A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2009 12:46 PM

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

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BEIJING _ China's central bank warned that the country's economic recovery is still weak despite improving conditions and said changes in its development model are urgently needed.

In a quarterly report, the People's Bank of China also said it is studying ways to improve oversight of China's financial industry and guard against excessive risk.

The communist government is trying to reduce reliance on exports and investment by boosting domestic consumption, a key element of its 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus.

Meanwhile, major Asian markets were higher. China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8 percent, Sydney's S&P/ASX added 0.8 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 1.1 percent, Seoul's Kospi gained 0.4 percent, Singapore was up 0.6 percent and Taiwan's Taiex rose 0.6 percent.

Tokyo was closed for a holiday.

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ATHENS, Greece _ Greece's Socialist-led parliament is set to pass the 2010 budget, aimed at reducing the country's high budget deficit by imposing spending cuts along with salary and hiring restraints in the public sector.

The vote at midnight comes amid strong pressure from markets and other countries that use the euro on Greece to improve its finances.

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LONDON _ Bank of England policy makers were unanimous in their decision earlier this month to keep interest rates steady at 0.5 percent and leave a 200 billion pound ($325 billion) asset purchase program unchanged, according to minutes of their monthly meeting.

Meanwhile, British banks said home purchase lending rose but consumers cut credit card debt in November.

In European markets, downbeat U.S. housing data pared earlier gains. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 0.8 percent, France's CAC-40 rose 0.3 percent and Germany's DAX added 0.2 percent.

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FRANKFURT _ The European Central Bank is considering ways to make the complex securities that contributed to the financial crisis more easily understood.

The Frankfurt-based bank, which handles monetary policy for the 16 countries that use the euro currency, is surveying market participants about the possibility of requiring detailed disclosure about so-called asset-backed securities.

In particular, the bank is proposing disclosure about the solidity of the assets underlying the securities _ typically loans such as mortgages.

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MUMBAI, India _ India has emerged the leader in small cars, overtaking Japan, as declining sales in Western markets coupled with robust growth in Asia redraws the global map of the auto industry.

Foreign automakers are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the country, hoping to capture a piece of the growing market for tiny, inexpensive passenger vehicles. As they do so, they are quietly transforming India into an export hub for small car manufacturing.

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BEIJING _ China imposed anti-dumping duties on some European steel products and accused Europe of protectionism for extending curbs on imports of Chinese shoes, adding to tensions fueled by the slump in global trade.

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SINGAPORE _ Singapore's consumer prices fell 0.2 percent from a year earlier in November, the smallest decline in eight months as deflation eases amid an economic recovery.

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand _ New Zealand's economy grew at a snail's pace for a second consecutive quarter following 15 months of recession.

Gross domestic product rose 0.2 percent in the July-September quarter from the previous quarter, when it had also grown 0.2 percent, Statistics New Zealand said.