A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
Posted: Dec 02, 2009 1:31 PM

A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world Wednesday:


TOKYO _ Japan's prime minister and central bank chief vowed to step up cooperation in their effort to pull the nation out of deflation.

They held talks a day after the central bank announced a decision to further ease monetary policy by massaging the economy with cheap loans, amid government pressure to respond to a surging yen and falling prices.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said after the talks that he and Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa pledged to "take action quickly while sharing the notion that the government and the BOJ need to pull (Japan) out of deflation."

The yen has surged in recent days, and government officials have criticized the central bank as too complacent. The bank has also been under pressure to do something about deflation after months of falling prices.

Before the meeting, the Bank of Japan announced that it was supplying 1 trillion yen ($11.4 billion) into the short-term money market in a one-time injection, in line with the latest monetary easing measure.


BRUSSELS _ European Union countries agreed on the powers being given to new financial oversight agencies after an intense debate that pitted France and Germany's tighter regulatory traditions against Britain's more hands-off approach.

The final form of an agreement struck between EU nations was a compromise. It says that national supervisors could be overruled as a last resort, if the EU order is backed by the majority of EU governments.


UNITED NATIONS _ The United Nations forecast that the world economy will bounce back in 2010 with a global growth rate of 2.4 percent, but it warned that the recovery will be fragile.

The U.N. credited the massive fiscal stimulus measures by governments worldwide since late 2008 for the expected rebound. It recommended that these stimulus measures continue _ at least until there are clearer signals of a more robust recovery.


North Korea's surprise decision to revalue its currency sparked panic and despair among merchants left with piles of worthless bills, even driving one couple to suicide, activists said.

North Korea informed citizens and foreign embassies Monday that it would revalue its national currency, the won, diplomats said. Residents in the reclusive communist country were told they have until Sunday to exchange a limited amount of the old bills into new ones, they said.

The news sent Pyongyang residents distrustful of the local currency rushing to the black market to convert hoarded bills into U.S. dollars and Chinese yuan, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported, citing unidentified North Korean traders operating in neighboring China.

Shops, bathhouses, barbershops and restaurants have shut their doors, activists said.


LONDON _ In European trading, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 0.3 percent, while Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent and the CAC-40 in France gained.5 percent.


TOKYO _ Asian stocks powered ahead as they responded to the continuing recovery in Europe and the U.S. The Nikkei 225 stock average was up 0.4 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.8 percent, South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.4 percent, Australia's benchmark advanced 0.9 percent and China's Shanghai index climbed 1.1 percent.


FRANKFURT _ German machinery and factory equipment orders posted their 13th consecutive drop for October, but improved on past months, the industry group VDMA said.

Domestic machinery and factory equipment orders for the month were 29 percent below October 2008 levels, while international orders were 28 percent below year-ago levels, the group said.

In September, orders for both domestic and international markets were 33 percent lower.


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates _ Top Emirates officials rallied together, extolling the strength of the country's economy in a show of bravado that ignored the debt woes facing the one-time Arab boomtown of Dubai.

In speeches on the national holiday marking the unification 38 years ago of seven small desert fiefdoms into the United Arab Emirates, they stressed the country's push to grow and diversify its economy to face any adversity.

Their speeches did not mention the crippling $60 billion debt owed by Dubai World, the city state-owned conglomerate with interests ranging from ports to luxury retailer Barney's New York that have powered the emirate's growth.

Dubai World shocked global markets last week by announcing it would ask creditors for at least a six-month reprieve in payments on $26 billion of its debt as it undergoes a restructuring process.


GENEVA _ Almost two dozen emerging countries agreed to cut tariffs on some goods by 20 percent as part of a deal that aims to stimulate trade in the developing world.

Ministers representing Brazil, India and 20 other countries pledged to wrap up the accord next year. China is not included.


SEOUL, South Korea _ South Korea's foreign currency reserves hit a record high in November, the central bank said, climbing after a steep fall last year amid the global credit crunch.