Morning business round-up: Euro unemployment rises


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

The unemployment rate in the eurozone continued to rise in January, hitting another record high, the Eurostat agency has said.

The jobless rate in the 17 countries that use the euro rose to 10.7% in January, while December's figure was revised up from 10.4% to 10.6%.

There are now 16.9 million people out of work in the bloc.

China's manufacturing expanded and a key measure of its exports rose in February, a survey suggests, easing concern about an economic slowdown.

China's Purchasing Manager's Index, an indicator of manufacturing activity, rose to 51.0 from 50.5 in January. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Meanwhile growth in the UK manufacturing sector was held back by rising oil costs last month, with prices faced by firms rising at the fastest rate in 19 years.

The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index for manufacturing slipped to 51.2, down from 52 in January.

The price of Brent crude rose 10% last month to $125 a barrel on worries over the effect of oil sanctions on Iran.

Google has gone ahead with its new privacy policy despite warnings from the EU that it might violate European law.

The change means private data collected by one Google service can be shared with its other platforms including YouTube, Gmail and Blogger.

Google says the new set-up will enable it to tailor search results better.

The world's largest advertising group, WPP, has reported record profits, and said events such as the Olympics should boost business this year.

Pre-tax profits were £1.008bn in 2011, up 18.5% on the previous year, with revenues topping £10bn.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

Japanese car sales, including those of 660cc mini vehicles, rose in February as government subsidies for energy-efficient vehicles lured buyers.

Passenger car sales jumped 33% from a year earlier, while mini vehicles saw an increase of 25%.

Japan has reintroduced a scheme giving a subsidy of up to 100,000 yen ($1,245; £786) per car on eco-friendly vehicles. However, the scheme has a limit of 300bn yen and will expire once that amount is reached.

Switzerland's economy recorded surprise growth in the final quarter of 2011, fuelled by exports despite the soaring Swiss franc.

Gross domestic product grew 0.1% in the three-month period, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said.

In 2011, Switzerland's economy grew 2.6% - much more than most of its European neighbours.

Vivendi, Europe's largest telecoms and entertainment group, has forecast no profit growth until 2014, sending its shares down 7%.

It expects to face stronger competition in France and Morocco, and said that efforts to adapt would place increased pressure on earnings in 2012 and 2013.

The gloomy outlook came as the group reported a record annual profit of 2.95bn euros (£2.47bn) for 2011.

The latest edition of Business Daily looks at how the conflict in Syria could destroy the country's economy.

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