Morning business round-up: Germany and France in Greek talks


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

The leaders of Germany and France are set to hold talks in Berlin on whether to give Greece more time to make the cuts required by its debt bailout.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will also meet Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras later this week.

Meeting Mr Samaras yesterday, eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker kept the door open for a change to the bailout terms.

Meanwhile, a closely-watched survey has suggested the eurozone's economy is set to contract by between 0.5%-0.6% in the July to September quarter, tipping it into its second recession in three years.

The Markit Flash Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index, which measures new orders in manufacturing and services, was 46.6 in August, compared with 46.5 in July.

A score below 50 indicates contraction.

Output declined in both the manufacturing and services sectors

In Asia, China's manufacturing activity fell to a nine-month low in August, a preliminary HSBC survey has shown.

The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) posted a reading of 47.8, compared with a final reading of 49.3 in July, HSBC said.

Some analysts said that the data indicated that government efforts to spur the world's second-largest economy had not boosted firms' confidence.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

Australia's resources minister has said that the country's resources boom, one of the biggest drivers of its economic growth, is "over".

His comments come after BHP Billiton posted a 35% dip in profits and delayed plans to expand its Olympic Dam mine.

There are concerns that a slowing global economy may hurt demand for coal, metal ores and other commodities.

A slowdown in its mining sector, one of the biggest employers, is likely to dent Australia's economic growth.

In company news, Australian airline Qantas has reported its first annual loss since it was privatised in 1995, amid high fuel costs and growing losses at its international operations.

The firm made a net loss of 244m Australian dollars ($256m; £161m) for the year to 30 June.

This compares with a net profit of A$250m in the previous year.

Qantas also cancelled orders for 35 Boeing Dreamliner jets worth $8.5bn due to "lower growth requirements".

Diageo, the world's biggest producer of spirits, has reported a big jump in annual profits, thanks in part to strong sales and acquisitions in emerging markets.

Pre-tax profit for the year to the end of June was £3.1bn, up 32% on the £2.4bn the company made in the previous year. Sales rose 10% to £14.6bn.

The maker of brands such as Guinness, Smirnoff, Baileys and Johnnie Walker did particularly well in Latin America.

The latest Business Daily programme from the BBC World Service looks at sponsorship opportunities during the Paralympics.

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