A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
|
Posted: Dec 11, 2009 2:18 PM

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

___

BRUSSELS _ European Union leaders called for a global financial transaction levy and more responsible banking pay in the hopes it could help buffer against future market crises.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there was "growing support" across the world for such a levy and that other EU nations were supportive of Britain's plans for a tax of 50 percent for all bonuses of more than more than 25,000 pounds ($40,800.)

France says it will follow suit _ and called on others to join them. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said, "We want and expect others to do the same because we are in a globalized world."

But the EU's 27 leaders stopped short of saying they would also introduce taxes on bankers' bonuses. German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a lukewarm response Thursday.

She also told reporters that a bonus tax might raise constitutional problems in Germany.

In a joint statement, the EU's 27 leaders broadly backed limits on bankers' pay, saying that the financial sector should "immediately implement sound compensation practices" and that governments could consider "short-term options" _ such as a bonus tax _ if they want to.

They also said a global tax on financial transactions should be one of several options that the International Monetary Fund should investigate.

___

BERLIN _ Eleven leading German banks and insurers have agreed to implement new principles on bank pay and bonuses approved by the Group of 20 rich and developing countries, the Finance Ministry said.

Deutsche Bank AG, Commerzbank AG, HypoVereinsbank AG and DZ Bank AG signed up, along with four public-sector wholesale banks: Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg, BayernLB, WestLB and HSH Nordbank. Also joining the agreement were insurers Allianz SE and Talanx AG, along with reinsurer Munich Re AG.

___

SHANGHAI _ China's exports are making a comeback after a jarring slump threw millions out of work, a sign of improving global demand that along with a torrent of stimulus money is accelerating recovery in the world's No. 3 economy.

The trade figures for November were the best in a year with exports falling just 1.2 percent from the same month of 2008. Retail sales, factory output and investment also saw robust growth last month. The figures did show a return to inflation, though only at the modest level of 0.6 percent, after nine months of falling prices.

The 1.2 percent fall in exports was the smallest decline since they collapsed in November 2008 _ an upheaval that forced thousands of factories in China's southern manufacturing heartland to close and cost millions of jobs.

Imports jumped, rising 26.7 percent over the same month last year and narrowing the trade surplus to $19.9 billion in November from $24 billion in October, customs data showed.

The data sparked most Asian stock markets. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average jumped 2.5 percent as exporters like Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Corp. benefited from a weaker yen. Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.9 percent, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3 percent, Australia's benchmark gained 0.6 percent and Singapore's market advanced 0.5 percent. China's Shanghai index lost 0.2 percent, while India's Sensex dropped 0.4 percent.

___

LONDON _ In European trading, Britain's FTSE 100 closed 0.3 percent higher, Germany's DAX added 0.8 percent and France's CAC 40 gained 0.1 percent.

___

BRUSSELS _ EU leaders agreed to commit euro2.4 billion ($3.6 billion) a year until 2012 to help poorer countries combat global warming, as they sought to rescue their image as climate change innovators and bolster the talks in Copenhagen.

All 27 members of the European Union agreed to commit money to a short-term fund for poorer countries, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said after two days of talks at a summit in Brussels.

Britain, France and Germany will each contribute about 20 percent of the money. But with many cash-strapped eastern EU states balking, donations by some were thought to be designed to permit a unanimous agreement.

___

AMSTERDAM _ ING Groep NV, the Dutch bank and insurer, said it will repay euro5.56 billion ($7.4 billion) in government bailout money on Dec. 21 with cash raised from investors.

That's half of the euro10 billion, plus interest, that ING received from the Netherlands in one bailout package last year.

The company is paying the state back with proceeds from a euro7.5 billion share issue.

Until it repays the aid in full, ING is barred from buying other firms and from undercutting rivals with lower prices or more favorable interest rates, and it must get EU approval to repay hybrid and subordinated debt capital.

___

PARIS _ Global oil demand will rise slightly faster in 2010 than previously forecast, driven by increased economic activity in Asia and the Middle East, the International Energy Agency said.

The IEA, which advises oil-consuming countries, said in its monthly report that crude demand would reach 86.3 million barrels a day in 2010, up 1.7 percent from 2009. Last month, the IEA forecast oil demand of 86.2 million barrels a day in 2010.

The forecast for demand in 2009 remained "virtually unchanged" at 84.9 million barrels a day, the IEA said.

While most of the increase in demand next year was seen coming from the developing world, the outlook for industrialized countries was also forecast to improve, particularly in the Pacific, the IEA said.

___

MUMBAI, India _ India's factory output rose 10.3 percent in October from a year earlier as stimulus measures and domestic demand pushed Asia's third-largest economy into its 10th straight month of industrial expansion.

Manufacturing output grew 11.1 percent, rebounding from a 0.6 percent contraction last October, according to government figures released Friday. Consumer durables production shot up 21 percent and capital goods production rose 12.2 percent.

The government also revised its number for September industrial output growth to 9.6 percent from 9.1 percent.

___

KIEV, Ukraine _ Ukraine's deputy prime minister said he secured a loan of some $2 billion from the International Monetary Fund that should help pay for Russian natural gas.

The government said that part of they money will be used to make gas payments to Russia that are next coming due in early January. The $2 billion will come out of the final portion of the IMF bailout loan to Ukraine, which the lender froze in October due to concerns over Ukraine's budget deficit.