Morning business round-up: Euro threat to global growth


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

The eurozone crisis is the single biggest threat to the global economy, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The 17 nations that use the euro will see their economies shrink 0.1% this year, before rebounding to 0.9% growth next year, the OECD predicts.

By contrast, the US economy will expand by 2.4% this year and 2.6% in 2013.

The OECD also seemed to back calls by some Europeans to combine spending cuts with measures to boost growth.

"Fiscal consolidation and structural measures must proceed hand in hand, to make the adjustment process as growth-friendly as possible," the OECD said.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said the UK's continuing economic weakness means authorities should consider measures to boost growth, including more quantitative easing (QE) and even cutting interest rates.

Its annual look at the UK economy endorsed the government's deficit cutting plan, saying it was essential.

But it said that while monetary stimulus measures taken by the Bank of England had helped the economy, it remained flat.

The IMF also warned that there were many downside risks to the UK economy, not least from events within the eurozone.

Almost 13% of young people worldwide are out of work, and their situation is unlikely to improve for four years, a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) says.

Many skilled young people are being forced into part-time and unskilled work, the report says.

It warns of a "crisis", with more than six million people so disillusioned they have given up looking for work.

The ILO wants governments to make job creation a priority.

UK mobile phone giant Vodafone has reported flat profits after being hit by the economic downturn in Europe.

The company said it had written down the value of its assets in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece by £4bn.

It said the region's economic weakness, together with a tough regulatory environment, had made revenue growth in Europe "increasingly challenging".

Pre-tax profits for the year to 31 March were £9.549bn, up 0.5% from £9.498bn the year before.

Media caption,
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Qantas has said it will split its international and domestic operations into two separate divisions as it looks to restructure its business.

The firm said the split was aimed at cutting costs and streamlining its efforts to make its international operations profitable.

Its international division has been making a loss amid volatile fuel prices and falling demand.

On Monday, the firm cut 500 jobs in its maintenance and engineering division.

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said the move to the southern Chinese city would help Infiniti boost its share of the luxury car market to 10% from 3% currently.

Last year, it sold just under 20,000 units in China, which is now the world's largest car market, and it expects Infiniti sales in the country to increase by 50% in 2012.

Nissan is embarking on an ambitious expansion of its Infiniti brand and said the marque would soon be available in 70 countries, up from 45 currently.

As Egypt prepares to go to the polls the latest Business Daily podcast considers the impact of the Arab Spring on the wider region, and looks at what sort of international assistance the Arab world can now expect.

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