Morning business round-up: Rare earth case

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

The US is set to file a case against China at the World Trade Organization challenging its restrictions on rare earth exports.

The European Union and Japan are expected to support the US in its case.

Meanwhile, China has given Japan the go-ahead to buy $10bn (£6.4bn) of government bonds.

The deal - between the second- and third-largest economies in the world - comes as Beijing tries to create a more international role for its currency.

China and Japan have the world's largest foreign-exchange reserves.

In corporate news, insurance group Prudential has seen its annual profits increase by a third, led by strong growth at its Asian operations.

The UK company made a pre-tax profit of £1.9bn in 2011, up 33% from £1.5bn a year earlier.

In Europe, German investor confidence rose to the highest level since June 2010.

The latest monthly survey from the ZEW institute rose to 22.3 in March, up from 5.4 in the previous month.

This comes after the eurozone backed Greece's second bailout of 130bn euros ($171bn; £109bn).

The agreement followed Greece swapping most of its privately-held bonds with new ones worth less than half their original value.

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An annual survey of hotel room prices has found that visitors to London will pay twice as much to stay as last year because of the 2012 Olympics.

A study by found prices for booking in March this year for August are 102% higher than for the same months last year.

Also in the UK, property sales edged up slightly in February, according to the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

In the latest edition of Business Daily, Justin Rowlatt discusses the intricacies of the internet privacy debate.

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