted a net loss of 333.82bn yen for the nine months to December, compared with a 114.7bn yen profit a year earlier.

The Hungarian national airline Malev has folded after its financial situation became unsustainable.

"At 0500 GMT... after 66 years of almost continuous operation Malev will no longer take off," it said.

It came after the European Commission ordered Malev to repay various forms of state aid received from 2007 to 2010.

The sums involved amounted to 38 billion forints (130m euros; $171m; £108m), a sum equal to its entire 2010 revenue.

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's bail application appeal has been rejected in New Zealand.

The High Court in Auckland said it agreed with an earlier ruling that Mr Dotcom - a German national - might try to flee the country.

The file-sharing site creator is accused of profiting from the copying and distribution of pirated content.

Mr Dotcom's lawyers said that he denied the charge and would fight an extradition application by the US.

Pre-tax profits for the three months to the end of December were £652m, 48% higher than a year earlier. Revenue fell 5% to £4.77bn.

Excluding one-off items, profits increased by 18%.

The company said it had expanded the availability of its fibre-optic broadband to seven million homes and signed up 95,000 customers to it.

Air India has assured that it will pay its dues for jet fuel to three state-owned oil firms by Friday after its fuel supplies were cut.

Indian oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum halted supplies to the airline for almost four hours on Thursday evening.

They alleged that Air India has not paid them for fuel even after the expiry of a 90-day grace period.

The carrier owes 2.6bn rupees ($53m; £34m) for the said period to the firms.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

The latest edition of Business Daily features an interview with the head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs who says China may soon overtake the US as the world's biggest importer of oil.

Around the BBC