Morning business round-up: ECB provides cheap loans


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

The European Central Bank (ECB) has provided a further 530bn euros ($713bn; £448bn) of low-interest loans to 800 banks across the European Union.

It is the second time the ECB has offered such three-year loans, after 489bn euros was lent in December.

The loans are aimed at helping to continue to ease the eurozone debt crisis and help banks improve their liquidity.

It comes as Greece is continuing with the spending cuts required before it starts to to get the extra 130bn euros of loans.

Greece needs the first instalment by 20 March to avoid a disorderly default on 14.5bn euros of its bonds that are due to mature.

In Germany, the country's unemployment rate held steady at low levels in February, the Federal Labour Agency has said.

The seasonally-adjusted jobless rate remained at 6.8%, while the number of people out of work was also unchanged at 2.866 million.

January's rate was revised up to 6.8% from an initial estimate of 6.7%.

Iran sanctions

IAG, the parent firm of British Airways and Spain's Iberia, has reported an increase in annual profits.

The company made a pre-tax profit of 503m euros in the year to December 2011, after a profit of 84m euros the year before.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

Revenue rose by 10% to 16.3bn euros, despite an increase in fuel costs of 29.7%.

The company said the improvement was against the backdrop of a particularly difficult year in 2010.

Iran once again dominated the news in the Middle East, with the country's state news agency saying it will accept gold instead of dollars as payment for its oil.

US and European Union sanctions against Iran have made it difficult for buyers to make dollar payments to Iranian banks.

Mahmoud Bahmani, the governor of Iran's central bank, is reported to have said that the country would accept payment in gold

In India, official figures showed that the Indian economy saw its weakest growth rate in nearly three years during the last quarter of 2011 as the manufacturing sector continued to slow.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.1% between October and December, from a year earlier.

Growth in the manufacturing sector slowed to 0.4% during the period, down from 2.7% in the previous quarter.

India's growth has also been hurt by a series of interest rate rises aimed at reining in high prices.

In the latest edition of Business Daily, BBC reporters in Mumbai, New York and Mexico City investigate how much money makes you rich.

Around the BBC