29 January 2015
How should the government take advantage of the record low interest rates it pays?
Eurozone deflation deepens in January, as prices fall by 0.6% compared with last year, pushed down by lower oil prices.
Men have seen the real value of their pay fall far more than women in the past few years, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
BT sets aside £2bn to deal with its swelling pension deficit as part of a 16-year plan.
The online retail giant Amazon reports weaker profits for the busy Christmas period, but a 15% rise in sales cheers investors.
The 10-year UK government bond (gilt) yield has fallen to a historic low of 1.4%. "'You don't have to be mad to buy gilts, but it helps. Rational investors wouldn't touch gilts at this level, but reason is pretty much out the window when central banks are sporadically firing bazookas at government bond markets... Falling inflation, lower growth expectations, and of course the ECB bond-buying programme are the most likely culprits for the fall in bond yields."
Time to get your skates on if you haven't yet done your self-assessment tax return. The deadline for online returns is the stroke of midnight tomorrow. You can probably think of better ways of spending your Saturday - if you have £100 to burn on an HMRC penalty. However, if you're really stuck, there are exceptions.
Nut rage is back in the news. A court in South Korea is deciding if a former senior executive at Korean Air should be punished under laws designed to deter hijackings. Cho Hyun-ah, the daughter of the chairman of Korean Air, ordered one of its airliners back to the departure gate to eject a cabin attendant who served her nuts in a bag, not in a bowl. She could face ten years in prison if convicted of diverting a flight, and is also accused of assaulting two cabin crew.
One not to miss today: intrepid technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones gets himself chipped so he can do some photocopying. "First, he massaged the skin between my thumb and index finger and rubbed in some disinfectant. Then he told me to take a deep breath while he inserted the chip. There was a moment of pain - not much worse than any injection - and then he stuck a plaster over my hand." We may stick with our plastic ID cards.
tweets: Russian central bank cuts interest rate - 15% from 17% due to "stabilisation of inflation and depreciation expectations"
Among general eurozone gloom, a bright spot for German breweries, who saw their first increase in sales volume in 2014 after seven years of declines. The Federal Statistical Office said overall sales of German beer in 2014 were 9.56 billion litres (about 16.8 billion UK pints), an increase of 1% over 2013.
After a five-year effort, Unilever tells me that it has achieved zero waste in all of its 240 factories in 67 countries worldwide. It says that it generates efficiency savings of €200m a year by eliminating disposal costs. Read more of Linda's blog on the website.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis was on 5 live talking about house building. "I'm not a fan of targets," he says. Less regulation for small building projects is helping building, he adds. If we are short of housing, why the rise of detached houses? "We've had a period of [building] lots of apartments of flats... we need homes as well."
The graph above, courtesy of the ONS, shows the trend of percentage increases in rental prices. After rises nearing 3% in 2012, the dip to 1.5% may well have ended.
Private rental prices paid by tenants in Great Britain rose by 1.7% in 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics. A 2% rise in Scotland led the charge, while English rents grew 1.8%, and 0.2% increases were logged in Wales. As can be seen, London rent rises have outgunned the rest of the country.
Mortgage approvals rose in December for the first time since June, the Bank of England said. This could mean that a steady reduction in home loans could be ending. There were 60,275 mortgage approvals last month, up from 58,956 in November.
All Nippon Airways has placed an order with a list price of $2.2bn (£1.46bn) for 15 planes from Boeing and Airbus. The Japanese flag carrier is looking to expand routes at Tokyo's central Haneda airport. The airline said it would acquire eight planes from US-based Boeing and seven from fellow duopolist Airbus.
Watch out for Greek fire. Or, continuing the Greek theme, maybe we'll see the golden mean. The prime minister who heads the nation's new anti-austerity government, Alexis Tsipras, has it in his diary to meet Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the current head of the eurozone group of finance ministers today to discuss the conditions of Greece's massive bailout.
tweets: BT says ultrafast coming within a decade - but will it look that fast in 2025?
Honda cut its annual operating profit forecast by 6.5%. It has set aside more cash to cover its recall of cars to replace potentially faulty air bags. It now expects an operating profit of 720 billion yen (£4.1bn) for the year to March 31. It previously forecast 770 billion yen.
The Guardian splashes on a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies which claims young workers have been hit hardest by a squeeze in standards of living. The FT digests Shell and US rival ConocoPhillips's investment cancellations. The Wall St Journal says bets against currency pegs, like Denmark's krone with the euro, are on the rise following Switzerland abandoning theirs. The Telegraph reports on a likely windfall for gas companies as wholesale costs drop.
tweets: Google's capital expenditures jumped $1.13 billion sequentially to $3.55 billion in 4Q2014. Data centers ain't cheap.
The Financial Conduct Authority, the City watchdog, is planning to "gather evidence on current trends in complaints on payment protection insurance," it says. It could then decide to do an advertising campaign, a time limit on complaints or keep things as they are.
BT have updated everyone on their pension fund situation and how they will deal with a £7bn deficit. BT will pay £1.5bn into the fund by the end of April 2015. This will be followed by £250m in each of the years to March 2016 and March 2017. Low interest rates have hit the fund.
Qatar Airways has acquired stake of just less than 10% in BA and Iberia-owner IAG. There's a cap on non-EU ownership of European airlines, but Qatar Airways might up its stake in future, it says.
BT says third-quarter earnings before tax and interests costs rose 2% to £1.57bn. Gavin Patterson, chief executive says: "All the major communications providers are responding to the strong market demand for fibre broadband, helping to drive take-up in what is already a very competitive market."
US growth figures will be reported later on. What's the likely result, Today asks Ewen Cameron Watt of Blackrock? "The rate of growth is slowing a little bit but not enough to raise serious concerns," he says. Expect a "stable but robust rate of growth."
Guntram Wolff is the director of European think tank Bruegel, and he's on 5 live, talking about Greece. "It was a mistake that Greece joined the euro, but it would now be a mistake for it to leave," he says. "We will have to come to a deal that will have a lower burden on Greece. I essentially think you will keep the nominal amount [owed to bond investors] but you will increase the maturity.. from 30 to 40 or 50 years."
More from Ewen Cameron Watt of investment manager Blackrock on 5 live. He is giving his views on US results overnight. "Amazon and Google both essentially reported that underlying demand over Christmas was pretty decent," he says. After tax, margins at Amazon are below 1%, he says.
The phrases "this sick beat" and "nice to meet you, where you been" have been trademarked by singer Taylor Swift, 5 live reports. Laura Harper of law firm Shoosmiths says she is trying to stop other people making money by putting the phrases on a t-shirt or other merchandise. She will have to prove the phrases are "synonymous" with her, she says.
Ewen Cameron Watt of Blackrock is the markets guest on 5 live, talking about yesterday's results from Shell. "These are very historic results because they reflect an average price of $75" per barrel of oil, he says. Bearing in mind oil is below $50 today, "the pain is yet to come," he adds. The firm has cut $15bn of investments. The longer the price remains at this level, the more likely more investment cuts will come, he says.
Figures from the National House Building Council show there was a 9% rise in homes built last year to 145,174, but the rise missed the government's 200,000 home target. Peter Vella of Countryside Properties is on 5 live. NHBC's figures don't take into account all homes started or built, so the industry could be closer to the target than thought.
Good morning all. Overnight, online retail giant Amazon has reported weaker profits for the busy Christmas period. Stay tuned for the best business and economics news and get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @BBCBusiness
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Last Updated at 07:22 ET
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