A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Oct 25, 2010 12:53 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

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SEOUL, South Korea _ Facing the risk of a dangerous trade war, top finance officials from the world's leading rich and developing nations looked each other in the eye and vowed they wouldn't use their currencies as economic weapons to boost exports.

The agreement the members of the Group of 20 reached the past weekend in South Korea, though vague on enforcement and long on promises, was hailed by officials and analysts as a step forward in defusing tensions.

Still, it could turn out to be nothing more than a symbolic handshake unless the disparate forum that has become the board of directors for the global economy after the 2008 financial crisis can act on its words and build a viable enforcement mechanism.

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LONDON _ World stocks rose and the dollar slumped after global finance chiefs vowed to avoid a currency war that could derail the global recovery. With no concrete guidelines to go by, however, investors are wary that this may only prove a temporary truce.

Britain's FTSE 100 index closed up 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX rose 0.5 percent higher while France's CAC-40 was almost unchanged.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index closed down 0.3 percent, but other shares rose. South Korea's Kospi added 1 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.9 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index vaulted 2.6 percent. Markets in Singapore, Taiwan and India also gained.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 1.3 percent amid news the Singapore Exchange is making a $8.3 billion takeover offer for ASX, the operator of the Australian stock market.

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PARIS _ France's massive strikes are costing the national economy up to euro400 million ($557 million) each day, the French finance minister said as workers continued to block oil refineries and trash incinerators to protest a plan to raise the retirement age to 62.

Rotting piles of garbage are becoming a health hazard in the Mediterranean city of Marseille. France's 12 striking refineries have been shut down for nearly two weeks, and at least one in four gas stations in France has run dry.

President Nicolas Sarkozy stood firm amid the growing pressure, determined to reform the retirement system to ensure funds for future generations as life expectancy increases and the nation's debt soars.

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TOKYO _ Japan's exports grew at their slowest pace this year in September, hit by cooling foreign demand and a strong yen.

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SINGAPORE _ The Singapore Exchange Ltd. said it is making a $8.3 billion cash and shares takeover offer for the operator of the Australian bourse, aiming to vault from second-tier stock market to leading Asian finance center.

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LONDON _ British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to drive exports higher and cut regulatory red tape to encourage private sector innovation as his government seeks to replace tens of thousands of jobs lost because of harsh public spending cuts.

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LONDON _ The Bank of England is unlikely to withdraw economic stimulus yet as the recovery from recession remains "bumpy and uneven," a senior policymaker said.

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TOKYO _ The leaders of India and Japan signed a broad agreement aimed at increasing trade and agreed to speed up talks toward a civilian nuclear energy deal.

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ATHENS, Greece _ All train services in Greece were suspended after state railway employees launched a series of strikes against planned reforms.

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NAIROBI, Kenya _ Much of Africa is recovering fast from the global financial crisis and the region will register the second-highest growth rates in the world, the International Monetary Fund said.

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LAGOS, Nigeria _ India's largest telecom company Bharti Airtel said it plans to bring call center jobs to Africa, months after it bought out a major mobile phone network on the continent.

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BEIRUT _ Arab countries are pushing for greater transparency in their stock markets to boost credibility in their exchanges following massive losses linked to the global economic meltdown, Arab market officials said.