Morning business round-up: Peugeot's losses mount


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

In Europe, French car firm Peugeot has reported a loss of 819m euros ($994m) for the first half of the year and has detailed 1.5bn euros of cost savings.

The firm said sales in the six months to the end of June had fallen by 5.1%.

Peugeot, which made a profit of 806m euros in the first half of 2011, said it would not break even until 2014.

It's in the process of cutting 8,000 jobs and closing two production centres.

The UK recession has deepened, latest official figures have shown, after the output of the economy fell by 0.7% between April and June.

The contraction was much bigger than expected and follows a 0.3% drop in the first three months of the year.

The Office for National Statistics said the fall was largely due to a sharp slowdown in the construction sector.

It said it was not yet sure of the size of the effect of the poor weather and the extra June bank holiday.

Deutsche Bank reported a profit warning in advance of its second quarter results due to be published on 31 July.

There are fears the bank may have to seek new capital to strengthen its balance sheet.

It is one of the 15 banks and financial institutions being investigated for trying to fix the Libor and Euribor inter-bank lending rates.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

The European Commission has proposed making interest rate fixing a criminal offence in the wake of the scandal.

Manipulating benchmark rates, such as Libor and Euribor, will be added to insider dealing as criminal offences, the Commission said.

Justice commissioner Viviane Reding said the move would help "put an end to criminal activity in the banking sector".

Meanwhile, German business confidence fell in July to its lowest level in 28 months, according to a closely-watched survey.

The Ifo think tank's index stood at 103.3, down from 105.2 in June, citing a "significant deterioration" in the manufacturing business climate.

It was the third month in a row the Ifo registered a fall in sentiment.

There are continuing concerns about Spain's ability to repay its debts, prompting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to warn that the worsening debt crisis in the eurozone poses a "key risk" to China's growth.

It said China faced its own domestic risks as well, not least of which was a slowing property market and economic growth at a three-year low.

But it felt the country was in a strong position to respond to any such threats.

Staying in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan posted a record trade deficit for the first six months of the year.

Exports have weakened and increased demand for fuel has resulted in a jump in imports, resulting in a trade deficit of 2.9tn yen ($37bn) for the period.

Finally, shares in Asia's biggest hospital operator IHH Healthcare jumped on their debut as investors hope for good returns amid growing demand for healthcare in the region.

The firm's shares rose 9.6% to 3.07 ringgit on the Malaysian Stock Exchange.

They also rose 9.6% to 1.22 Singapore dollars on Singapore's main exchange.

IHH, which opted for a dual listing, had raised $2.1bn via its share sale, the world's third biggest this year.

In our latest Business Daily podcast, we consider the fears of some German politicians that Greece and Spain are now unsaveable.

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