Morning business round-up: Markets rue banks downgrade


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

Stock markets have fallen in Europe following the news that credit ratings agency Moody's had downgraded 15 global banks and financial institutions.

UK, French and German stock markets were all down by 0.5% to 1% in morning trading.

The UK banks downgraded were Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC. Lloyds also had its rating cut by Moody's in a separate announcement.

In the US, Bank of America and Citigroup were among those marked down.

The other institutions that have been downgraded are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse, UBS, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Societe Generale, Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Canada.

As the crisis in the eurozone continues, Italy's prime minister has warned European leaders that failure to agree on joint action will encourage market attacks on their economies.

He predicted "progressively greater speculative attacks" without unified action from all the eurozone members.

In emerging market news, China and Brazil have agreed a currency swap deal in a bid to safeguard against any global financial crisis and strengthen their trade ties.

It will allow their respective central banks to exchange local currencies worth up to 60bn reais or 190bn yuan ($30bn).

The amount can be used to shore up reserves in times of crisis or put towards boosting bilateral trade.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

At the same time, it has emerged that China's imports of crude oil from Iran rebounded in May after the two countries resolved a payment dispute.

Beijing imported almost 524,000 barrels per day, a 35% jump from the previous month.

The surge comes even as the US has asked countries to cut oil imports from Iran and threatened to impose sanctions against financial institutions doing business with Iran's energy sector.

And in another member nation of the Brics group, India, the competition watchdog has fined 11 cement companies, including ACC and Ambuja Cements, for price-fixing.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a collective fine of more than 60bn rupees ($1.1bn) on the firms.

It has accused them of "limiting" supplies and controlling prices through an "anti-competitive agreement".

The 3DS LL, which will be known as the XL outside Japan, will have displays that are almost twice as big as those on the current version.

It will be priced at 18,900 yen in Japan and $199.99 in the US.

Finally, in corporate news, UK bookmaker William Hill has been given the green light to launch its first US operations after being granted a licence by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Last year, the British bookmaker announced it was to buy three US companies, but the acquisitions were dependent on the awarding of a licence.

The deals are now expected to complete by the end of the month.

William Hill said it was the first British bookmaker to be licensed for sports wagering in the US.

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