A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Oct 27, 2010 2:54 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

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LONDON _ World stock markets mostly fell amid mixed corporate earnings and on views that the U.S. Federal Reserve will take more modest and gradual steps to stimulate the economy than expected.

A report on orders for U.S. manufactured goods also weighed down sentiment as it suggested demand in the world's largest economy remains subdued.

Britain's FTSE 100 slid 1.1 percent, France's CAC-40 fell 1 percent and Germany's DAX dipped 0.7 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index edged up 0.1 percent.

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LONDON _ Britain's economy grew 0.8 percent in the third quarter, twice as fast as economists had expected and perhaps calming fears of a double-dip recession.

The growth followed a rate of 1.2 percent _ a nine-year high _ in the second quarter, when restocking of inventories and construction surged. The combined expansion was the strongest back-to-back performance by the British economy in a decade, the Office for National Statistics said.

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SHANGHAI _ Out-of-control printing of the U.S. dollar is forcing inflation on China, pushing up prices for commodities and labor, trade minister Chen Deming says in an escalation of rhetoric over currency and other tensions ahead of key international meetings.

Beijing has been chafing at U.S. pressure over its currency and massive imbalances in trade and investment that are symptomatic of deeper problems in the world economy _ Asia and China's addiction to weak currencies to boost their export-reliant economies and the legacy of debt-fueled consumption in the U.S.

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PARIS _ France's parliament granted final approval to a bill raising the retirement age to 62 from 60, a reform that has infuriated the unions and touched off weeks of protests and strikes.

The 336-233 vote in the National Assembly was a victory for conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has stood firm despite the protests _ a stance that has resulted in his lowest approval ratings since he took office in 2007.

Protesters aren't yet giving up the fight, since Sarkozy hasn't yet signed the bill. In an attempt to revive a protest movement that has lost momentum, unions plan a new nationwide day of street demonstrations and strikes Thursday that are expected to cause travel problems.

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BRUSSELS(AP) _ European Union governments put up hundreds of billions of euros earlier this year to keep financially troubled members like Greece or Ireland from defaulting on their debts. Now Germany is pushing to let hopelessly indebted governments do exactly that _ admit they can't pay and hit bond investors with the costs instead of taxpayers.

But Berlin may have a hard time winning approval for a crisis resolution mechanism when EU officials meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

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LISBON, Portugal _ Portugal's minority government and main opposition party have failed to agree on austerity measures designed to restore confidence in the country's debt-laden economy.

Portugal, like other eurozone countries Greece, Ireland and Spain, is battling a government debt crisis that has threatened to ruin its economy.

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SEOUL, South Korea _ South Korea's economic growth slowed sharply in the third quarter on weaker exports and manufacturing as prospects for the global recovery turn cloudy.

The Bank of Korea said that South Korea's gross domestic product expanded 0.7 percent in the three months through September, slowing from 1.4 percent growth in the previous quarter. It was the second straight quarter that growth slowed.

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PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia _ Malaysia and India concluded negotiations Wednesday for a free trade pact that will take effect next year, setting the stage for annual bilateral trade to soar to $15 billion by 2015.

Trade and commerce ministers from both sides signed an agreement during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Malaysia, confirming the end of talks that began in February 2008 and stipulating a time frame for the deal's implementation.

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LIMASSOL, Cyprus _ Greece isn't looking to extend the repayment period of an emergency bailout loan, but that hasn't been ruled out, the nation's finance minister said.

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates _ Dubai World secured full creditor support for its $24.9 billion debt restructuring plan after the last holdout lender unloaded its claim, representatives for the companies said.

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JOHANNESBURG _ South Africa will focus on building its foreign exchange reserves and lowering debt to rein in its strengthening currency, the country's finance minister said Wednesday.

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BUCHAREST, Romania _ An official from Romania's Parliament says the country's government has survived a no-confidence vote.

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GENEVA _ Switzerland and Germany are poised to sign a deal that will make it easier for Berlin to obtain information on suspected tax cheats hiding assets in secret Swiss bank accounts, officials said.