A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Dec 29, 2009 2:06 PM

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

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PARIS _ European stock markets moved higher as investors continued to book modest gains amid thin volume on the back of satisfying holiday sales in the U.S. and rising commodity prices. In Europe, the FTSE-100 index of leading British shares reopened after an extended holiday break, rising 35.2 points or 0.65 percent to 5,437.61, while Paris' CAC 40 index was up 12.83 points or 0.33 percent at 3,959.98, approaching a new 14-month high. Germany's DAX rose 8.63 points or 0.14 percent to 6,011.55. Europe's major indexes were seen extending their now six-day rally by sales figures showing shoppers in the U.S. spent more freely this holiday season, a sign that consumers are feeling better about the economy.

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SHANGHAI _ Chinese stocks rose on higher commodity prices and Premier Wen Jiabao's pledge of continued easy credit, led by resources and bank shares. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 22.98 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 3,212.52. The Shenzhen Composite Index for China's smaller second exchange jumped 0.4 percent to 1,191.07. Heavyweights jumped on rising commodity prices boosted by the stalled rally of the dollar, analysts said. Investors were still buoyed by the premier's Sunday promise that a relaxed monetary policy would continue next year.

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TOKYO _ Japanese stocks finished virtually flat as weak banking shares offset a rise among retailers. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average edged up 3.83 points, or 0.04 percent, to 10,638.06 in an erratic session. The Nikkei hit a new four-month high again after Monday's rally, though the index fell just short of a year high of 10,639.71 reached on Aug. 26. The broader Topix index added 0.1 percent to 915.87. Retailers, market laggards this year, posted solid gains after clothing chain company Shimamura Co. reported a 15 percent rise in net profit in the nine months through Nov. 20. The issue jumped 3.5 percent to 8,780 yen.

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BELGRADE, Serbia _ Serbia has withdrawn an additional 350 million euros ($505 million) from an emergency loan of 2.9 billion euros made available by the International Monetary Fund, the National Bank governor said. Serbia has already drawn 788 million euros of the loan agreed with the IMF in March. It can withdraw the remainder in equal installments until April 2011, when the standby deal expires. National Bank governor Radovan Jelasic said the latest installment is expected be transferred to the account of Serbia's central bank later in the day. The two-year loan was agreed upon in April after Serbia's economy suffered a major blow because of the global meltdown, which halted foreign investment and further diminished the country's already low export rate. Serbian officials have said they use the money to boost foreign currency reserves. Jelasic said that foreign currency reserve will now reach 10.5 billion euros.

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LONDON _ U.K. homeowners paid off 4.9 billion pounds ($7.85 billion) in mortgage debt in the third quarter, the Bank of England said, marking the sixth consecutive quarter in which consumers reined in spending to bolster their personal finances. The third-quarter figure was 2 billion pounds less than in the second quarter. U.K. householders have now injected 33.9 billion pounds of housing equity since the second quarter of last year. The equity injection peaked at 7.6 billion pounds in the fourth quarter of 2008. Through the first quarter of last year, householders had increased borrowing against their properties for 39 consecutive quarters.

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TAIPEI, Taiwan _ Taiwan's two main political parties agreed to reinstate a ban on some kinds of U.S. beef imports amid growing public concern that the government lacks adequate safeguards against mad cow disease. The parties' decision will likely result in the reversal of President Ma Ying-jeou's contentious decision in late October to lift a previous ban to allow the imports of ground U.S. beef and offal and also U.S. bone-in beef. Since Ma lifted the ban, protesters have staged rallies against the move, demanding to have a referendum on the issue out of the fear that the new U.S. beef imports could bring in mad cow disease.

On Tuesday, Ma's ruling Nationalist party reached an agreement with the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party to restore the previous ban on ground U.S. beef and offal.