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  1. All of the morning's business headlines and breaking news.
  2. Bank of England says rising interest rates would hit spending
  3. China reports disappointing trade data

Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Howard Mustoe

All times stated are UK

Howard Mustoe

Business reporter

That's all for today. Thanks for visiting the Business live page. We will be back tomorrow from 06:00, so join us then.

Via Twitter

Greek comeback

World Service

Greece hopes to exit bailout with new budget, but EU lenders may decide on extension -

Pharmaceuticals deal

Cubist pharmaceuticals website

A big deal in the pharmaceuticals industry. Merck is buying Cubist Pharmaceuticals for $8.4bn (£5.4bn). Cubist is strong in antibiotic research, an area of importance as bacteria are developing resistance to current antibiotics.

Formula One losses

Mercedes GP Formual One, Stuttgart 2014
Getty Images

Formula One teams made a combined loss of £127.5m last year, according to the

Daily Telegraph. More than half of that loss was accounted for by the Lotus F1 team, which is controlled by the private equity firm, Genii Capital. Even this year's champions Mercedes made a hefty loss, the report says.

Going Dutch

Dutch flag

The Dutch central bank cut its growth forecasts for the next two years, warning that slower global growth would hit demand in its export-dependent economy. The 0.8% growth in economic output expected this year will be almost entirely fuelled by exports, although domestic spending will be more and more important during the next two years.

Oil price

North sea brent crude

North Sea Brent Crude has set fresh five-year lows after falling $2 a barrel to below $67 a barrel. Helping undermine the price was a report from Morgan Stanley which said oil prices could fall as low as $43 a barrel next year as oversupply continues. The chart above shows the previous five-year low hit last week.

Via Twitter

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland


New @ofcom online tool to see mobile and broadband coverage and notspots"

Via Blog

Household debt

Robert Peston

Economics editor

The most striking statement in the Bank's new debt analysis is that "gradual increases in interest rates from their current historically low levels" should not "have unusually large effects on household spending". This is slightly odd - which is why the Bank of England is quick to point out that it is not the official view of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee, but is the view of Bank officials who "feed in" to the MPC's decision.

Via Email

Uber Delhi

Simon Atkinson

Editor, India Business Report

"Uber banned in Delhi in backlash over rape case (although ban is on a technicality). Still operating in other cities including Mumbai."

French actors

BBC World News

Marion Cotillard

French actors can earn significantly more than their Hollywood counterparts because their salaries are subsidised by the state. A body called the CNC takes money from cinema tickets, TV shows and DVD sales to help pay them. Now, that body says there is going to be a cap on actors' pay. "Broadly it's been welcomed in the industry," says the BBC's Hugh Schofield on World Business Report.

Oil price

BP oil data

Back to oil. A useful chart from oil firm BP showing how oil prices have moved over the last 150 years and how volatile they are. It stops in 2013, so you'll have to mentally sketch the price back down to $68 per barrel.


Shares in French building materials firm Saint-Gobain and Swiss firm Sika, which it's trying to buy, both dropped. Saint-Gobain said the family which owns 16.1% of Sika agreed to sell out, giving Saint-Gobain 52.4% of voting rights in the firm. Saint-Gobain shares reduced 4.9% to €35.41, while Sika's tanked 17% to 3,211 Swiss francs.

Airline error in your favour


Singapore Airlines said it will honour hundreds of business-class tickets sold wrongly at economy prices. SIA said it was investigating the cause of the sales which saw "business-class booking able to be made at an outdated economy-class fare level". Singapore's Straits Times reported savings of up to $4,200 (£2,697).

Brussels strike

The Schuman subway station

Rail and air connections to and from Brussels have been severely disrupted by strikes by public transport workers and baggage handlers. More than 40% of flights at Brussels main airport have been cancelled.

The Eurostar and Thalys train service to and from London and Paris have been shut down. Commuter trains and buses have also been hit.

House prices

London mews houses

Matthew Pointon, the property economist at Capital Economics has been looking at the affordability of homes. He concludes that "ultra-low interest rates are only just providing a sufficient offset for today's high prices". House price growth will be subdued he says, as all but the wealthiest first-time buyers have been excluded from the property market.

Is growth good?

As economic growth in the west is looking at best sluggish,

Reuters columnist Hugo Dixon asks if we even need growth. Being less materialistic would probably be a good thing he argues. But the big problem would be how to deal with debt and unemployment without growth.

Amazon Germany strike

Amazon in Leizig, Germany, 27 October 2014

Staff at one of Amazon's nine distribution centres in Germany have gone on strike. The strike at the Bad Hersfeld site started at midnight. In a long-running dispute, the services union

Verdi wants Amazon to pay its 9,000 staff wages that match those in the retail and mail order industry. However, Amazon argues that the staff work in the logistics business.

Via Twitter

John Campbell

BBC Northern Ireland Business Editor

"Astonishing moment in the High Court as N Ireland's AG accuses Bank of Scotland of

'criminal fraud' relating to this"

Trading tax delayed

The European Commission has been working on a financial transactions tax since 2011. It was an idea that emerged after the financial crisis and was popular in countries that had spent billions of dollars bailing out banks. But it has run into problems. Eurozone finance ministers were due to sign-off the plan at a meeting this week, but that looks unlikely, as does a 2016 start date for the tax.

Marks & Spencer delays

M&S website

Marks & Spencer is having to delay deliveries of online orders as it struggles to cope after a 4-day long promotion starting on Black Friday. M&S says standard delivery is now up to 10 days compared to its normal 5-day service. The

Guardian reported the delays were caused by problems at the retailer's distribution centre in Castle Donington.

Sainsbury's shares

Getty Images

Sainsbury's shares are up almost 1.5% this morning. Over the weekend
the Sunday Telegraph reported that activist investment firm Crystal Amber may join forces with other shareholders to shake up the retailer. Crystal Amber has previously taken stakes in Aer Lingus, Thorntons and Pinewood Shepperton, according to the report.

Russia debt


Investors in Russian debt are now paying the same to insure against default as investors in sovereign bonds from Lebanon, El Salvador and war-torn Iraq, according to analysis from

Bloomberg News. The cost of Russian credit-default swaps is at a five-year high after President Vladimir Putin's incursion into Ukraine, says the newswire.

Greek comeback

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras

In the early hours of Monday morning Greece passed its budget for 2015. It forecasts a budget surplus of 3% of GDP (excluding interest rate payments). Prime Minister Antonis Samaras described the surplus as a "historical moment". Greece still needs to persuade its international creditors that no further austerity is necessary. European finance ministers will meet today, so it's likely Greece will be on the agenda.

Household debt:

Radio 5 live

What should we make of the research from the Bank of England's report on the effect on an interest rate rise? On

Radio 5 live Grainne Gilmore, head of residential research at estate agent Knight Frank, says that the Bank is preparing the nation for a future rise in interest rates. She says it's worth bearing in my mind that only a third of households have a mortgage.

Going for a song


Following another rebuffed offer for Songbird Estates, which owns most of Canary Wharf Group, Qatar Investment Authority and Canada's Brookfield Property Partners have found an ally in Songbird shareholder Madison International Realty, who say they will accept their offer. Last week, the Qatari-led group offered £2.6bn for Songbird. Madison said it will sell

its 2.5% stake.

Market update


FTSE 100 is 0.4% lower in early trading.

  • Sainsbury up 1.9% on activist investor interest
  • Esure down 0.6% after gocompare purchase
  • Songbird 0.6% higher on takeover latest

Nuisance calls:

Radio 5 live

A government task force has recommended that company directors should be held accountable for unwanted phone calls from their businesses. The Nuisance Calls Task Force also says opting out of such calls should be made much easier. On

Radio 5 live Richard Lloyd, chief executive of Which, says he hopes the government will make it easier for the regulator to take businesses to court and fine them for nuisance calls.

Via Twitter

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland


Stalling eurozone + whisky exports, w prospect of EU referendum: weigh on growth prospects for Scottish economy"

Market update

Despite a report showing weak third quarter growth, Japan's main share index closed little changed at 17,935. The Japanese economy

contracted by 1.9% in annual terms from July to September, well above a preliminary reading of 1.6%. Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1%.

Google tax

Jimmy Wales

The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, told the BBC's Mark Lobel in Dubai he supports plans to tax multinationals on their UK profits at a higher rate than corporation tax. He also said of comedian Russell Brand, who himself has criticized tax avoidance: "he knows he is a ridiculous character... but he wouldn't be resonating with people if there wasn't something to it."

German industry

German car plant
Getty Images

German industrial output rose 0.2% in October, thanks to a rise in construction activity. But that figure was less than many economists were expecting. Figures last week showed that that industrial orders rose more than expected. "German industry had a weak start to the fourth quarter but given the better order levels, we expect a strong development in the coming months," said Ulrike Kastens, an economist at Sal Oppenheim.

Qataris buy Paris Le Grand

Paris le Grand

InterContinental said it has accepted an offer of €330m (£261m) from Qatari-backed Constellation Hotels for Paris Le Grand. InterContinental will manage the hotel for its new owners. Le Grand Hotel was inaugurated on 5 May, 1862 by Empress Eugenie, spouse of Napoleon the 3rd.

Via Twitter

Adam Parsons

Business Correspondent


Services company Quindell appoints PwC to conduct independent review into its accounting policies and cash expectations."

Cupid dumps romance


There's no money in love, it seems. Online dating firm Cupid is selling all of its online dating operations. It says it could not make a profit due to the pace of change in the industry. Cupid says it will shut the businesses if shareholders do not approve the sale. The seven staff left at the company will try to develop an advertising data business instead.

Gocompare deal

The price comparison website, will be fully owned by esure

under a deal announced this morning. Esure is spending £95m to buy the 50% of Gocompare it does not already own. Hopefully Esure checked the internet for other deals beforehand. Esure is an online insurance firm.

Oil price

Oil worker, Bahrain

Crude oil prices are continuing last week's weakness. In Asian trading the benchmark Brent Crude price fell as low as $67.73 a barrel. That was close to last week's low of $67.53 - a five year low. The trade data from China that we mentioned earlier showed that China's oil imports rose 9% from October to November, which helped support the price a bit.

Food banks:

BBC Radio 4

Food bank, Falkirk Scotland
Getty Images

"There's been a shrinkage of disposable income among the working poor in the UK as bills go up and wages are flat," says the BBC's social affairs correspondent Michael Buchanan on Today. More help is needed to prevent families in the UK going hungry, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said. Food is being wasted in "astonishing" amounts but hunger "stalks large parts" of the country, Justin Welby wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

Household debt:

BBC Radio 4

Justin Urquhart Stewart is on

Today talking about the BoE report and the various interpretations of the news. "Everyone will be affected if they have a loan," he says. Those on interest-only mortgages will be affected most and the extent of the pain depends on whether people have been sensible and paid off more debt while rates are low, he adds. "I expect some people are living in a happily deluded world that these low rates are now normal."