Thursday business round-up: Five key stories of the day

Bank of England governor Mark Carney

Bank of England governor Mark Carney

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Here are five of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee (MPC) voted to keep interest rates on hold at their record low of 0.5 per cent for the 80th month in a row. Policymakers also said that growth is expected to “pick up a little towards the middle of next year, as a tighter labour market and stronger productivity support real incomes and consumption”.

Signs emerged that the pressures on the Scotch whisky industry may be easing as new figures showed the decline in exports has slowed sharply. The Scotch Whisky Association revealed that the value of exports in the first half of 2015 fell 3 per cent to £1.7 billion, compared with a deeper 11 per cent slide in the same six months of 2014.

The Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank (GIB) said it would invest £47 million in a Northern Irish project to turn waste into energy. The £107m scheme in Belfast is the largest of its kind to be financed in Northern Ireland and will have the capacity to generate enough power – generated from household and commercial waste – for 14,500 homes.

Supermarket group Morrisons reported another quarter of falling sales as it battles fierce competition in the grocery sector. The Bradford-based retailer said like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 1 November were down 2.6 per cent, compared with a 2.4 per cent decline seen in the second quarter.

Facebook revenues jumped 40 per cent to $4.5bn (£2.9bn) in the third quarter as its number of global users grew to a record 1.55 billion – equivalent to almost a fifth of the world’s population. Advertising revenue was the key driver behind the performance, growing 45 per cent year-on-year to $4.3bn.

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