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  1. All of the morning's business headlines and breaking news.
  2. Brent crude falls to $63 a barrel
  3. Latest Chinese economic data mixed
  4. UK water bill increases to be moderated

Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Howard Mustoe

All times stated are UK

Howard Mustoe

Business reporter

That's all for this week. More fun next week from 06:00 on Monday. Have a restful weekend and join us then.

Japanese food scare


After a cockroach found in frozen pasta triggered a mass recall in Japan, a noodle maker has halted production after it was claimed that a cooked bug was found inside a meal. Maruka Foods said it was recalling two types of instant fried noodles, after "a claim from a customer that a foreign object, an insect, had been spotted inside one of the products".

Drone warning

The Civil Aviation Authority is warning drone pilots they must obey rules,

after a radio-controlled model helicopter came within twenty feet of a plane landing at Heathrow. The Airbus A320 was seven hundred feet above the ground- when the pilot spotted the drone over the aircraft's wing. The incident, back in July, has highlighted safety concerns over their use.

Via Twitter

Gavin Hewitt

Europe editor


EU nerves over Greece. Juncker: 'I assume that the Greeks ..know v well what a wrong election result would mean for Gr and the euro-zone'."

Zagreb-Belgrade flights resume

air serbia

Direct flights between Zagreb and Belgrade have resumed, 23 years after air travel between the two capitals was scrapped during the war in Croatia in the 1990s. Air Serbia's flight from Serbia landed at Zagreb Pleso airport at 08:00.

Via Email

Water bills

Neil Griffiths-Lambeth

Moody’s ratings agency

"Moody's views United Utilities Water and Thames Water Utilities as the relative winners following Ofwat's announcement of final price limits for the next five years. We expect the sector to maintain adequate financial flexibility following the cut in allowed returns by reducing dividends or leverage as necessary."

Spain deflation


Consumer prices in Spain declined in November for the fifth month running, according to official data, adding to concern about slowing inflation in the eurozone. Spain's inflation rate was minus 0.5% in November, adjusting for seasonality, following a 0.2% fall in October. Transport and energy prices led the decline. Other major European economies such as Germany and France have seen similar price drops.

Nut rage

Cho Yang-ho, chairman of Korean Air Lines bows

Remember the Korean Air Lines executive who stopped a jet from taking off because her macadamia nuts were offered to her in a bag rather than on a plate?

She then quit. Now, her father, the chairman of the firm, has apologised. Cho Yang-ho called his daughter's behaviour foolish and says he regrets he didn't raise her better. We think nuts will be off the menu for some time in the Cho household.

Iron ore prices

bhp iron mine

Oil isn't the only commodity on the fall. The world's biggest miner, BHP Billiton, says iron ore prices are unlikely to rise above $100 a tonne again as the commodity trades at five-year lows. There's a glut of the stuff and weak Chinese demand. Iron ore prices dropped 40% this year.

Eurozone industrial output

European Union flags
Getty Images

There was a pretty feeble 0.1% rise in eurozone industrial output in October from September. Strong growth in the production of consumer goods helped support the overall sector. Ireland reported the biggest increase in industrial production, up 9.0%. France and the Netherlands both recorded a 0.9% fall in October.

World's longest running movie

BBC World News

Mumbai movie goer
Getty Images

This week a Bollywood film is marking its 1,000th week of continuous screening. Released in 1995, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (The big hearted will take the bride) is the world's longest running movie.

The film re-defined Bollywood cinema in the 1990s because it included romance, drama, action and song all in one movie, says Haroon Rashid from the BBC Asian Network on World Business Report.

Italy strike


A general strike has disrupted transport across Italy, and rallies are underway in more than fifty big cities. Trade unions are protesting against the government's plans to reform labour laws. They insist the regulations are necessary to protect workers from being sacked by unscrupulous firms. But the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, says the economy can't be lifted out of years of stagnation without the reforms.

Tesco cuts petrol price

From lunchtime today, Tesco will cut the price of petrol by 2p per litre and diesel by 1p per litre.

Via Email

Falling construction output

Stefan Friedhoff

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking

"Construction companies are grappling with myriad issues, including inflation-led cost overruns, a competitive bidding environment and labour constraints. The shortage of skilled workers is undermining current output levels and, unchecked, it threatens the long-term health of the sector."

Oil rout continues

Brent crude price, three sessions

The price of oil has continued to fall. This morning the benchmark Brent Crude price dipped below $63 a barrel. The chart above shows the last three trading sessions. The

International Energy Agency has today cut its outlook for the demand for oil next year and said that supply, particularly in North America, is likely to rise.

Gucci changes


Gucci has a new chief executive. Marco Bizzarri takes over from Patrizio di Marco, who led Gucci for almost six years. Gucci creative director Frida Giannini will also leave her post at the end of February, after eight years. Changes were expected as the brand has been suffering falling sales this year.

Construction data

Yesterday, the UK statistics watchdog said the quality of the government's monthly construction data wasn't at the necessary standard. So the Office for National Statistics has "created a statistical model" to try to work around this problem for its October numbers. In October 2014, output in the construction industry decreased by 2.2% compared with September 2014,

says the ONS.

Newspaper review

Business pages

Let's have a quick look at the business pages of the papers.

The Times's lead business story is about a rout in Greek markets - stocks fell 7.4% and the government's cost of borrowing rose above 9%. The
Daily Telegraph business section leads on France's slide into deflation, as prices fell 0.2% in November. Meanwhile,
the FT tells us Britons spend more on online shopping than any other rich country.


Getty Images

Homebuilder Bellway says it's

buying up land for building projects. It spent £233m on land in the four months to the end of November compared to £121m for the same period a year ago. They will build 10% more homes for the year to July 2015 they say.

How to spend it

FT How to Spend it Magazine
Financial Times

Hooray! Today the FT includes the 'How to Spend It' magazine. It's a regular reminder that money cannot buy you style or taste, but can secure you ridiculous clothes, bizarre hairstyles and jewellery resembling Christmas tree decorations. The necklace pictured is made up of golden pearls - we're not even sure what they are. Gold plated pearls perhaps? The issue also includes a three-page article on decanters.

Market update


FTSE 100 is lower in early trading, down 0.6%. Utility firms have done well after that announcement from Ofwat.

  • Severn Trent is up 3.2%
  • United Utilities up 2.4%
  • Builder Persimmon down 3.8%

Water bills - clarification

Just to be clear. Your water bill isn't going to be cheaper in 2020 than it is now. The price decrease Ofwat has announced today excludes the effect of inflation. That could be 2% to 3% over the next five years, which will exceed the 5% reduction in water bills. So your bill will increase, but that increase has been moderated by Ofwat. Are we all clear now?

Shale gas 'non-starter'

BBC Breakfast

Oil prices fell again in Asian trading, with Brent Crude hitting $63.56 a barrel. "At this price the development of UK shale is probably a non-starter", says Kevin Doran, investment manager from Brown Shipley on

Energy companies have been pushing for permission to drill for shale gas deposits in the UK.

Water bills

Radio 5 live

Cathryn Ross is the chief executive of the water industry regulator, Ofwat.

The regulator has "challenged" the companies to be more innovative and efficient, she says on
Radio 5 live, which is why bills will fall over the next five years.

Ed Sheeran

Radio 5 live

Ed Sheeran

Are music streaming services good for musicians?

Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran certainly thinks so. On
Radio 5 live he says they have bought his music to an international audience which means he is filling stadiums in South America, Korea and south-east Asia. Mr Sheeran says his fans have always streamed music and are not inclined to buy records. This week Mr Sheeran won the British Artist of the Year at the BBC Music Awards.

China economy

China construction
Getty Images

What should we make of the latest

economic numbers from China? Industrial output rose by 7.2% in November which was less than expected, but retail sales expanded 11.7% which was more than forecast. Investment rose 15.8% in the first 11 months of this year - in line with forecasts. "Today's data suggest that China's economy continues to face downward pressure," concludes Capital Economics in a research note.

Water bills

Changes in water bills are going to vary from region to region. Big winners will be consumers in Bristol, who will see a 21% fall over the next five years. That's before adjustments for inflation. Anglian customers should see a 10% drop, while Northumbrian clients will see a more modest 1% reduction.

Energy firms fined

Energy industry regulator Ofgem has fined three more firms for failing to meet environmental and energy efficiency targets. Scottish Power, SSE and GDP Suez have been fined a combined £4.6m.

Water bills

price changes
ofwat/crown copyright

Ofwat have published their report, saying water bills will fall around 5% in England and Wales. "Companies are set to spend more than £44 billion or around £2,000 for every household in England and Wales over the next five years," says the report.

Market report

Shares in Tokyo rose 0.7% by the close of trading, with Japanese exporters helped by a weaker yen. Investor sentiment was assisted by a strong US retail sales report. The

Nikkei 225 index gained 114.18 points to close at 17,371.58. The
Hang Seng index in Hong Kong added 0.1% to 23,332.01 points.

Blessed are the cheese makers

BBC Radio 4


The founder of Kappacasein dairy, Bill Oglethorpe, is the Friday boss on the

Today programme. He makes Swiss cheese in Bermondsey, which is probably a first. He's the 2014 best artisan cheese maker, an award from the Prince of Wales. How's the money? "I don't know any rich cheese makers," he says. He is in it for "the quality."

Stolen mobile phones

Radio 5 live

If your phone is stolen and you haven't reported it, then you are liable for any phone bills run up by the thieves. On
Radio 5 live James Plunkett from Citizens Advice Bureau says people often don't know that their phones have been stolen. He had one case where a £23,000 bill was run up by thieves. He wants the government to go-ahead with a £50 cap on what consumers have to pay.

Via Twitter

Ben Thompson

Business correspondent, BBC News Channel


Yodel says it "intends to get all parcels delivered before Christmas" and "temporary suspension designed to clear bottle-neck" @BBCBreakfast"

Oil prices

BBC Radio 4

US oil prices have slumped below $60 a barrel. Good news? "When oil prices fall, you take money out of countries that produce oil and put it in countries that consume it," says Gilles Moec of Bank of America on the

Today programme. It can hurt exports, though. German exports to Russia have almost halved.

Mobile business

BBC Radio 4


"Investors seem to like the deal," Nicola di Palma of Brewin Dolphin tells the

Today programme. She's talking about BT's expected move back into mobile phones, as it is expected to make a bid for either O2 or EE. It will make BT a "quad play", she says, which is dreadful marketing speak for a provider of broadband, TV, telephone and mobile services.

European economic woes

Radio 5 live

Greek protesters

There has been a flare-up of industrial action in Europe this week. Greece, Italy and Ireland have all seen strikes. Austerity has "terribly failed," says Bernadette Segol, general secretary of the European Trades Union Council on

Wake Up to Money. Europe needs a big investment plan to restart growth and raise employment, she says. The European Central Bank can't really help as its mandate is too limited she adds.

Late deliveries

Radio 5 live

Delivery companies are struggling because online Black Friday orders were, in some cases, 50% greater than anticipated, says Tom Cropper, chief executive of the logistics business, Challenge Group on
Radio 5 live. He also says there is a shortage of HGV drivers. That's because pay has not risen much and it costs £2,000 to get a licence.