Morning business round-up: IMF asks for funds


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

Finance ministers from the G20 group of leading economies are meeting in Washington to discuss boosting the IMF's resources.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde wants to boost her organisation's lending capacity by $400bn (£250bn).

The meetings come ahead of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings over the weekend.

The world's biggest food group Nestle has reported rising sales but says it is having a "challenging year".

The Swiss company said its sales in the first three months of 2012 were 21.4bn Swiss francs ($23.4bn; £14.6bn), up 5.6% from the same period last year.

The group behind KitKat and Nespresso said that the trading environment had been subdued in many developed markets.

UK retail sales recorded their biggest monthly rise in more than a year in March, driven by the spell of warm weather and panic buying of petrol.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that UK retail sales volumes rose 1.8% last month.

The ONS said warm weather in March had helped to boost sales of clothing, footwear and gardening products.

The website of Chinese newspaper, People's Daily, has raised 1.4bn yuan ($222m; £138m) via its initial public offering, nearly three times the amount it had originally planned to raise.

The website said it sold 69.1 million shares at 20 yuan each, which was the lower end of its price range.

The state-run website is planning to use the funds to upgrade its technology amid increasing competition.

Olympus shareholders have approved the appointment of a new board of directors at an extraordinary general meeting.

The company had nominated new members to the board after all of its previous members quit in the wake of an accounting scandal.

It has admitted to hiding $1.5bn (£1bn) in losses for as long as 20 years.

Media caption,
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Burmese President Thein Sein has arrived in Japan for a five-day visit expected to focus on financial aid and debt relief.

His visit, the first to Japan by a Burmese leader in 28 years, comes as EU nations prepare to ease sanctions.

Reports said Japan was planning to resume loans to Burma.

And shares in the company behind the Superdry fashion chain plunged by more than a third following another profit warning.

It expects pre-tax profit for the year to 29 April to be £43m.

That is worse than the update in February, when Supergroup warned that profits would be at the low end of its forecast of £50-54m.

The latest Business Daily podcast looks at whether the next financial crisis could come out of the unregulated shadow banking sector.

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