A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Oct 12, 2010 12:58 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

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BEIJING _ China has told its biggest banks to increase reserves in a new move to control lending, news reports said, as Beijing tries to cool inflation and housing prices without derailing its recovery from the global slump.

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ATHENS, Greece _ Greece raised 1.17 billion euros ($1.63 billion) in a sale of 26-week treasury bills that was both oversubscribed and saw a drop in borrowing costs.

Last month Greece began regular monthly short-term debt sales, maintaining a presence in the bond market after its financial woes left it essentially blocked out of the long-term international debt market due to prohibitively high interest rates demanded for its bonds.

The government has said it hopes to return to borrowing on the international market some time next year, if conditions allow.

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PARIS _ Workers tried to shut down France with strikes affecting transportation, schools and the postal service in a showdown with President Nicolas Sarkozy over his government's attempt to raise the retirement age by two years to save money.

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LONDON _ European stocks dipped. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed down 0.1 percent, Germany's DAX fell 0.1 percent and the CAC-40 in France ended 0.5 percent lower.

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TOKYO _ Asian shares mostly fell. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index slid 2.1 percent, South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.2 percent, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.7 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index declined 0.4 percent.

One notable exception was the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which rose 1.2 percent.

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BANGKOK _ Thailand slapped a 15 percent tax on the income that foreigners earn from investing in Thai bonds, hoping to stem strength in its currency as Asian nations scramble to keep their exports competitive against China.

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MUMBAI, India _ Coal India Ltd., the world's largest coal company, announced a $3.4 billion initial public offering that is India's biggest-ever and adds to a growing list of record-breaking IPOs in Asia this year.

Foreign investors fleeing slow growth and low returns in the developed world have rushed into Asia, pumping up stock markets and snapping up shares in new offerings, which can more easily absorb large chunks of capital.

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CAIRO _ OPEC slightly increased its forecast for oil demand in 2010 and 2011, but noted that much of the growth hinged on China's economic growth as the world economy struggles to emerge from its worst recession in decades.

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TOKYO _ Japanese officials said they have not seen any easing of China's de facto ban on exports of rare earth minerals _ crucial for advanced manufacturing _ despite a thaw in tensions between the two Asian powers.

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MUMBAI, India _ Growth in India's industrial production sagged to a 15-month low of 5.6 percent in August as capital goods output, known for its extreme volatility, shrank during the month.

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MANILA, Philippines _ Booming populations, rapid urbanization and competing demands for water for food and energy could further diminish Asia's dwindling water supplies unless the region alters the way it manages the resources, experts said.

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STOCKHOLM _ Sweden has raised its economic growth forecast for 2010 to 4.8 percent as the Scandinavian country rebounds quicker than expected from the recession.

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LONDON _ British consumer price inflation held steady at 3.1 percent in September, still well above official targets, amid falling gasoline prices but big jumps in the cost of food and clothing.

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SHANGHAI _ China's auto sales slowed further in September as a boom fueled by tax breaks and subsidies faded.