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A look at economic developments around the globe

Source : AP
Last Updated: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 07:00 hrs

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LONDON — World stock markets mostly rose as traders put aside uncertainty about the size of the Federal Reserve's economy-boosting bond purchase plan to sort through a raft of earnings reports.

Britain's FTSE 100 index was up 1 percent at 5,699.84 and Germany's DAX was up 0.9 percent at 6,626.35. France's CAC-40 was 1.1 percent higher at 3,857.79. Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index closed down 0.2 percent to 9,366.03.

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BRUSSELS — Germany and France sought to convince skeptical EU partners to back new rules on state spending, which they say are needed to prevent another government debt crisis in Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived at a two-day EU summit in Brussels seeking a permanent crisis resolution mechanism, which would force private creditors to bear some of the cost of bailing out a highly indebted country.

They also called for stripping EU voting rights from repeat overspenders — a radical measure that some say will not pass.

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DUBLIN — The interest rate on Ireland's national debt reached a new euro-era high as investors sold off Irish bonds on skepticism that the country can meet a European Union deadline for reversing its deficits.

The yield on Ireland's 10-year bonds rose above 7 percent for the first time since the euro's launch 11 years ago. That broke a previous high of 6.9 percent reached last month as doubts swelled over Ireland's ability to tame its deficit, which is forecast this year to reach 32 percent of GDP, a modern European record.

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BERLIN — The number of Germans out of work sank below 3 million in October for the first time in two years, a sign of the country's resilient labor market.

The unadjusted jobless rate sank to 7 percent in October from 7.2 percent in September, with 2.945 million people out of work, the Federal Labor Agency said. That was down 86,000 from September, a drop the agency credited both to a traditional seasonal improvement and economic recovery.

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ATHENS, Greece — Contract workers at Greece's Culture Ministry have staged another protest at the ancient Acropolis, in an effort to press the government to extend their short-term work agreements.

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PARIS — More nationwide street protests and strikes caused travel woes even though parliament has already approved President Nicolas Sarkozy's unpopular plan to raise the retirement age.

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LONDON — A major British mortgage lender says that average house prices fell 0.7 percent in October, continuing a modest downturn since the start of the summer.

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BEIJING — China's leaders are promising to narrow its huge trade surplus and curb surging emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases in an ambitious five-year plan to make its economy cleaner and more high-tech.

The Communist Party plan also promises to encourage consumer spending to reduce reliance on exports to power growth. The plan was approved last week by party leaders.

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TOKYO — Japan's central bank cut its economic growth forecasts and kept interest rates near zero, as the export-reliant nation confronts a strong yen and waning overseas demand.

In its October outlook report, the Bank of Japan forecast the world's No. 3 economy to grow 2.1 percent in the year through March 2011 and 1.8 percent the following year. Its July assessment projected growth of 2.6 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.

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BEIJING — China said it will not use exports of rare earths, exotic minerals required by high-tech industry, as a diplomatic "bargaining tool" while Washington pressed Beijing to clarify its policy following its de facto ban on supplies to Japan.

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SHANGHAI — China and the European Union have agreed to pursue jointly financed research focused on sharing and developing technologies for cleaner, less polluting and safer aircraft.

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand's central bank held its key interest rate at 3 percent amid a weak economic recovery, and the bank signaled it's in no hurry to raise rates.




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