Morning business round-up: Japan averts 'fiscal cliff'


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

Japan's lawmakers have approved a crucial bill that will ensure the government does not run out of money at the end of this month.

It will allow the government to borrow additional money by selling bonds to pay for a large chunk of its expenses.

The approval comes amid fears that Japan's economy may be heading towards a recession.

The opposition had previously delayed the bill, demanding that the government call for elections first.

Two of Asia's biggest tycoons are going head-to-head to take control of Singaporean conglomerate Fraser & Neave (F&N).

A group led by Overseas Union Enterprise, which is chaired by Stephen Riady, has launched a 13.1bn Singapore dollars ($10.7bn; £6.7bn) bid for the firm.

That trumps a SG$9bn offer by a Thai group controlled by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.

The Swedish furniture giant gave contracts to the East German government in the 1960s and 1970s.

Former political prisoners of the Stasi, the feared secret police, say they worked on the furniture.

Ikea has denied the allegations but commissioned accountants Ernst & Young to look into the matter.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

In a report into the sale of Northern Rock, the Public Accounts Committee said the sale of the bank in 2011 was "fortunate", and Lloyds and RBS may not be sold "for many years".

It noted that taxpayers were set to lose £2bn on Northern Rock's rescue.

A Treasury aide said it aimed "to get the best possible value for taxpayers".

Which country holds the key to the euro's fate? asks the BBC's economics editor Stephanie Flanders.

The question keeps coming up, and while Greece may have been seen as the pivot state two years ago, that is not the case any more, our correspondent says.

The latest Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service asks if a criminal background could be better training for entrepreneurship than an MBA.

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